Skateboarding at GCSE: Students aiming for exam success

Rebekah Wilson,BBC News NI


Theo started skateboarding when he was about 14

“I feel like anyone could give skateboarding a try, it’s a perfect opportunity.”

Theo is a 16-year-old and he is taking on skateboarding as part of his PE GCSE.

Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to offer the sport as part of the PE curriculum at GCSE level.

Examining body the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) said skateboarding’s growing popularity led to it being included.

Theo started skateboarding when he was about 14 and when he found out it was going on the list of sports at his school for GCSE PE, he was delighted.

“Usually people wouldn’t think of skateboarding as a sport that you could even do in school – I was so surprised – it’s a pretty good thing,” he said.

Theo is a student at Campbell College in east Belfast, one of several schools in Northern Ireland that offer skateboarding as a GCSE sport.

Northern Ireland became the first part of the UK to include skateboarding in the GCSE curriculum

What are you examined on for skateboarding?

Skateboarding has grown in popularity after it became an Olympic sport in 2020

Similar to sports such as gymnastics and ice-skating – marks are given for landing movements but also how well they are performed and the technique used.

Jared Purvis developed the GCSE syllabus and he also teaches pupils across Northern Ireland that have chosen the sport as part of their GCSE PE.

He said to get top marks it needs to look easy.

“Skateboarding should look effortless – if you’re trying something at your maximum level you’re probably going to land it roughly, toe touching the ground – to have a top candidate they would be doing everything required but effortlessly,” he said.

If you land an ollie you’ll get a score, but if you land an ollie with ease you’ll get a higher score, he explained.

Olympic skateboarding

Northern Ireland students will have the chance to do skateboarding as part of their GCSEs

Mr Purvis also works with Skateboard NI, which is part of Skateboard GB – the governing body for skateboarding in the UK.

“You can do it because all you need is a skateboard, access to the internet and access to someone like me or any other skateboard coach – it is so accessible it was a no brainer – it’s amazing for having fun and also personal development,” he said.

He said skateboarding being in the Olympics gave the sport a massive boost.

“I’ve been down to my local bar with these old boys saying ‘see that skateboarding on the TV, how do you do that?'” he said.

“They are all interested.”

He hopes the inclusion of skateboarding in schools will help promote more funding for the sport in Northern Ireland.

“Our weather isn’t great for outdoor skateboarding so my end goal is to get an indoor facility here so NI skateboarders can be as big as those in America or places that have a better climate for skateboarding,” he said.

Peter Davidson said it was a great accolade that Northern Ireland was the first part of the UK to have skateboarding as a GCSE sport

Peter Davidson, the education manager for sports science and physical education at CCEA, said it made sense to include newer sports.

“We’ve seen the likes of parkour and more urban based sports, like skateboarding, being accepted and brought into the Olympics – so this has aligned well with that and we were pleased to avail of it,” he said.

Mr Davidson said it was “a great accolade” for Northern Ireland to be the first part of the UK to include skateboarding in schools.

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