Getting physical shows the biggest jump

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The Independent Online

Record numbers of teenagers are taking GCSEs in physical education as schools push to get young people "off the couch and on to the pitch".

Record numbers of teenagers are taking GCSEs in physical education as schools push to get young people "off the couch and on to the pitch".

Exam results yesterday showed GCSE PE had the biggest increase in popularity this year with a 10 per cent rise. Numbers rose from 121,932 last year to 134,134 this summer. This is an increase of more than 80 per cent since the exam was first offered in 1995.

There has been widespread concern about the amount of school sports. The Government has set a target for 75 per cent of pupils to spend at least two hours a week playing sport. But Ofsted found only 62 per cent of children achieved this.

Students who take GCSE physical education are assessed as they perform four sporting activities such as football, athletics or gymnastics. The course finishes with an exam, worth 40 per cent of the marks, which includes questions on anatomy, physiology and nutrition.

Religious education showed the second biggest increase (6.6 per cent) with 141,037 entries this year. History also enjoyed a 5.5 per cent increase in popularity which saw 230,688 students sit a GCSE in the subject this summer.

The biggest slumps were in language GCSEs. French was the biggest loser this year with entries dropping by 3.9 per cent, a significant drop as the cohort of 16-year-olds rose by 3.4 per cent this year. German showed the second-biggest drop, falling by 2.9 per cent.

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