St Patrick’s Comprehensive School, Shannon, and St Joseph’s Secondary School in Spanish Point have been selected for a pilot scheme to introduce Physical Education (PE) as a subject for the Leaving Certificate.

Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market & Data Protection, Pat Breen, has welcomed the announcement.

“I am delighted that both St Joseph’s Secondary School Spanish Point and St Patrick’s Comprehensive Shannon are included in the pilot scheme for schools to study Physical Education at senior cycle.

“Students beginning the senior cycle this year in these schools have the opportunity to be among the first in the country to take the Leaving Cert exam in PE,” said Minister Breen.

In total, 80 schools across the country will implement either the examinable Physical Education Leaving Certificate subject or the new Senior Cycle Physical Education Framework, which is not for examination, or both.

The programme will be rolled out to all schools from 2020 so all students in Clare will benefit from this before too long.

Minister Breen said he is particularly pleased to see physical education getting the recognition it deserves in our secondary schools.

He added, “We are all well aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle for our general well being, but all too often this can be overlooked as the pressure mounts in exam years for successful exam results and points.

“By bringing physical education central to the curriculum for those who wish to study it as an exam subject, and as part of the general final two years of school under the Senior Cycle Physical Education Framework, we are officially recognising the importance of a “healthy mind and healthy body,” said Minister Breen.

Students taking the new subject from September 2018 will sit the first Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE) exam in 2020. The subject can be taken at both higher and ordinary levels.

The new Senior Cycle Physical Education (SCPE) Framework, will provide a new modern curriculum for teachers to teach PE to all students at senior cycle.

According to Minister Breen, the assessment process for the exam will allocate 20% to a physical activity project; 30% to a performance assessment and 50% to a written examination.

He continued, “The Fine Gael Government is taking physical education seriously for the health of our nation and this announcement is part of the overall Government focus on encouraging healthy living.

“We want to support families and communities in Clare to make healthy choices. The announcement is also a key commitment in Minister Richard Bruton’s Action Plan for Education, which aims to make Ireland’s education and training system the best in Europe by 2026.”