Physical Education is a major part of student life at Thurstable school. Everyone should understand the role that health and well-being plays in society, and the way sport and exercise can improve confidence, relieve stress and anxiety.

Participation and enjoyment is the main value in the faculty, and the awareness that exercise is a life-long commitment. They may not develop into county or international athletes, but we can certainly motivate and develop every individual to achieve their potential.

Students may be performers, officials, organisers or leaders and we strive to provide opportunities for them to find the role that suits them best. They work as individuals, in groups and in teams, developing concepts of fairness and of personal and social responsibility.

The faculty also works hard to encourage sports and active lifestyles into the sixth form. We offer academic qualifications to all levels of students, as well as practical opportunities through our Colchester United football programme, and cheerleading. See the 6th form prospectus for more details.

Curriculum Intent

A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in sport and other physically-demanding activities. Thurstable provides opportunities for pupils to develop their physical and mental confidence in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed positive life-long habits.

Targets of the Curriculum

  • Develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities

  • Pupils are physically active for sustained periods of time

  • Engage in competitive sports and activities

  • Lead future healthy, active lives

Key Stage 4 Qualifications

Pupils have the opportunity to study the following courses in Year 10 and 11:

BTEC Level 1/ 2 First Award in Sport (Pearson)

The course builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills established in Key Stage 3 Physical Education. It will give you exciting opportunities to be involved in a number of different physical activities, promoting an active and healthy lifestyle. You can perform in one or all of the following roles, player/participant, leader or official. You should have a keen interest in PE and sport, enjoy being active and appreciate the benefits of keeping fit and healthy.

Course Content

75% coursework and 25% online exam.

BTEC Level 1/ 2 First Tech award in Performing Arts (Pearson)

During the course students study a variety of different units experiencing a variety of different dance styles. These styles will include jazz, street/hip hop, contemporary and other styles that may suit the pupil’s strengths and styles studied outside of school.

The course consists of three components

Component 1: Exploring the Performing Arts

Component 2: Developing Skills and Techniques in the Performing Arts

Component 3: Performing to a Brief

Students work is assessed through practical performances and some theory work which is completed during lesson time and as homework. This work will be assessed externally by Edexcel and internally by members of staff.

Key Stage 5 Qualifications

In the 6th form, students have the chance to study one or more of the following courses:

A Level Physical Education (OCR)

This practical and engaging course has been developed ensuring an inclusive specification that will allow you to achieve your potential. The content has been designed to help you study Physical Education (PE) in an academic setting, enabling you to critically analyse and evaluate physical performance and apply your experience of practical activity in developing knowledge and understanding of the subject.

Component 1: Physiological Factors Affecting Performance- This group of topics focuses on key systems of the human body involved in movement and physical activity.

Component 2: Psychological factors affecting performance- You will study the models and theories that affect learning and performance in physical activities, how different methods of training and feedback work and why their effectiveness differs from person to person.

Component 3: Socio-cultural issues in physical activity and sport- This component focuses on the social and cultural factors that have shaped sports over time, and their influences on physical activity.

Component 4: Performance within Physical Education You will be required to undertake two parts within this component. Part 1: Performance/coaching of a sport or activity from the approved DfE list, which as a minimum you are expected to take part in at local club level outside of school time. Part 2: Evaluation of Performance for Improvement (EPI) of a sport or activity from the approved DfE list.

Each unit has its own exam, where the assessments consist of two 1h 15 min exams and one 2h exam. The coursework assessment will be practical based assessment (Performance or Coaching) in one chosen activity, along with an oral analysis exam.

Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Performing Arts (Dance) equivalent to 1.5 A Levels (RSL)

The level 3 Diploma in Creative and Performing Arts will provide pupils with the skills, knowledge and understanding for entry to employment in the creative and performing arts industries or further study at a higher level. For example, units provide learners with knowledge and understanding of advanced concepts such as the style and context of performance genres, audition techniques, planning, repertoire, rehearsal schedules, the nature of performance, collaborating with others, health and safety, technical requirements and reviewing/analysis of performances. As well as a solid grounding of practical and technical skills.


Pupils will study 7 units over 2 years. Two of these units are mandatory units: External unit is Performance Preparation Internal unit is Planning for a Career in the Creative and Performing Arts.

Level 3 Nationals in Sports Coaching and Development (Pearson- 2019)

BTEC in sport is a vocational course where you will study across a range of topics in sport. The combined assessment style of the course includes assessment through assignments and practical evidence. This course can be selected as a single option (equivalent to 1 A Level), double option (equivalent to 2 A Levels) or a triple option (equivalent to 3 A Levels),

This is a career-focused qualification with industry endorsement and accreditation. It enables learners to develop underpinning knowledge and technical skills and to gain experience as an assistant coach.

Extended Certificate – 1 A Level - Careers in the Sport and Active Leisure Industry - Health, Wellbeing and Sport - Developing Coaching Skills.

Diploma – 2 A Levels Units studied the same as the Extended Certificate, plus - Applied Coaching Skills - Sport Development - Self-employment in Sport and Physical Activity - Anatomy and Physiology in Sport.

Extended Diploma – 3 A Levels Units studied the same as the Diploma, plus - Research Project in Sport - Fitness Testing - Fitness Training - Technical and Tactical Skills - Ethical and Current Issues in Sport.

This a vocational course, where the majority of assessment is achieved by completing coursework, set through assignments.

Level 2 BTEC First Extended Certificate in Public Services (Pearson)

You will study a number of Units, including the following compulsory units:

Unit 1: The Role and Work of the Public Services

Unit 2: Working Skills in the Public Service Sector

Unit 6: Citizenship, Society and the Public Services

Unit 7: Crime and its Effects on Society and Individuals


The faculty and students enjoy some of the best facilities in the area. The sports centre houses a 4 Badminton court sized hall and a dedicated Dance studio, in addition there is a gymnasium with an indoor rock climbing wall, 2 squash courts, and a newly refurbished fitness gym. Outside we have the luxury of a full size 3G Astroturf, four netball courts, and a further 3 football and one grass rugby pitch.


We run a full extra-curricular programme, providing opportunities for students to experience a variety of team and individual activities. Rugby, Football, Netball, Dance, Cheerleading, Badminton, Fitness, Athletics, Cricket and Rounders are the most popular activities. Each activity can be competed in, or just enjoyed as a social recreation. In addition we do run other activities if the demand is great enough, just ask your PE teacher!!

The Faculty runs a very successful Duke of Edinburgh award scheme (DofE), where pupils can take part in outdoor expeditions to gain their nationally recognised awards.

The bi-annual Ski trip is very popular as well as other trips e.g. International matches at Twickenham and Essex University.

Gifted and talented students are supported is as many ways as is possible. Some of our students compete for the county, for the region and nationally. Some of those students are identified within Thurstable, others from their own very dedicated efforts outside. All are important and valued.

Our annual awards evening recognises the efforts of all students, as athletes, officials or leaders of the future, celebrates their successes, commitment and considerable achievements.