A Geneva international school is prioritising physical education. Here's why that matters

With the 2024 Paris Olympics fast approaching, there's an increased focus on how sport influences how we learn and work - none more so than in the heartland of international sport, Switzerland.

Published: Mon 24 Jun 2024 08:10 CEST
A Geneva international school is prioritising physical education. Here's why that matters
Since 1915, when the International Olympic Committee moved to Lausanne, Switzerland has been the powerhouse of world sport. Photo: Brazen_ / Canva

It's an area that one Geneva international school has already considered, as they prepare to offer a new course for those entering Sixth Form.

Commencing in the 2024-2025 school year, the British School of Geneva (BSG) will add the Pearson Edexcel Physical Education course to its A Level offerings. 

In addition to core courses like English, Mathematics, and History, the new course is being introduced to provide students with another route to academic success.

This course also opens up a variety of job opportunities within and outside the sporting world, ranging from management to scientific research.

Penny Lewis, Pearson Edexcel’s Subject Advisor for Physical Education and Sport, gave us an overview of how the course is structured, and more about what it can offer to interested students.  

The Pearson Edexcel A Level in Physical Education is now available at BSG. Enrol in a course offers both academic rigour and international career opportunities

A challenging mix of learning and practice

For those who might assume that a Physical Education course is not as academically rigorous as a traditional A Level subject, Penny outlines the range of skills and subject knowledge involved.

She states:70 percent of the course is assessed through two written exams."

“These exams assess the learner's knowledge, understanding and application of the theoretical aspect of physical education."

This knowledge base encompasses anatomy, physiology, exercise, and movement analysis, that supports other A Level scientific subjects that students may choose. 

“We also examine knowledge of skill acquisition, sports psychology and the role sports play in society.

"The theory element covers both the scientific and social aspects of physical education. It is both challenging and engaging for students.”

Where the course differs from other A Level subjects, however, is the significant practical component - both in performing and coaching physical activities.

“A further 15 percent of the course then assesses the learner's practical ability in an activity - as a performer or coach.

"This requires the learner to evaluate their performance and apply theoretical content to a practical situation", says Penny - in other words, putting subject knowledge into practical action.

The remainder of the course assesses the learner's knowledge and understanding of the subject by studying two physical and tactical elements of a chosen physical activity. 

“Finally, students implement a Performance Development Programme, before evaluating its success."

Penny adds that in addition to the transferable academic skills that the course offers, the practical elements of the Physical Education course can offer a path towards specialist career roles that are in in-demand in the global labour market.

According to Penny, graduates from the course pursue a wide range of careers, from sports scientists to physiotherapists or nutritionists, among many other examples.

“Many of our learners go on to take a sports-related course at university and that opens up a variety of job options - from teaching to professional coaching and even sports medicine."

The Pearson Physical Education course has also been revised to make it more accessible to learners, in response to teacher and student feedback, as Penny remarks.

“We always listen to teachers in both the development and implementation of the specification.

"Over the years, we listened to teachers and carried out a review and changed the format of the exam papers, in particular, to make them more straightforward.

“Feedback from both teachers and learners is that they really like the new format.”

Studying Physical Education as an A-level subject offers numerous opportunities for international students. Learn more about BSG's Sixth Form offerings

Students enrolling in BSG's A Level Physical Education course join students from over 70 nationalities. Photo: Supplied

An ideal starting position

BSG, situated in Vernier and close to Geneva's city centre, is uniquely positioned to offer the Pearson Edexcel Physical Education course.

Offering A Level courses to students of over 70 nationalities since 2005, the school is located among the largest concentration of sporting organisations found globally.

Since 1915, the International Olympic Committee has been based in Lausanne, which is a ninety-minute drive from Geneva.

This has made Switzerland an ideal base for various sporting organizations, including FIFA, World Boxing, and the International Gymnastics Federation.

In total, over seventy organisations governing an international sport are headquartered there.  

Suffice it to say, that sport is now a massive contributor to Swiss society. 

In fact, the IOC's presence contributed 1.68 billion CHF to the Swiss economy in 2022 and sporting in general, a further 22.2 billion CHF.

International sporting organizations, professional clubs, scientific research institutes, and the world-class sports facilities found across the country now employ hundreds of thousands of people.

Throughout the Geneva region itself, high-level professionals from specialist physiotherapists to senior marketing executives work within the realm of sport on a international level. 

With such a wide range of sports-related knowledge and expertise nearby, the course participants will have the opportunity to observe world-class athlete both on and off the field and learn from career professionals at the peak of their performance.

There is still time to enrol in BSG's Sixth Form and study Physical Education in the global capital of sporting excellence. Enquire today

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