The PE department offers the OCR A2 level in Physical Education in the 6th form. The teachers who deliver the course are all graduates in Sport Science or Physical Education and have a strong involvement with the sports teams in the school, as well as experience of teaching the theoretical components of the course.
The course is well suited to pupils who not only play sport to school level or above, but also have an interest in the wider aspects of sport and physical activity. There is a 70/30 split between theory and practical with the theory side of the course being split into 3 components.
Component 1: Physiological Factors Affecting Performance
This group of topics focuses on key systems of the human body involved in movement and physical activity. Pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of the changes within these body systems prior to exercise, during exercise of differing intensities, and during recovery. Application of this theoretical knowledge will enable them to understand how changes in physiological states can influence performance in physical activities and sport. They will be expected to be able to interpret data and graphs relating to changes in these body systems during exercise of differing intensities and during recovery. The assessment for this component is in the form of a 2 hour written examination at the end of the Upper 6th year.
Component 2: Psychological Factors Affecting Performance
This component focuses on the psychological factors affecting physical activities and sports, including: models and theories that affect learning and performance in physical activities; how different methods of training and feedback work and why their effectiveness differs from person to person; group dynamics and the effects of leadership and stress on performers. Through the study of this component pupils will gain a deeper understanding of the underlying psychological factors that influence our performance in physical activity and sport. They will learn how to apply the theories to practical examples, giving guidance and feedback in constructive ways that are suited to that individual’s personality; therefore assisting in developing practical performance in physical activities and sports. The assessment for this component is in the form of a 1 hour written examination at the end of the Upper 6th year.
Component 3: Socio-cultural and Contemporary Issues
This component focuses on the sociological and contemporary factors that influence and affect physical activity and sport for both the audience and the performer, and how sport affects society. It includes the emergence and evolution of modern sport and how social and cultural factors shaped the characteristics of sports and pastimes in pre-industrial and post-industrial Britain. The impact of the modern Olympic Games will be studied as well as the impact on society of hosting global sporting events. The ever-evolving modern technology and its influence on sport performers and spectators will be researched and practical examples will be used by candidates to show the effect of modern technology. The assessment for this component is in the form of a 1 hour written examination at the end of the Upper 6th year.
The practical side of the course (which makes up 30% of the final mark) involves performance or coaching of one sport or activity alongside Evaluation and Analysis of Performance for Improvement (EAPI) of that sport or activity. For the EAPI candidates give a verbal response to a performance of a peer which should identify and justify the major area of weakness within the performance to prioritise for improvement and propose a long term (2-3 months) development plan to improve the area of performance identified.
As you can see the content of the A2 course is wide ranging and interesting, and is certainly not an ‘easy’ A level as we are often lead to believe in the press. The time spent in the classroom is the same as for all other subjects as we do all the practical assessment in school games sessions. A number of our students have gone on to follow courses in Sports Science, Sports Coaching or Leisure Management at university.