Physical Education (GCSE)

There is one physical education course available (AQA).

Students can seek guidance from PE staff to see if they would be suitable for the GCSE PE course.  The main focus is now not on practical performance but on students’ theory exam performance.

Syllabus Content

The GCSE syllabus is divided into three parts:

Paper 1: The Human Body and Movement in Physical Activity and Sport – 30%
Paper 2: Socio-cultural Influences and Well-Being in Physical Activity and Sport – 30%

Practical performance in physical activity and sport – 40%

(Exam papers are designed using a familiar combination of multiple choice and short and extended writing questions, which will be used across both exam papers.)


Paper 1: Written exam 1 hour 15 minutes – 78 marks – 30% of GCSE

  • Applied anatomy and physiology
  • Movement analysis
  • Physical training
  • Use of data 

Paper 2:  Written exam 1 hour 15 minutes – 78 marks – 30% of GCSE

  • Sports psychology
  • Socio-cultural influences
  • Health, fitness and wellbeing
  • Use of data 

Practical Assessment

Internal assessment and external moderation – 100 marks – 40% of GCSE

Students and parents should be aware that not all sports are catered for by the examination board.  If students are proficient in a particular sport, they should check with the PE Department as to its acceptability for the course, or check the AQA website for syllabus details.

Students are assessed in three different physical activities in the role of player/performer (one in a team activity and a third that can be either a team or an individual activity).

For each of the three activities, students will be assessed on:

  • their skills
  • the full context

In one activity, students are assessed on the analysis and evaluation of performance to bring about personal improvement in physical activity and sport.

General Requirements

Students wishing to follow this course should have demonstrated to the department that they are fully committed to the subject and have a passion for learning the theory behind sports performance and exercise.  It is essential for students to make a commitment to the academic rigours of the course and be able to apply theoretical knowledge.

It is strongly recommended that students should have a solid understanding of the scientific principles related to physical education, as this constitutes a large proportion of the course.

There will be an opportunity to purchase a course specific t-shirt at the beginning of their studies. This will be essential for practical assessment.

What can I do with a Physical Education Qualification?

Achieving a good grade at GCSE will help you progress on to any A level, advanced GCE or BTEC National course.

If you enjoyed your physical education GCSE, you might want to continue your studies in this area on the Advanced Physical Education course.

Alternatively, you may wish to consider a more vocationally related course, such as the BTEC National Award in Sport.

Employment opportunities where your skills will be particularly valued include the sports and leisure industry, travel and tourism, teaching and some health industries. You may wish to follow this course because you are interested in fitness and health and enjoy physical activity and exercise.

For further information see

Mr L Mallett 


 April 2021

PE KS3 assessment criteria