Physical Education



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




This syllabus for physical education at junior-cycle level is based on the
general rationale, aim and outcomes for junior cycle education outlined in
the opening section of this document. Further aims, objectives and
learning outcomes are presented at the start of the sections outlining the
various areas of study within the syllabus. 

The aims of junior cycle physical education are to 

provide the opportunity for students to develop personally, socially,
and physically through participation in physical activities in a safe,
challenging and enjoyable environment
reinforce and further develop the physical education knowledge,
understanding, skills, and competencies acquired at primary level
prepare students for the requirements of further programmes of
study, of employment, or of life outside full-time education
provide an opportunity for students to critically reflect on physical
activity through participation in a broad, well-balanced programme
develop in students an ability to make informed judgements in
respect of physical activity
encourage an appreciation of physical activity and of the benefits of
an active lifestyle
promote positive attitudes towards participation in physical activity
and towards co-operation with others in that participation
enable students to take responsibility for the organisation and
development of their learning within the framework provided.



Through their study of junior cycle physical education students will

competence in the performance of a range of activities and the
ability to analyse these in the context of technical, physiological, and
biomechanical implications for the performer
the ability to invent, compose, and choreograph physical activity in
structured, imaginative ways
the ability to make decisions relating to physical activity while
appreciating consequences in both tactical and moral contexts
an understanding of the principles, rules, and purpose of different
categories of activity, and the criteria for mastery of each
an understanding of the psychological, sociological, aesthetic and
biological knowledge relevant to physical education
an appreciation of the value of participation in selected physical
activities as a lifelong endeavour
an understanding of the principles of fairness and tolerance in
interaction with others
the desire and the capacity to acquire a positive sense of self.