It is my belief that a well planned Physical Education programme has a vitally important role to play in a broad and balanced curriculum for all students.
In accordance with the Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools, all second level schools should provide Physical Education as part of the curriculum. The junior cycle and senior cycle programme that each school plans and delivers should be based on my Department's approved syllabuses and the teaching hours should be registered on the school timetable. The Rules and Programme provide that a basic minimum of two hours per week is required to implement the programme.
As part of the revised Junior Cycle framework, there are 24 statements of learning which set out what students should learn in Junior Cycle. One of the statements of learning provides that, at the end of Junior Cycle, students should be able to participate in physical activity confidently and competently.
In addition, as part of the Junior Cycle Review there will be an opportunity for schools to provide short courses which can be assessed as part of the Junior Certificate. Short courses will generally be locally developed, of 100 hours duration and will be assessed by means of a portfolio. There will be scope under these arrangements for schools to extend the provision for sports and PE, including it as part of the Junior Certificate qualification, should they wish to do so.