JCPE - Junior Cycle Physical Education Support Service

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Physical education applies a holistic approach to the concept of physical activity for young people. It recognises the physical, mental, emotional, and social dimensions of human movement, and emphasises the contribution of physical activity to the promotion of individual and group wellbeing. Learning in physical education involves the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, skills, and attitudes central to physical education, together with recognition of its potential for

integration with other curriculum areas.


The general aim of physical education is to contribute to the preparation of the student for a life of

autonomous wellbeing. This aim will be pursued through the

  • enhancement of the student's sense of self through the development of skilful and creative
  • performance of practical activities
  • development of the student's understanding of physical activity and awareness of the links between physical education and other curricular areas
  • motivation of the student to choose a lifestyle that is active, healthy and meaningful
  • the personal enrichment of the student by developing personal and social skills, and encouraging positive attitudes and values in her/his interaction with others.


Physical education syllabuses, at all levels, seek to build on movement skills previously developed through the student's participation in physical education. These skills will form the basis for further learning. The student will develop the capacity to create more complex movement patterns in a variety of settings and modes. Knowledge and understanding of certain key concepts will be required to enhance the student's experience. The syllabus will allow her/him to engage in an examination of human movement from different perspectives. For example, the senior-cycle student will study the physiological basis of human movement, the nature of human performance or will examine human movement from an aesthetic perspective. She/he will be enabled to develop a critical perspective on physical activity, while enjoying active and creative participation. In attempting to promote a positive and constructive attitude to physical activity, it is critical that the student learns to value physical activity and demonstrates positive attitudes towards  participation. Participation in physical education should promote recognition of individual capacities, a positive attitude towards participation and an appreciation of the benefits of interaction with others.


Students with Special Educational Needs

Many students have different personal resources from those whose profiles fit normative ages and stages. Attempting to precisely define and delineate this category of student is difficult. It can be said of such students that, as a result of particular difficulties, they experience a range of barriers to learning. The barriers experienced should be viewed as a social issue where the onus is on society, in this instance the school, to adapt to the needs of the individual student.

Participation for students is an essential prerequisite to learning in physical education. Schools should facilitate, as far as possible, the inclusion of students with disabilities in all physical education activities. While participation should be inclusive of all students, it is essential to present each student with activities not only for participation but also for progression.


Physical education syllabuses underline the principle of inclusion. They subscribe to the basic goal of meeting the needs of all students, regardless of ability or level of development. The accompanying Teacher Guidelines will offer advice and support on how inclusion can be achieved.


Promoting participation and activity

Physical education plays a foundational role in developing pathways for physical activity participation, on a day-to-day basis and in the future. Physical education in the school should place as strong an emphasis as possible on opening up and reflecting on practical opportunities for students. These opportunities should be primarily based on the interests, talents, and decisions of the student. The availability of opportunities through the school and the wider community are important mediating factors. The existence of a clear, functioning policy on physical education and physical activity generally, and the role of the physical education teacher in implementing the

policy, are also mediating factors.

The implications of this approach are that physical education will provide the student with the skills and insights necessary to choose from:

  • recreational involvement in physical activity
  • involvement in competitive sport
  • the pursuit of individual goals in sport or dance, including high performance, if the desire and talent is evident
  • the pursuit of study in physical education and related areas
  • spectating in an informed way by being aware of the principles, skills, and appropriate attitudes
  • officiating or administrating as a volunteer or as a career
  • non-involvement.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 May 2009 13:35

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icon_speechbubble The JCPESS is facilitating an electronic mailing or discussion list, to facilitate the exchange of opinions and ideas among physical education teachers. The idea is to provide a supported community where teachers learn from each other, can share resources, expertise and other benefits.

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JCPESS, Mayo Education Centre, Westport Road, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Tel: +353 94 9020789
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