11 December, 2017 - Taoiseach & Minister Bruton Announce Examinable Leaving Certificate Subject in Physical Education

Schools are today invited to apply to the Department of Education and Skills to take Physical Education as a full, examinable Leaving Certificate subject 

Announcement is part of Government’s overall emphasis on encouraging healthy lifestyles 

Minister for Education & Skills Richard Bruton today announced that a new, examinable Leaving Certificate subject on Physical Education (LCPE) will commence in schools next September. A Framework for Senior Cycle Physical Education (SCPE), which is not for examination, will also be introduced at the same time. Physical Education will still be available to all students.

This announcement is part of an overall emphasis the Government is putting on encouraging healthy lifestyles. Schools are today invited to apply to the Department of Education and Skills to take part in the first phase of the introduction of Physical Education as an examinable Leaving Certificate subject and to take part in the first phase of the introduction of the SCPE Framework. 

The new Leaving Certificate Physical Education examinable subject will have three assessment components. Students will be required to complete a physical activity project, a performance assessment and a written examination. Sports psychology and skill techniques will be among the areas studied. The subject will be available at both higher and ordinary level. 

The new Senior Cycle Physical Education (SCPE) Framework will provide a new modern curriculum for teachers to teach P.E. to all students at senior cycle. Adventure Education and personal and social responsibility are among the areas covered by the new Framework.

Welcoming this announcement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:

“I am thrilled that physical education will be a full examinable subject at senior cycle next year. I promoted this when I was Minister for Sport and included it in my Policy Ideas Paper Taking Ireland Forward. It’s been a Government priority and I want to compliment Minister Bruton for making it a reality. The benefits will be far-reaching, including improved health and fitness among young people, raising awareness of physical health, and increasing the range of subjects on offer. The introduction of a new Senior Cycle Framework for physical education is another really positive development for students.” 

Announcing the new subject and Framework, Minister Bruton said: 

“We know how important it is to be physically active and engage in sports, not only for our physical health but also as a means to encourage team building, develop confidence and for our mental health. The introduction of Physical Education as an examinable Leaving Certificate subject is in keeping with the strong emphasis the Government has placed on promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyles, and fulfils an important commitment in the Programme for Government and Action Plan for Education, which sets out our ambition to make Ireland’s education system the best in Europe within a decade.” 

Both curriculums are being introduced on a phased basis starting in September 2018. Next week all post primary schools will receive a circular inviting expressions of interest in offering the specification and the Framework to their students from September 2018. It is envisaged that at least 50 schools will be included in this first phase, with the intention that the new Leaving Certificate subject will be available as an option to all schools as part of the phase 2 rollout.

Notes to Editors

Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE) will provide learners with an opportunity to study physical education for the Leaving Certificate examination, providing an additional optional Leaving Certificate subject. LCPE will have three assessment components - physical activity project; performance assessment; written examination – and will be available at both higher and ordinary level.In the new subject students will learn about:

  • Learning and improving skill and techniques
  • Physical and psychological demands of performance
  • Structures, strategies, roles and conventions
  • Planning for optimum performance.
  • Promoting physical activity
  • Ethics and fair play
  • Physical activity and inclusion
  • Technology, media and sport
  • Gender and physical activity
  • Business and enterprise in physical activity and sport

The Senior Cycle Physical Education (SCPE) Framework will provide a structure for PE teachers to plan a broad and worthwhile programme in PE for students. The aim of the Framework is to encourage learners’ confident, enjoyable and informed participation in physical activity while in senior cycle and in their future lives. The six curriculum models in the Framework are: 

  • Health-Related Physical Activity
  • Sport Education
  • Contemporary Issues in Physical Activity
  • Adventure Education
  • Personal and Social Responsibility
  • Teaching Games for Understanding

Further details on Leaving Certificate Physical Education and the Senior Cycle Physical Education Framework are available at

and also at www.ncca.ie

The closing date for receipt of expressions of interest from schools is 16 January 2018.