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How do we learn the IGCSE PE course at Wellington?

14 Dec 2022


Physical education is about more than just physical practice. 


It also requires learning theoretical knowledge. Francis Bacon famously said, “Knowledge is power,” which remains true in Physical Education in the 21st century. Practice supported by theory allows us to be stronger physically, mentally and emotionally, and perform better in our chosen sports. It is the core of the IGCSE PE course in Britain, i.e., our course includes theory learning and physical training. 


Many must have been surprised to learn for the first time that they needed to learn theoretical knowledge while taking the PE course. They may wonder, “Isn’t sports simply about getting fitter, faster, and stronger”? Randy Huntington, an American coach for Su Bingtian (the first ever Asian-born sprinter to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 metres event), helped Su to be a faster sprinter by adopting scientific tests and data analysis. It can be seen that besides one’s talent and perseverance, there is the support of scientific theory behind each step of becoming fitter, faster, and stronger. The IGCSE PE course at Wellington College Hangzhou is the perfect combination of sports theory and practice that endows our pupils confidence in their sports activities. 


Mr. Christy O’Donnell, Head of PE, will introduce in detail the IGCSE PE course in the following article and answer some of the frequently asked questions from parents. 



Please give a brief introduction to the IGCSE PE course at Wellington. 


IGCSE PE at Wellington College Hangzhou allows our pupils to study both the practical and theoretical aspects of Physical Education. The course is designed to provide our pupils with the opportunity to participate in a range of physical activities and develop their understanding of effective performance in their own sports. It suits pupils who represent the school sports teams or play for a club outside of school. It will take their sporting prowess to a higher level while helping them understand the physical, social and psychological involvement and link to sport. We support our pupils in their learning to develop an appreciation of the necessity for sound knowledge and understanding of the principles, practices and training that underlie improved performance and the necessity for better health and wellbeing. 



How important is the theoretical knowledge component of the IGCSE PE course? 


There is a significant theoretical component to this course. IGCSE Physical Education at Wellington College Hangzhou provides the opportunity to study the theory behind sports and activity. This is taught in the classroom. The theory (50% of the course) and practical (50% of the course) combination make the study of IGCSE PE at this level exciting, challenging and enjoyable. 


Pupils at Wellington College Hangzhou enjoy three lessons a week (2 classroom-based theory lessons and one practical lesson) where they study the following topics: 


Anatomy and Physiology 

Health, Fitness and Training 

Skill acquisition and psychology 

Social, cultural, and ethical influences 



What is assessed in the formal IGCSE PE exam? 


The theory elements of the course will be assessed at the end of Year 11 and will be worth 50% of the overall grade. In addition, a written exam, lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes, which will include a mixture of short and long answers, as well as multiple choice questions, will test pupils’ knowledge in the learnt topics that hav e anatomy and physiology, health, fitness and training; skill acquisition and psychology; and social, cultural and ethical issues. 


The remaining 50% of the course includes practical assessments in four different sports covering at least two categories: games; dance; gymnastics; athletics; swimming; OAA (Outdoor Adventure Activities); and combat. These four assessments will take place throughout the two-year course. For this reason, pupils must be willing to fully  engage in all practical activities we offer during curriculum time and commit themselves to extra-curricular activities, or school sporting activities (SAs), to improve their performance further. We support pupils who play sports outside school, such as golf, skiing, horse riding or dance. Video evidence does have to be submitted to demonstrate the assessment criteria. 



How does Wellington assess student performance? 


Each member of the PE Department takes pride in everything that we do at Wellington College Hangzhou to support our pupil’s development in IGCSE PE and sport. We support them with their ambitions, areas of development, studies, and wellbeing, to name but a few. To ensure that pupils are successful at IGCSE, our team of specialist PE teachers draw on years of experience in their sporting fields to engage and teach our pupils everything they need to know. Continual assessment throughout the course, in the form of unit and mock exams, prepares our pupils for the rigour of the IGCSE exam, whilst enabling staff to identify and support pupils’ strengths and areas where they require development to achieve the best possible outcome. 


The assessment objectives of the IGCSE PE course are as follows: 

1. To demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the theoretical principles that underpin performance in physical activities and sports. 

2. Apply knowledge and understanding of the theoretical principles to various physical activities and sports, including the analysis and evaluation of performance. 

3. To demonstrate the ability to select and perform appropriate skills to produce effective performance in four practical activities. 


We encourage each pupil to take ownership of their learning by identifying these areas of development and completing additional revision questions and papers to ensure they can master the topics, questions, and appropriate exam techniques to be successful under the pressures of examinations. 



What are the future career options after studying IGCSE PE? 


If your child loves physical activity and sports, and is interested in developing their knowledge and a deeper understanding of the theoretical principles underpinning performance in their sport(s), then IGCSE Physical Education at Wellington College is the ideal choice. This course is excellent for building the foundations necessary for further study in Exercise and Sport Sciences, physiotherapy, PE teaching, sport psychology, professional athlete, sports analyst, sports marketing, or sports agent. Sport-related careers have increased significantly worldwide, and there’s no better foundation you require for this than studying IGCSE PE at Wellington College Hangzhou. 

With the IGCSE PE course, pupils demonstrate Wellington’s identity, especially the identity of being Intellectual. We support Wellington pupils to move into the world with the ability to think critically and engage in deep learning. They will be able to study beyond the bounds of the PE curriculum, be inquisitive and ask questions about everything around them, and be imbued with a life-long love of learning more about sports. It is also a course that showcases the Wellington value of courage. We define courage at Wellington as the ability to confront fear, pain, danger or uncertainty and take calculated risks in pursuing goodness. Every time our pupils go to the gym, the field, or the track, they demonstrate faith in themselves and perseverance and the courage to make breakthroughs and be a pioneer. We hope our Wellington pupils will continue improving through the IGCSE PE learning and embrace the ever-changing world with psychological and physical strength.