The Royal Belfast Academical Institution

Physical Education

Head of Department: Mr Jonathan Peak

Members of Department:

Mr Gavin Monteith

Mr Martyn Lyttle

Mr Darren O’Neill

Mr Peter Sheppard

Teaching and Learning:

The aim of RBAI Physical Education Department is to develop physical competence so that our students are able to move efficiently, effectively and safely and understand what they are doing. The outcome - physical literacy - is as important to our student’s education and development as numeracy and literacy.

In our department the learning takes place through action, awareness and observation. In Physical Education the students will focus on both “learning to move” and “moving to learn”.

Learning to move – includes the skills, techniques and understanding required for participation in physical activities, knowledge and control of their body and its range of and capacity for movement.

The range of learning includes:

  • Hand – eye co-ordination
  • Coping with space, speed and distance
  • Knowing the what? And how? About activities
  • Being able to participate as: Players, Coaches, Leader, Referees, umpires etc

Moving to learn – We will use physical activity as a context for and means of learning. The Physical Education Department will incorporate a whole range of learning outcomes which go beyond learning how to engage in selected physical activities.

  • Managing competition and co-operation, including the use of strategies and tactics.
  • Thinking, problem solving and decision making
  • Applying moral and aesthetic judgments
  • Movement confidence and competence
  • The relationship of exercise to health and well-being
  • Personal responsibility
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Being creative
  • Self-management
  • Working with others
  • Managing information

The PE Department does have a serious focus on learning as an enjoyable, socially engaged and physically involved process. As a department we will positively enhance self-confidence, and self-esteem, through improving physical competence and physical educational attainment focusing on positive attitudes to learning.

KS3 – All pupils follow a compulsory PE and Games Programme in years 8-10. The academic year is broken down into 6 blocks of 6 weeks.

In Key Stage 3 the emphasis is placed on Skill Development and Swimming. Skill Development is broken down into three areas: Fielding Skills, Striking/Racket Skills and Basketball whilst Swimming is a key skill and offers excellent fitness benefits. There will be 2 blocks allocated to each of these activities, allowing 12 weeks of study in each in each academic year.

The other areas of study are Gymnastics, Athletics and Fitness.

Gymnastics offers vital elements such as body control and creative thinking. Athletics covers both track and field disciplines and introduces basic techniques. Fitness informs the pupils of the various methods of training and the adaptations on the body systems for Health and performance benefits.

KS4 – The pupils follow the CCEA Physical Education Examination. The main components of which are outlined below.

Further information on the specification can be found at -


The theory curriculum includes

the following areas of study: -

· The body at work

· Health and lifestyle decisions

· The active Leisure industry

· Developing physical fitness for performance

· Developing skilled performance

The practical elements require a high level of performance and consequently applicants for this course should have a strong sporting background, including representation on a school team or activity.

Controlled Assessment

The Controlled assessment is worth 50% of the overall mark. It is internally assessed and externally moderated by CCEA.

  • There are 4 areas of controlled assessment

3 of these areas will be made up from different sporting activities where pupils will be assessed on their ability to perform the skills in isolation as well as in a competitive situation.

  • The final area of internal assessment is a written piece of coursework based on analysis and observation of an individual.


There are 2 external examinations, 1 hour 15 minutes long and each worth 25% This examination is taken in summer of Year 12.

KS5- Pupils follow the CCEA GCE Sports Science and the Active Leisure Industry specification. AS and A2 each comprise two units. There are four units in all. The main aspects of which are outlined below.

Unit AS 1 develops students’ knowledge, understanding and skills involved in fitness and training. They administer a range of fitness tests and analyse the results. They devise a training programme and lead the sessions. This unit is internally assessed through a portfolio.

Unit AS 2 introduces students to key concepts in health, fitness and lifestyle and explores the relationships between them. They study nutrition for health and exercise as well as components of fitness. They also analyse the health of the nation compared with other European countries. This unit is assessed by a written examination of short and extended questions and stimulus response questions.

Unit A2 1 is designed to develop students’ higher level skills through greater depth, complexity, and application of knowledge and understanding. It is internally assessed and externally moderated through an internal assessment portfolio. This unit provides students with the opportunity to organise and run an active leisure event. A2 1 helps students to prepare for employment in this industry by giving them the opportunity to develop essential workplace business skills.

Unit A2 2 concentrates on examining the structure of the respiratory, circulatory, muscular and skeletal systems. Students learn about how these systems function during and after exercise, and at rest. They develop a knowledge and understanding of the structural apparatus of each system and discuss the functions. Students study how the acquisition of skills and the principles of learning are relevant to skilled performance. This unit is assessed by a synoptic written examination consisting of short and extended questions and stimulus response questions.

Further information can be found on the CCEA website at –

Pupils in KS5 also have the opportunity to studyThe Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma (720 GLH) is primarily an Applied General qualification, equivalent in size to two A levels. It covers many aspects of the sport sector we have chosen to follow the following pathway Performance and Excellence

The Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport (720 GLH) has been designed to occupy two-thirds of a full-time curriculum, enabling learners to develop a significant common core of knowledge, including anatomy and physiology, fitness physiology, risk assessment, and fitness training and programming. It also includes specific mandatory units which are related to the available pathways such as sports coaching and sports development (Development Coaching and Fitness), technical and tactical skills (Performance and Excellence) and principles, practices, equipment and facilities for outdoor adventure (Outdoor Adventure). In addition, it provides extensive opportunities to study in more depth a range of optional areas, such as:

  • practical team and individual sports
  • current sports issues
  • sports injuries.

BTECs are an increasingly established and highly successful alternative to general qualifications, suitable for a wide range of learners. As work-related qualifications, they are designed to accommodate the needs of employers as well as allowing progression to university. BTECs provide a more practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a theoretical background, giving our pupils the knowledge, understanding and skills that they need to prepare for employment. Comprising a wide range of individual units, which we can have built to suit the individual needs of our pupils. Each unit is assessed through the completion of assignments that are designed by you as tutor and call on a range of evidence types. This has proved to be an increasingly popular option with the pupils.

Further information on the level 3 BTec and on BTecs in general can be found on -

Examination results,

As a department we were delighted in 2017 to have Dermot Wallace placed 3rd in Northern Ireland in A Level Sport and the Active leisure industry.

Results breakdown

2018 %





























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