It was never officially allowed but everyone knew somebody who used their PE hour to escape home for an hour, skip into town or just hang around doing nothing in particular. It required some evasion tactics but it wasn't like skipping maths or science. PE wasn't seen as a real subject.
And it wasn't just the students. Many teachers feigned interest in PE. At best they'd throw you a ball to play with, at worst they wouldn't care if you turned up or not. Even the students who loved PE didn't respect it as an academic endeavour.
Because it wasn't an academic endeavour.
It wasn't even really a subject.
But that's changed now.
Since 2018, PE has been offered as a higher level Leaving Cert subject. It is being treated with the seriousness of other Leaving Cert subjects which means incorporating an academic structure at exam time and creating a consistent syllabus.
In a complete turnaround from what most of us experienced prior to 2018, there is now a seated exam and the questions require more than just common sense answers.
These are examples of questions that appeared on the 2020 exam:
Identify a test that can measure flexibility.
Discuss the importance of hydration on a long-distance runner’s performance.
Identify what class of lever operates at the elbow when throwing the javelin as shown in Figure 3.
Maybe you could bluff these answers in a social setting but in a structured exam you need to be informed. You need to have studied.
These aren't questions where you can just turn up and know the answers, which is a good measure of what is and isn't a good test.
More importantly, these aren't questions that will be answered by unqualified teachers, the school soccer coach or the school GAA coach. Especially since most of the soccer or GAA coaches across the country are just unqualified teachers who happened to play soccer or GAA at one point in their lives.
Since the students are now expected to know more and do more, it's natural that the teachers are too.
A cursory knowledge of sport and an interest in physical fitness isn't enough anymore. Teachers need to treat their role with the seriousness that their counterparts do in their Leaving Cert subjects. They need to be qualified and have a full understanding of the subject matter that they are teaching.
How to Become a Qualified PE Teacher With Portobello Institute
Portobello Institute offers a non-CAO route to PE Teaching which means you can apply directly to the college without worrying about Leaving Cert points.
Our BA (Hons) in Physical Education aims to develop your critical understanding of physical education, through theoretical, practical and work-based learning experiences.
You will have the opportunity to qualify and work in professional sports coaching and the option to study for a Professional Masters in Education to become a qualified PE teacher.
Did we mention that our BA in PE is awarded by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU)? We are proud to partner with Liverpool John Moores University to deliver this BA (Hons) Physical Education programme.
This course has been co-developed by Portobello Institute and the expert academic team in LJMU who have an international reputation for the delivery of physical education degrees.
This PE degree combines practical and theoretical aspects of physical education and provides work experience opportunities at each level of study within the school and local community settings.
Designed for those students considering entering the teaching profession, the content of this degree will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of physical education.
You will study a range of modules considering learning and teaching alongside the main sports science disciplines. Modules such as Psychology and Introduction to Skills Acquisition in year 1 right through to Contemporary Issues in PE provide you with strong foundations to build a career in physical education.
Another route to PE for those with teaching degrees already or a degree with a sports science background is to progress to our Certificate in Higher Education PE Top-up.
Introduction to Athletics & Games for Physical Education
Introduction to Gymnastics & Dance for Physical Education
Applied Principles and Teaching for Adventure Activities
Applied Principles and Teaching for Aquatics
Advanced Pedagogy for Disability
Advanced Pedagogy for Health Promotion PE
The added modules for Non-Sports Graduates are:
Human Anatomy & Biomechanics
Human Physiology and Training Principles
Each student in both courses is assigned a personal academic tutor and Blended Learning offers students the flexibility to continue in full-time employment while studying.
This course was designed with our incoming students in mind. We adapt to your needs so that the only challenge of completing your course is the subject matter on the course. The course material itself is diverse so that our graduates are set up to be adaptable workplace practitioners who can be effective in different school environments.
Information On PE Courses
If you're unsure of where you fit, then you can contact our Course Advisor Johanna Shaw. Johanna is available at 01-892-0024 or you can email her at email@example.com.
Portobello has a wide range of qualifications for different students in different areas of sports. You can find more information on all of our courses in the Sports Department section of our website.
Furthermore, in the Knowledge Zone you can find more content about the courses and the wider industry. An article that may be of particular interest is Stuart Lancaster explaining the value of PE in the context of coaching.
Featured in this article: Johanna Shaw has a 2:1 in BSc (Hons) in Sports and Exercise Science from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. She completed an MPhil Studentship in Physical Activity for Health alongside an Exercise Development role. She then went onto a Tackling Inactivity in Students role funded by Sport England within a Further Education College in London before moving back to Dublin to Portobello Institute.