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Making sport a class subject

It was smiles all round for five students at Trinity Comprehensive in Ballymun who passed their British GSCE course in sport in style over the summer.

With nothing like it on the current Irish schools curriculum, Trinity adopted the GSCE course in 2011 to give talented students a chance to get a grade in a subject that interested many of them.

As well as learning general theory, each student picks two sports or activities as a player, coach or referee.

An exam at the end of the year, supervised by an inspector that comes over from the UK, emphasises the practical, although a written exam does account for 40 per cent of the marks on offer.

Because Trinity has a well-fitted gym and it's easy to organise, all the students take fitness training as one of their sports.

Leon Doyle opted for playing soccer as his main activity. Both Carla Troy and Nicole White concentrated on volleyball coaching after passing the Volleyball Ireland Spikeball certificate course. Dean Donnelly and Craig Tracey opted for rugby.

A welcome side-effect of the course was that all five found themselves a lot fitter at the end of the year. They also completed their Gaisce awards.

Course supervisor is Gerry McDonnell, with PE teacher Paddy O'Reilly as the overall coordinator of the course.

"We find it fits in well with what we already do - subjects like health studies and personal skills," says Paddy O'Reilly.

Eight students have signed up this year.

The five recent graduates, who were all fifth year students, are now looking forward to their Leaving Cert next June.

Trinity is not the only school offering this GCSE course - Sutton Park, Ashbourne Community College, St Mary's Dundalk and Loreto Mullingar are among the others who have signed up for it.