JCPE - Junior Cycle Physical Education Support Service

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HRA (Action for Life) Overview PDF Print E-mail

The emergence of physical activity as an important health issue in recent years has prompted concern in many quarters. The Junior Cycle Physical Education Support Service with the Irish Heart Foundation sought to address this issue through the establishment of the Action for Life project. The purpose of the project was to develop a strategy by which enhanced attitudes to physical activity might be cultivated through the Health Related Component of the physical education syllabus at junior cycle.

This strategy entailed the:

  1. development of a teaching resource (Action for Life) to support the Health Related Activity Component of the Junior Cycle Physical Education syllabus
  2. provision of a context for capacity building within the physical education profession
  3. generation of a thorough and effective means by which physical education teachers could be supported in promoting the role of physical education in creating positive attitudes towards lifelong involvement in physical activity.


The original Action for Life was designed in the early 90's to give Physical Education (PE) teachers a framework for teaching health related physical activity, and provided an additional resource to teachers in delivering their school's physical education programme.  It was generally acknowledged that the resource needed updating and revising to take into account:

  • the revised syllabus at junior cycle and the associated resource needs
  • developments in pedagogy


The Project

The project entailed 3 distinct phases:

Phase 1 - Development of Teaching Resources (January - June 2007)
The resource was developed to provide:

  • Comprehensive health related physical activity information for teachers, fully referenced and based on the latest scientific evidence to be presented as a reference document on the JCPE website and/or CD ROM;
  • Task cards for the teachers to lead the class for both level one and level two, setting out key learning outcomes, appropriate activities, links to different curriculum strands and suggested questions to elicit student knowledge
  • Rich tasks for the students and task cards to encourage self-directed learning


Phase 2 - Testing of the Teaching Resource (January - April 2007)

A small group of teachers were involved in the development of the resource in partnership with the Irish Heart Foundation and members of the Support Service. From January to March 2007, 15 teachers organised into 3 clusters (Mayo, Cork and Navan) were invited to test the materials with selected class groups. This process provided the basis for the review and refinement of the materials which were then developed into the final format over the summer months.


Phase 3 - National Dissemination to Physical Education Teachers (October 2007)
The Action for Life in-service was rolled out over a three week period (1st - 19th October) in 38 centres nationwide by a team of Associate Trainers recruited specifically for this purpose. The inservice programme was made available to more than 1,000 teachers who are now involved in the JCPESS professional development programme.


Click here for Action for Life Press Release dated 17/12/08.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 December 2009 16:49

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JCPESS mailing list

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.

Click here for full details.

Contact now

JCPESS, Mayo Education Centre, Westport Road, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Tel: +353 94 9020789
Fax: +353 94 9020720


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