At The Downs School, the work carried out in the Sports and Outdoor Education Faculty aims to support, contribute to and complement the aims of the school as a whole. The Sports and Outdoor Education Faculty gives equal opportunities to students so that they may participate in a broad and balanced range of activities. All students experience working in both co-operative and competitive situations within the guidelines of the National Curriculum. Through enjoyable learning experiences, it is hoped that a positive attitude towards physical activity, a sense of achievement and a development of self-confidence may be fostered.

Key Stage 3

Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 follow a varied programme. During the year students follow courses in:–

  • Athletics (running, jumping and throwing)
  • Games (invasion, net/wall, striking/fielding)
  • Gymnastics (floor work, partner, group and apparatus work)
  • Outdoor Education (problem solving, orienteering)
  • Swimming (strokes, personal survival)

Each activity block lasts for approximately six lessons. By the end of an activity block, each student will be graded on National Curriculum strands of assessment, helping to generate an ongoing bank of data regarding the individual’s progress and standards.

It is expected that all students will extend their sporting experiences in school by participating in at least one out of school sporting / exercise-related activity per week. All students should be looking for ways to take part in at least 20-30 minutes of exercise a day (for a minimum of 5 days a week). School PE lessons provide 2 hours of activity a week and there are several extra-curricular clubs designed to extend and enrich students’ involvement in sport in addition. Students are encouraged to ask for advice from staff on their exercise regime and/or details of external clubs and organisations which may provide further opportunities outside of school.

Key Stage 4

BTEC Level 1 / 2 Award 

This qualification is the equivalent to 1 GCSE, during the course the students are assessed in a variety of methods including video, practical assessments, role play, written reports & a single exam. There are 5 levels of qualifications that can be achieved.
Level 1 Pass, Level 2 Pass, Merit, Distinction & Distinction*.

Unit 1 is an exam based unit that focuses on fitness testing and training methods, understanding the principles of a warm up and cool down whilst also using practical activities to complete fitness testing and training. The exam is normally sat during year 10 with the possibility of a single resit in year 11.

Further units in planning and executing a fitness training program in year 11 which link back to this unit where you will review your fitness.

Practical Sport units allow you to show your performance in both competitive and practical testing. You will need to describe how techniques are performed whilst evaluating your performance.

Recommended text books, revision guides and reference books

Level 2 CNAT 978-1510456433 (not yet published)

Extended Certificate (2 GCSEs)

Unit 20 – Planning and running a sports event (10 credits)
Unit 11 (integrated with unit 1) Development of personal fitness (5 credits)

Level of qualification

There are 4 levels that can be achieved
 - Pass (C grade)
 - Merit (B)
 - Distinction (A)
 - Distinction * (A*)

GCSE Specification

This qualification is linear; students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.


Paper 1:

The human body and movement in physical activity and sport.
What's assessed - Applied anatomy and physiology, Movement analysis, Physical training and Use of data.
How it's assessed - Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes, 78 marks, 30% of GCSE.

Paper 2:

Socio-cultural influences and well-being in physical activity and sport.
What's assessed - Sports psychology, Socio-cultural influences, Health, fitness and well-being and Use of data.
How it's assessed - Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes, 78 marks, 30% of GCSE.

Non-exam assessment:

Practical performance in physical activity and sport.
What's assessed - Practical performance in three different physical activities in the role of player/performer (one in a team activity, one in an individual activity and a third in either a team or in an individual activity). Analysis and evaluation of performance to bring about improvement in one activity.

How it's assessed - Assessed by teachers, Moderated by AQA, 100 marks, 40% of GCSE

Extra Curricular

A wide range of activities is offered at lunchtime and after school clubs. These are run in the major games, athletics and swimming, as appropriate at different times of the year. School teams are run in rugby, netball, football, hockey, badminton, basketball, cross country, athletics, cricket and rounders.

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