A Level: Physical Education

Course title: Advanced GCE in Physical Education

Exam board: OCR

Subject specific entry criteria: Minimum of a grade 7 in GCSE PE; if you have not studied this course, you will need to have studied either Btec Sport or Cambridge National at Distinction Level or above and have a grade 7 in GCSE Biology or a 7-7 in GCSE Combined Science. Additionally, you must either participate in a sport outside Sixth Form or you must coach a sport with a Level 1 NGB qualification. Please note that the activity must appear on the OCR A Level PE recognised activity list.

Course overview

H555/01 Physiological factors affecting performance

This unit includes topics such as applied anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology and biomechanics.

H555/02 – Psychological factors affecting performance

This unit includes skill acquisition, sports psychology, sport and society and contemporary issues.

H555/03 – Socio-cultural issues in physical activity and sport

This component focuses on the sociological and contemporary issues that influence and affect physical activity and sport for both the audience and the performer and how sport affects society.

H555/05 – Practical performances

This unit allows students to perform or coach one activity.

H555/06 – Evaluating and analysing performance for improvement

This component draws upon the knowledge, understanding and skills a learner has learnt throughout the course and enables them to analyse and evaluate a peer’s performance in one activity.

Assessment overview

Paper 01: Physiological factors affecting performance (30%) – 2-hour paper.

Paper 02: Psychological factors affecting performance (20%) – 1-hour paper.

Paper 03: Socio-cultural issues in physical activity and sport (20%) – 1-hour paper.

Non-exam assessment (NEA): Practical performance (15%).

Non-exam assessment (NEA): EAPI (15%)

Future progression

Typical University offers are AAA, AAB or ABB for Sports Science related degrees depending on the University. Degrees in this area are varied, for example, Leeds Beckett University offers – Physical Activity, Exercise and Health; whereas the University of Birmingham offers Sport, PE & Coaching Science. Many universities also offer a placement year as part of their course e.g., University of Bath. Currently the leading sports universities in the country are, Loughborough and Birmingham Universities who particularly cater for students who are looking to combine top level sports performance with a full-time sports degree course. Offers vary between universities and often for students who have National Representative Honours, so it is worth checking these before choices are made with the individual universities.

Potential careers

An A Level in Physical Education is a stepping stone to a career in the sports and leisure industries, Physiotherapy, Sports Medicine, coaching and teaching.

How to succeed in Physical Education
  • You will be working at Grade 7 or above in GCSE Physical Education. In addition to a proven record of attendance at extra-curricular clubs whilst in KS3 and 4, it is imperative that students are playing/participating in a club/team outside of school in their main sport
  • You will be prepared to read around the subject; being aware of current issues both nationally and internationally (e.g., Impact of Olympic Games in Great Britain, concerns over lack of funding at grass roots level)
  • Instead of performing you can be assessed in coaching. If you wish to do this, it must be done in conjunction with an NGB qualification and at a local sports club/team as stipulated by the exam board.