Introduction of PE As Leaving Cert Subject Is “Hugely Important”

The introduction of PE as a Leaving Cert subject in two Clare schools is being hailed as a hugely important move.

Students will start the curriculum in September before sitting the exam in 2020, as part of the government’s plan to make Ireland’s education system the best in Europe.

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The Education Minister has included both St Joseph’s in Spanish Point and Shannon Comprehensive School in the first phase of Physical Education for Senior Cycle.

Pupils who are entering the senior cycle from September of this year in both schools will be the first to sit the exams, in the 2020 Leaving Cert.

By that stage, every school that wants to offer the subject, is expected to be able to.

St Joseph’s Spanish Point principal Mary Crawford hopes it’ll build on the strong association with sport in the county.

But it’s claimed a change in the way teachers are educated will be needed to ensure the success of the new curriculum.

DCU Professor of Health and Human Performance, Niall Moyna says teachers have very little training in areas required for it.

By bolstering PE, it’s hoped that it will boost Ireland’s education system and improve general health.

But one of the HSE’s top doctors is warning the Government that it won’t be enough to tackle childhood obesity.

Professor Donal O’Shea has welcomed the move, but says a wider-ranging approach is needed.