Students will have to record activities for new Leaving Cert PE exam

Schools to get grants totalling €330,000 for the technology for the recordings

Students who take the new physical education (PE) exam in the Leaving Cert are to be given digital devices to submit videos of themselves taking part in an activity – such as athletics, rugby or ballet – for examiners to grade.

More than 60 secondary schools are piloting the new subject from next September, as it is set to become a full, examinable Leaving Cert subject with CAO points.

In a first for the Leaving Cert, students will be asked to submit a recording of themselves demonstrating their skills and techniques in a chosen physical activity. This will account for 30 per cent of marks.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton has announced that schools offering the subject will receive a grant towards the purchase of digital devices for use by students in completing the course assessment components.


A grant of €350 per digital device will be payable, with one device for every two students commencing the subject in September 2018.

Another payment of €750 per school will be made for the uploading hardware.

The total amount of grant payments for the subject will be approximately €330,000 across the 64 schools.

The recording should “demonstrate the learner’s best personal performance in fully competitive and/or conditioned practices or performance settings”, according to the curriculum specification.

Students will be required to send this to the State Examinations Commission, which will grade the video.

The performances may involve a wide range of field sports (such as hurling, football, soccer, etc), aquatics (swimming, water polo, etc), adventure activities (kayaking, rock-climbing, etc), or artistic movements (ballet, dance, etc).

‘Changing society’

“I am keen during my time as Minister to make sure that our education system keeps pace with our changing society and the evolving needs of our economy,” Mr Bruton said in a statement.

“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 PE as a full examinable Leaving Cert subject reflects the priority this Government puts on promoting healthy lifestyles and choices.”

In addition, Mr Bruton has announced that 40 schools who will be piloting Computer Science as a Leaving Cert subject will also receive grants for digital technology.

The schools will each receive €3,000 towards the purchase of “connector devices”, in grants totalling €120,000.

Students will complete the exam using the internet, in another first for the Leaving Cert.

Mr Bruton said the experience of these two new subjects may lead to digital technology being used more widely in the assessment of other subjects.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent