Core Physical Education Learning Intentions and Assessment

Students are assessed twice per term in physical education lessons.  Assessment reflects the range and content of the national curriculum, and is used as the foundation for all learning intentions:

  • Outwitting opponents (e.g. in games)
  • Accurate replication (e.g. in swimming) 
  • Exploring and communicating ideas, concepts and emotions (e.g. in dance) 
  • Performing at maximum levels (e.g. in athletics)
  • Identifying and solving problems (e.g. in leadership)
  • Exercising safely and effectively (e.g. in the fitness suite)

The national curriculum level descriptors for physical education are below.

Level 1
Students copy, repeat and explore simple skills and actions with basic control and coordination. They start to link these skills and actions in ways that suit the activities. They describe and comment on their own and others’ actions. They talk about how to exercise safely, and how their bodies feel during an activity.

Level 2
Students explore simple skills. They copy, remember, repeat and explore simple actions with control and coordination. They vary skills, actions and ideas and link these in ways that suit the activities. They begin to show some understanding of simple tactics and basic compositional ideas. They talk about differences between their own and others’ performance and suggest improvements. They understand how to exercise safely, and describe how their bodies feel during different activities.

Level 3
Students select and use skills, actions and ideas appropriately, applying them with coordination and control. They show that they understand tactics and composition by starting to vary how they respond. They can see how their work is similar to and different from others’ work, and use this understanding to improve their own performance. They give reasons why warming up before an activity is important, and why physical activity is good for their health.

Level 4
Students link skills, techniques and ideas and apply them accurately and appropriately. When performing, they show precision, control and fluency. They show that they understand tactics and composition. They compare and comment on skills, techniques and ideas used in their own and others’ work, and use this understanding to improve their performance. They explain and apply basic safety principles when preparing for exercise. They describe how exercise affects their bodies, and why regular, safe activity is good for their health and wellbeing. They work with others to plan and lead simple practices and activities for themselves and others.

Level 5
Students select and combine skills, techniques and ideas and apply them accurately and appropriately in different physical activities, When performing in different physical activities, they consistently show precision, control and fluency. They show that they can draw on what they know about strategy, tactics and composition to produce effective outcomes. They modify and refine skills and techniques to improve their performance and adapt their actions in response to changing circumstances. They analyse and comment on skills, techniques and ideas and how these are applied in their own and others’ work. They explain how the body reacts during different types of activity, and why physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. They plan, organise and lead practices and activities safely, helping others’ to improve their performance.

Level 6
Students select and combine skills, techniques and ideas and use them in a widening range of familiar and unfamiliar physical activities and contexts, performing with consistent precision, control and fluency. They use imaginative ways to solve problems, overcome challenges and entertain audiences. When planning their own and others’ work, and carrying out their own work, they draw on what they know about strategy, tactics and composition in response to changing circumstances, and what they know about their own and others’ strengths and weaknesses. They analyse and comment on how skills, techniques and ideas have been used in their own and others’ work, and on compositional and other aspects of performance. They suggest ways to improve. They understand how the different components of fitness affect performance and explain how different types of exercise contribute to their fitness and health. They describe their involvement in regular, safe physical activity for the benefit of their health and wellbeing. When leading practices and activities, they apply basic rules, conventions and/or compositional ideas consistently.

Level 7
Students select and combine advanced skills, techniques and ideas, adapting them accurately and appropriately to meet the demands of increasingly complex situations. They consistently show precision, control, fluency and originality. They apply the principles of advanced strategies, tactics and compositional ideas in their own and others’ work, and modify them in response to changing circumstances and other performers. They analyse and comment on their own and others’ work as individuals and team members, showing that they understand how skills, tactics, composition and fitness relate to the quality of the performance. They plan ways to improve their own and others’ performance and act on these decisions in order to bring about the improvements. They explain the principles of practice and training, and apply them effectively. They explain the benefits of regular, safe and planned physical activity on physical, mental and social wellbeing, and carry out their own physical activity programmes based on their choices and preferences of activities and roles within activities. They take on different roles within an activity, showing an ability to organise and communicate effectively, and applying rules fairly and consistently or adhering to the conventions and codes of conduct for activities.

Level 8
Students consistently distinguish between and apply advanced skills, techniques and ideas, always showing high standards of precision, control, fluency and originality. Drawing on what they know of the principles of advanced strategies, tactics or composition, they apply them with proficiency, flair and originality in their own and others’ work. When adapting and responding to changing circumstances and other performers, they maintain the quality of a performance. They critically evaluate their own and others’ work, showing that they understand the impact of skills, strategy, tactics or composition and fitness on the quality and effectiveness of performance. They use this information to plan and monitor ways in which their own and others’ performance could be improved, acting on these decisions to bring about the improvements. They use their knowledge of health, fitness and social wellbeing to plan and evaluate their own and others’ exercise and physical activity programmes. They take on different roles within an activity and plan pathways into performance, leadership or officiating based on their choices and preferences.

Exceptional performance
Students consistently use advanced skills, techniques and ideas with precision, control, fluency and originality. Drawing on what they know of the principles of advanced strategies, tactics or composition, they consistently apply these principles with originality, proficiency and flair in their own and others’ work. They are increasingly independent in finding imaginative, novel and different solutions to problems posed by themselves and others. They critically analyse and judge their own and others’ work, showing that they understand how skills, strategy, tactics or composition and fitness relate to and affect the quality and originality of performance in different physical activities. They reach judgements independently about how their own and others’ performance could be improved, prioritising aspects for further development. They consistently apply appropriate knowledge and understanding of health and fitness in all aspects of their work. They understand the contribution physical activity makes to their physical, mental and social wellbeing and participate regularly in physical activity both in and out of school for the benefit of their health and wellbeing.