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Sport is an integral part of life at Shiplake College. With timetabled games or outdoor education sessions every day, all pupils are heavily involved in physical activity. Unsurprisingly, many choose to combine their participation in competitive sports and recreational minor activities with the academic study of Physical Education. This is a compulsory element of the curriculum in lower year groups, which becomes an optional subject at GCSE and A Level. The Physical Education Department is passionate about educating pupils about the importance of leading balanced, healthy and active lifestyles.


The College boasts exceptional grounds and sporting facilities, allowing pupils to enjoy representing their school in the best possible environment. There are three large sports fields providing a number of high quality pitches for all outdoor sports and recreation.

Physical Education lessons generally take place on the all-weather Astroturf pitch or in our large, multi-purpose sports centre, which lies at the heart of the College. This features two dedicated classrooms, a spacious sports hall and a strength and conditioning gym. The College has extensive fitness facilities, including a large collection of rowing ergometers. The College’s outdoor swimming pool is used frequently in warmer months during Physical Education lessons and in pupils’ free time.

Additional Opportunities 

Pupils are offered a magnitude of sporting activities as part of the College’s diverse co-curricular programme. Boys and girls can select from a long list of major sports and minor activities, which supplement the study of Physical Education. High quality coaching is provided by teaching staff and external experts to ensure pupils continue to develop throughout their time at the College. The busy sporting calendar also includes numerous inter-House events.

Keen sportsmen and women are encouraged to apply the theoretical knowledge gained during PE lessons to their own personal training and performance.


Key Stage 3

Throughout Years 7 – 9, the students will have an opportunity to participate in a number of sports, allowing them to develop a range of skills and appreciation of a variety of sports. Recently, the programs have focused on Health and Fitness, giving the students the opportunity to grow their understanding of how to measure fitness, develop training programs and improve sporting performance.

The major focus of Physical Education lessons in younger year groups is on core skill development. There is an emphasis on participation regardless of natural ability, which extends to the College’s sporting programme. Skills and abilities covered during lessons transfer positively to multiple sports to improve pupils’ confidence and aptitude. 


GCSE Physical Education is a dynamic and challenging course which continues to grow in popularity at Shiplake College. Pupils are provided with the opportunity to participate in numerous sports as well as learning the values of an active and healthy lifestyle. Teaching involves a blend of theory and practical lessons, allowing pupils to use their full range of intellectual and sporting talents to achieve their potential.

The course encourages creativity and decision-making skills to enable the students to plan effectively for performances and respond to changing situations. It also helps pupils to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices.

Sixth Form

Physical Education is currently offered as a BTEC option in the Sixth Form. However, in order to extend and tailor our provision of the subject, the College has introduced a BTEC Sport course. The BTEC course is for learners who enjoy sport and are keen to investigate how the human mind and body excel in the sporting environment. For those pupils with at least 4 GCSEs at Grade C or above, the course provides an opportunity for practical, hands-on-learning. There are fewer examinations in BTEC courses, meaning that pupils are predominantly assessed through a series of coursework tasks. Whilst the course specification is currently under review, it is highly likely that pupils will study the physiology of fitness, assessing risk in sport and the principles of anatomy in sport amongst other topics. Typical methods of assessment would measure a pupil's ability to design a personal exercise programme, give a verbal briefing on risk assessment or administer various sport performance and fitness tests.

Pupils require a lively and enquiring mind, a willingness to explore new ideas and an ability to communicate effectively. The subject has a high academic content which requires a great deal of independent research and study to master the scientific elements of the course. Pupils will learn about concepts relating to anatomy, exercise physiology, skill acquisition, psychology and sociology in sport. Whilst practical elements will be built into the course to assist learning, the majority of the assessment will be coursework and assignment based.

Pupils who enjoy sport would find the subject both interesting and stimulating. A strong performance in the A Level will allow the pupil to credibly apply for a wide range of sport-related courses at leading institutions. People taking these courses often move on to physiotherapy, teaching, coaching, analysis, management, marketing or personal training.

It is our duty to inspire pupils to adopt lifelong healthy, active and balanced lifestyles.
Head of Girls' Games