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With major sporting events becoming increasingly popular, and governments encouraging all of us to be more active, it’s not surprising that candidate numbers for Cambridge IGCSE Physical Education (PE) continue to rise.
The course is popular with students hoping to follow a career in sport or leisure, and those who simply enjoy taking part in physical activity. To meet these different aspirations, Cambridge IGCSE PE builds both practical abilities and theoretical knowledge, helping students develop the skills they need to plan, perform, analyse and improve a range of physical activities.
Coursework is an important part of the course, and allows students to choose four activities from over 40 options, from snowboarding to social dancing, rounders to rock climbing. Coursework gives students the opportunity to relate theory to practice, and to develop the skills required to assess and evaluate the performance of others.
Cambridge IGCSE PE is ideal preparation for further study at Cambridge International A Level, but gives all students lifelong skills in planning, performance and evaluation which are also relevant to a wide range of subjects studied at sixth form and beyond.
Clifton College, an independent boarding school in Bristol, UK, has been teaching Cambridge IGCSE PE since 2013, with 93% of students gaining an A* in 2016. Cambridge IGCSE PE teacher, Kirsty Parnell, explains why the College added the course to the curriculum, and provides some background to those impressive exam results.
Why did Clifton College decide to offer Cambridge IGCSE PE?
'We changed to Cambridge IGCSE PE a few years ago. The qualification we had been teaching up to then had become outdated, we felt, and also frustrating to teach as the exam questions were too vague. The Cambridge IGCSE alternative appealed to us because the syllabus was much more relevant and up to date, covered a wider range of interesting topics, including current issues, and provided a good stepping stone to our A Level course. Having reviewed comparative qualifications we have no plans to change back – we like the fact that Cambridge IGCSE PE still recognises important skills such as life saving, and that the course is weighted equally between theoretical and practical work.'
What do your colleagues think of the course?
'They enjoy teaching it – it covers a wide variety of topics, and by the end of the course you know that your students have gained a good understanding of PE and sport in the wider context. There is a good range of coursework options, and this inclusive approach makes students feel that the examiners want every candidate to have the best chance of success.'
What do your students think?
'Students who go on to study PE at A Level definitely feel better prepared. The breadth of the syllabus also plays to the strengths of every student, so even if they find some aspects of the course challenging there is a good chance they will be successful in other areas and this certainly raises their confidence. As a result, across the cohorts our grades have improved significantly.'