Sexism, drugs and snowboarding: the new PE GCSE

Illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs and the barriers stopping girls from taking part in team sports will be among the topics studied in new PE exams.

The OCR exam board has today submitted its new draft qualifications for PE GCSE and AS- and A-level exams to exams watchdog Ofqual.

The new qualifications include an increased emphasis on the anatomical and psychological factors affecting competitive performance.

Pupils will explore ethical issues such as the increasing commercialisation of sport and athletes’ use of performance-enhancing drugs. They will also look at violence in sport.

And, in the aftermath of England’s success in the Fifa Women’s World Cup, there will be an opportunity to discuss gender-based and cultural barriers to participation in sport.

The new GCSE will include an introduction to various methods of improving sports performance, such as biomechanics, plyometrics (exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short periods of time) and high-intensity interval training.

The GCSE also requires pupils to perform three sports: one individual, one team and a third from either group. Activities on offer include snowboarding, rock-climbing and rowing, as well as more conventional school sports such as football, tennis and netball.

Disabled pupils have a range of sports choices, including powerchair football, polybat and boccia.

At AS- and A-level, the new specifications include study of the emergence of modern global sport and the role of technology in transforming sports entertainment. At this level, pupils can either choose one sport to practise or undertake to coach other pupils.

Sara Mallett, PE subject specialist at OCR, said: “Whether students dream of captaining England’s women’s football team, winning a Paralympic gold medal or coaching the England rugby team to World Cup victory, our new PE qualification will boost their chances of success.”

The draft qualifications will be introduced into schools in September 2016. They were drawn up after consultation with teachers, university lecturers and professional sports bodies. Last year, more than 100,000 pupils sat PE GCSE.

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