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The principle aim of the Physical Education Department is to support and challenge every pupil to achieve their sporting potential. We believe sport and PE have the ability to challenge, shape and develop core values and behaviours that are essential in developing a well-rounded pupil. 

The key principles of our approach are: 

  • Deliver high quality teaching and support pupils’ drive to learn. 
  • Incorporate physical literacy as central to all teaching and learning in PE. 
  • Provide a broad and varied programme of opportunities at a range of levels. 
  • Expect and encourage a supportive and positive culture of trying hard and doing your best. 
  • Strive for and encourage excellence in all areas of PE and Games. 

Physical Education at St Albans School focuses on developing four key development strands throughout the pupil journey. The aim is to nurture the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of each pupil as defined in the following aims: 

Pupils are supported to enhance and develop their movement skills and athleticism to give them the tools to be healthy, fit and capable to perform in sport to the best of their ability. 

Pupils are challenged to develop the mental skills needed to be a successful learner and performer in the classroom and in the sporting arena. 

Pupils are supported to develop positive relationships, to be empathetic, to be positive role models and to relate to one another through sport and physical activity. 

Cognitive/Problem solving
Pupils are encouraged to think and solve problems whilst raising their self-awareness, confidence and competence. 

The Physical Education programme is facilitated by a single timetabled PE lesson (50 minutes) once a week in the Sports Centre for each form from First Form (Year 7) to Fifth Form (Year 11).

The programme of study looks to develop greater levels of athletic development and functional movement, as well as providing autonomy and choice as the pupils progress. Lesson planning focuses on skill development and opportunities to challenge and develop these in a practical context. It also aims to make all pupils feel more competent and increase their relatedness to physical activity as an integral part of their daily lives through School and beyond into adult life.  

Pupils can largely be attributed to three distinct groups. We allow students to categorise themselves from Fourth Form (Year 10) onwards in PE lessons and provide options in our Games and co-curricular programmes that encourage all three groups to be identified:

Those students who strive to excel and push themselves to their peak performance (whatever level that might be) are supported and encouraged through our Dedicated Athlete Scheme, athletic development focused PE sessions, mentoring, scholarship programmes and sport specific performance groups. 

A large number of our students enjoy participating in a variety of sports and playing in teams and activities across the course of the year. They are supported with sport specific training sessions, coaching and fixtures to provide them with opportunities to develop their skills, personal qualities and interests so that they can strive to perform to their best with their like-minded peers. A large proportion of our Games lessons and co-curricular sport options are focused on supporting these students.  

Some students need support to build confidence, be more creative or explore a wider range of activity options to help them engage more fully with physical activity. The social and fun side of participating is vitally important, and we provide activities and groups that focus on providing opportunities for students to be engaged in a less pressurised, more diverse, and inclusive way. These include activities in Games and co-curricular such as Fit Fun Friday, Indoor games, Swim groups and climbing. 


GCSE Physical Education has experienced huge growth and interest for our Fourth and Fifth Formers who enjoy the theoretical and practical nature of the course.

The AQA course we follow suits candidates who have a keen interest in Sport and Physical Education. It aims to: 

  • Develop knowledge, understanding, skills and values to develop and maintain their performance in physical activities and understand the benefits to health, fitness, and well-being 
  • Develop theoretical knowledge and understanding of the factors that underpin physical activity and sport and use this knowledge to improve performance 
  • Understand how the physiological and psychological state affects performance in physical activity and sport 
  • Develop their ability to analyse and evaluate to improve performance in physical activity and sport 
  • Understand the contribution which physical activity and sport make to health, fitness, and well-being 
  • Understand key socio-cultural influences which can affect people’s involvement in physical activity and sport. 

It is assessed in two written papers at the end of the Fifth Form (which make up 60% of the marks) and by a non-examined assessment of their practical skills in three sports, at least one individual, one team and one other sport, from an approved list, as well as a written analysis and evaluation of their practical performance (40% of final marks). 

A Level PE

A Level Physical Education has been a popular subject to study at St Albans School for over twenty years and has remained intrinsically interesting and valuable to those studying it. 

The AQA course we follow is suitable for the diverse range of candidates who wish to develop their interest in Sport and Physical Education, fostering its value in lifelong learning. It aims to: 

  • Develop knowledge, skills and understanding of the factors that influence the quality of performance
  • Apply this knowledge, skills and understanding to a range of sporting activities and contexts
  • Evaluate performance and plan for the improvement of it 

It is assessed in two written papers at the end of the Upper Sixth year (which make up 70% of the marks) and by a non-examined assessment of their practical skills and a written analysis and evaluation of their practical performance (30% of final marks).