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Physical Education

In common with all other aspects of schooling, physical education contributes to the all round development of individual pupils. Central to the inclusion of physical education in the curriculum for all pupils of statutory age, is the development of their physical abilities and the provision of opportunities to realise the following outcomes……..


  1. The stimulation of physical growth, especially in the early years of schooling.

  2. Improved co-ordination and body management together with aesthetic appreciation of the body in action, achieved through participation in a wide spectrum of physical activities.

  3. The development of sports skills, knowledge and insights, especially those which have cultural and social significance.

  4. An increase in the awareness of the health and fitness implications of exercise through participation in vigorous activity and by raising pupils` awareness of the benefits that can be gained from an active lifestyle.

  5. An awareness of acceptable moral behaviour through decision-making in real situations where the consequences of those decisions may be readily appreciated.

  6. The desire and the means to pursue opportunities for further participation achieved by connecting them with opportunities for both recreational and competitive involvement.

  7. Access to career opportunities by equipping pupils with the skills and knowledge needed for competent performance, thus gaining a qualification in physical education.


Physical education has the potential to provide rich opportunities for pupils to make the most of themselves recognising their individual needs and aspirations. This fact has been acknowledged by the inclusion of physical education on the Northern Ireland curriculum as a core subject and by the recommendation that each pupil should receive a minimum of four periods per week in order to fulfil their entitlement to a broad, balanced, progressive and enjoyable education.

In addition to the general aims of the department, we also aim to achieve the following more specific aims…..


  1. To encourage communication and co-operation between pupils in the solving of movement problems.

  2. To help pupils acquire psychomotor and social skills.

  3. To encourage pupils to be critical and inventive, to think independently and make effective decisions in physical situations, and to encourage attitudes of enthusiasm and exploration.

  4. To encourage pupils to assume roles of responsibility and leadership.

  5. To help pupils adopt a more mature and disciplined approach to sporting situations and to be aware of the need for the safe movement of themselves and others.

  6. To instil confidence in pupils to enable them to compete in physical challenges at a level commensurate with their ability, and to always compete honestly and fairly.

  7. To encourage pupils to adopt a healthier lifestyle through regular exercise, healthy eating and personal hygiene.

  8. Where possible, use sporting situations as a mechanism to outline the differing traditions and beliefs that exist in society and encourage attitudes of tolerance, understanding and mutual respect.




Markethill High School caters for pupils in the 11 – 16 age range. Physical Education is compulsory for all pupils with most junior classes receiving two hours a week and seniors one hour. GCSE PE has recently been introduced as a subject option, comprising two and a half hours a week.


Pupils in Key Stage 3 receive a well-balanced programme of activities which aid the achievement of the aforementioned objectives. These activities are designed to enable pupils to progress gradually towards more adult forms of activity and cope with increased physical demands. A key concept associated with improving performance is the need to encourage pupils to review and evaluate the performance of themselves and their peers.


ATHLETICS – Summer term: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, high jump, long-jump, shot, discus, javelin, cricket ball.


GYMNASTICS – Autumn term – Educational and some Olympic


DANCE – Spring term – National, Creative


SWIMMING – Spring term – Classes to challenge beginners, improvers and advanced, with all pupils working towards a certificate of merit.


OUTDOOR EDUCATION – Autumn term – All year 8 pupils spend one day at Lurgabuoy, where fully qualified instructors provide tuition in canoeing, rock-climbing, wet bouldering and adventure walks.


GAMES – Autumn, Easter and Summer terms – Boys will major in the sport of soccer with hockey and basketball as subsidiaries. Girls will major in the sport of hockey with volleyball as a subsidiary. Pupils will also have the opportunity to play racquet sports such as badminton and tennis.


It is policy to mix both male and female pupils in some classes throughout Key Stage 3 eg dance, gymnastics, games.



Due to the fact that pupils are taught mainly in mixed ability classes, teaching strategies must enable individuals to progress at an appropriate level and pupils with greater capabilities will be encouraged to help pupils with less ability in some areas of the PE programme.


Pupils will be encouraged to participate in a wide range of sports and leisure activities which will increase their understanding of the effects of exercise on their body systems. Pupils will also be encouraged to use their leisure time wisely and effectively and the importance of regular exercise in contributing to a healthy lifestyle will be impressed upon them. This may be achieved primarily through Health Related Physical Education, but will also form an integral feature of other units of work.


Throughout Years 11 & 12 different teaching methods are adopted whereby pupils are taught games and other activities on a whole part whole basis with interruptions being made at appropriate times to introduce coaching points or to help develop skill acquisition and tactical awareness. Tug-of-War is a new activity option introduced for Year 11 pupils which addresses aspects of physical strength and endurance, co-operation and communication as well as teamwork and enjoyment.




Markethill High School has one fully equipped gymnasium, a large purpose built sports building containing a sports hall and changing facilities, as well as one 3G Astroturf hockey pitch and two football pitches. There are also four tennis courts and extensive play areas. In addition to these, the school uses the Orchard Leisure Centre and Gosford Forest Park for leisure and outdoor activities respectively.

Extra-Curricular Activities

In relation to outdoor pursuits there are residential visits to Lurgabuoy and Year 12 GCSE PE as well as Key Stage three pupils have the opportunity to participate in orienteering based in Palace Stables, Armagh. School teams participate in Mid-Ulster and Northern Ireland leagues in hockey, soccer, volleyball and rugby. Practices are held on an after school basis with other teaching staff facilitating the delivery of the coaching programme. All pupils are encouraged to take part in inter-house competitions and sports day. Athletics is popular in the school, with teams entering District and Ulster competitions in cross-country, field and track events.


A ski trip has been organised on a frequent basis with many pupils availing of this fantastic experience to learn a new “life-changing” sport.

Sport Academy

This initiative aims to promote the number of children participating in after school activities at both primary and secondary school level. It aims to promote the use of fully qualified coaches to run activity programmes aimed at improving skill and fitness levels in a particular sport or leisure activity. The co-ordinator is responsible for promoting the involvement of boys and girls in local clubs outside school. This scheme has been particularly successful in nurturing talented children and preparing them for selection to Regional Development Squads in hockey and volleyball. However the main purpose is to increase overall opportunities available for pupils to become involved and have fun in a sport of their choice.

Sports Clubs
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