Yesterday was my first experience of an SQA event, Subject Implementation for National 3, 4 and 5 in Physical Education. Reflecting on the day was not easy last night considering the sheer amount of information and discussion that took place (which is highly encouraging) I learned a number of things regarding the course and the thinking behind the courses, it was a great opportunity to discuss the thinking and themes that have underpinned the writing of the documents we have all scrutinized, discussed and dare I say it, dismissed over the past few months.
I was highly enthused by the day in a number of ways. Firstly it was great to be in a room with so many well respected and highly regarded teachers of physical education, I would have loved more time to get to know a few more and for them to learn my name (which would have been great come job hunt time). Secondly, it was great to have the opportunity to discuss and share my thoughts on the documents with other practitioners and to hear their thoughts. Finally, just to gather ideas and discuss best practice is something we should have the opportunity to do or perhaps create the opportunity to do more often.
The focus of the event was for us to analyse and discuss the documents for the National Qualifications. We were given clearer guidelines on the assessment documents and how grades will be assigned including weightings of performance over portfolio alongside discussions on the underpinning thinking of these courses. It did become apparent however these issues were not the major concerns of my fellow professionals and of myself. These concerns centred on assessment and how learners can go through the PE dept. and never sit an assessment until or unless they select Higher as a subject. My main concern goes back to some early lectures and discussions on last years PGDE course. We were tasked to read literature, which focused on the values of PE, and we discussed in great depth the standing of PE in the curriculum and, of course, as an academic subject. This discussion goes back a number of years and I’m sure will crop up again within the subject. Can we really not assess pupils in National 5?
I fully understand the thinking that underpins National 4. Of course we are a practical subject and improving and developing a skillful performance across a range of activities is what we do. But what about the knowledge that has been developed in the field of sport psychology, exercise physiology, biomechanics and in particular sports science. Much has been made of the development of sports science in the ever-improving professional games across a range of sports. Should we not be tapping into this knowledge to allow our pupils a flavor of the roles that are developing across the world? After all a career in sport is the dream of a high number of us! I hope that this is something that is thought about as we progress through the development of our National courses and I am also aware that through the process of implementation there will be changes made. We are far from the finished article and there will be scope to ensure that PE is seen as a good National to have in the eyes of learners, their families and their future employers.
Moving forward I am, as always, highly enthusiastic and feel a great energy when discussing how the courses will look in practice. I relish the challenge of developing the curriculum in my current role as an NQT and I also hope that in the coming months and years I play a role in developing the Nationals and Higher (fingers crossed there is a role for me) and the subject implementation event only added more fuel to my fire and I can not wait to be a part of and have an impact on the future of physical education and its place within A Curriculum for Excellence.