Getting To Know IB Sports, Exercise and Health Science

St George’s now offers 33 separate IB Diploma Programme courses - the most of any IB World School in Italy. Among the newest additions is Sports, Exercise and Health Science (SEHS), which launched in September 2021. Here Miss Vanessa Wingate, Head of Senior PE, and Denis, Year 12 IBDP pupil, share their perspectives of the course -  as course coordinator and student respectively. 

Photo of Denis, Year 12 and Miss Wingate, Head of PE

Denis Dymov, Year 12 (left) and Miss Vanessa Wingate, Head of Senior School PE and Sports, Exercise and Health Science Coordinator (right)

Sports, Exercise and Health Science is an available option in Group 4 (Sciences) of the IBDP. What was the context behind introducing this subject at St George’s? 
Miss Wingate: The addition of SEHS provides a new academic pathway for PE. As a school with a renowned provision for co-curricular sport, and having offered PE up to IGCSE level for many years, SEHS enables pupils to continue to explore their interests in this subject area. The course itself contains elements of psychology, biology, chemistry and physics - all with a focus on sport - so it is a really interesting course that is complementary to the existing Group 4 subjects that we offer (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Systems & Societies and Physics). 

Tell us about the course content and what pupils who select this course can expect. 
Miss Wingate: The core syllabus covers anatomy, exercise physiology, energy systems, movement analysis and evaluation of human performance. In addition to this, two option units will be chosen from optimising physiological performance, psychology of sport, physical activity and health and nutrition for sport. All of these areas have sport, health and exercise running through them as a core theme.

How is the course at IB level different from IGCSE PE offered in Year 10 and Year 11? 
Miss Wingate: There are no traditional practical PE lessons attached to this subject.  However, there will be the opportunity to take part in other lab research/investigation lessons. 
Denis: An example being a lesson focusing on movement analysis may be delivered through the practical application of a golf swing. Overall, the courses has similarities to the theoretical components of the IGCSE PE course, but in greater depth and complexity. 

What attracted you to teaching this course and to selecting the course as one of your IB subjects respectively? 
Miss Wingate: The course presented a new exciting chapter as the PE Department continues to grow. It seemed like the natural progression to add another layer of learning to our subject. 
Denis: As a keen sportsman, but also as someone who is interested in the theory behind sports and health, the course seemed like a great fit for me and also allowed me to expand upon the knowledge gained during IGCSE PE. It also fits in well with all of my other IB subjects. For example, I take IB Economics and IB Business Management and both of those subjects provide an interesting contrast and different perspectives to what I learn in SEHS. 

What would your advice be for a pupil who is more interested in the practical aspects of Physical Education and sport rather than the theoretical components? 
Denis: This might not be the course for you, however if that is your passion and you take part in lots of physical activity out of school or in the co-curricular programme  then more than likely they will continue to run alongside your studies.  
Miss Wingate: Although SEHS won’t have a practical component to the course, this a course that allows you to create links and gain an understanding of how your body and mind copes with the pressures of activity and performing and the theory that underpins your performance and successes within your sport. 

What are some potential career paths for pupils who are keen on this subject? 
Miss Wingate: Anything! This is a course that has so many avenues. Naturally with an expected keen interest in sport pathways such as sport science, sport psychology, physiotherapy, sports analysis will all be popular career paths, as will teaching and coaching, nutritionist etc. 

Finally, what three adjectives would you use to describe the course? 
Miss Wingate: Challenging, relatable, fun. 
Denis: Enjoyable, complex and unique. 

To learn more about IB Sports, Exercise and Health Science, as well as the other IB courses available at St George’s, download our IB Options Booklet