Physical Education (PE) is to be made a Leaving Cert examination subject, the Department of Education has confirmed.
The subject will be available at both ordinary and higher level and will be examined for the first time in 2020.
The Department of Education is now inviting schools to apply to be part of the pilot first phase, which will involve at least 50 schools.
"Phase one of the implementation process will involve a small cohort of schools who have the capacity to introduce PE as a Leaving Certificate subject in September 2018. It is anticipated the phase one cohort of schools will be selected and notified by the end of January 2018," the department said.
There will be three types of assessment carried out as part of the subject - a performance assessment, a physical activity project and a written exam. The performance assessment will involve the student performing in a discipline of their choosing, such as swimming, gymnastics, hurling, tennis or running. This will account for 30% of marks.
The physical activity project will be worth 20% of marks and students can choose from a range of areas, such as athletics, personal exercise and fitness, games and aquatics. They can undertake this project from the point of view of a performer or a coach/choreographer.
The remaining 50% of marks will be allocated to the written exam and some of the areas that will be studied for this include sports psychology, diet and nutrition, drugs and sport, and ethics and fair play.
Schools who wish to take part in the pilot phase can apply now. The closing date for applications is January 16, 2018.
Responding to the news, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said that making PE an exam subject would have far-reaching benefits, as it would raise awareness of the importance of physical health, while also improving health and fitness levels among young people.
Schools can apply here