King James' School

Physical Education

What’s it all about? 

‘The only rule is no murder!’  How the game of football has developed from the violent ‘mob’ form of the game to the psychological reasons why Luis Suarez shows heightened states of arousal in the modern era. Where does Gareth Bale get the energy to run his socks off for the full 90 minutes? These are just some of the questions answered in A level PE.’ 

The course covers the physiological, psychological and socio-cultural theoretical topics in three hours per week. Basically how the body and mind process information to develop skills and how sport is structured and organised from the Olympic Games down to grass-root level. 

Students choose one activity from a variety of sports to be assessed in either as a performer or coach, as part of their coursework. They will also be expected to analyse a performance and suggest a plan to improve a specific weakness. 

Exam and Assessment Information: 


The course is 70% theory, 30% practical at AS Level and

70% theory, 30% practical at A2 Level 

Theory Syllabus 

AS Level

  • Application of Anatomy and Physiology and Biomechanics

  • Skill Acquisition

  • Sports Psychology

  • Sport and Society 

Papers are 1 hour 15 mins and are worth 70 marks. 

A2 Level

  • Exercise & Sport Physiology

  • Psychology & Skill Acquisition

  • Contemporary Issues in Sport

To get started: 

Students are expected to have achieved C grade or equivalent in GCSE PE if they have taken it, although it is not essential.  The theoretical content is mostly new and won’t have been covered at GCSE level, but is challenging and rewarding. Each student will be expected to keep a file for all areas and it is important they keep thorough ‘revision friendly’ notes for each topic.  Students should follow issues to do with sport by using the media channels and researching topics in advance using YouTube and other search engines online. 

In order to enhance their practical scores, students should ensure they are regular participants in their chosen activity.  They may do this by playing for school or club teams.  This may be easier for students involved in games activities, though those with strengths in areas such as gymnastics, athletics or swimming are strongly advised to join a club, ensuring regular practice. Alternatively, students may choose to be assessed in coaching or officiating a sport.

What next? 

The course is fully accepted by institutes of higher education as a bona fide A level on the same footing as more traditional subjects.  

Degree courses in sport and exercise science, teaching, sports management, coaching, sports physiotherapy are all directly linked to A level PE, however some of our former students have gone on to study such courses as forensic science and Engineering. A number of PE teachers have become headteachers of schools and colleges. 

Our students say … 

“A Level PE allows you to explore all aspects of the human body and their role in sports performance.  It is a challenging subject, but every section is interesting and all the teaching staff are really supportive and helpful.”  Zoe Hillier 

“PE is extremely interesting and fun. It is challenging because you learn about a lot of different aspects of sport each containing its own intricacies and surprises. You have to be dedicated both inside and outside of school but the rewards are worth it.” Ellie Sweet and Sam Foster

Physical Education

Physical Education