Mandatory Physical Education Classes

Bulgaria: It is mandatory for primary schools to provide 3 hours of PE in grades 1, 2, and 7–12. In grades 3–6 it is mandatory for primary schools to provide 3.5 hours of PE.

Estonia: 2 hours of PE per week are mandatory.

France: 4 hours of PE in primary schools, 3 hours of PE in secondary schools are mandatory. In kindergartens, pedagogical goals are given, not number of hours. Generally, teachers give 30 to 45 minutes of physical education classes daily. Particularly for kindergartens and primary schools, municipality which are responsible for extracurricular activities (after school time) propose many activities for most of the children.

Germany: It differs by state. 3 to 5 hours of PE per week are mandatory.

Greece: Physical education is mandatory in primary (4 hours per week) and in secondary schools (2 hours per week).

Hungary: The Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education introduced daily PE classes as of school year 2012/2013 from grades 1st, 5th and 9th in a step-up implementation system. In addition, since September 2013, the new National Core Curriculum (NCC) has regulated the content of PE classes. The philosophy of the new curriculum focuses more on health objectives and on the cognitive aspects enabling emotional and social development.

Ireland: In primary schools, 1 hour per week of PE is mandatory, and 2 hours per week are recommended in secondary schools. The Department of Education and Skills in conjunction with the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport together developed another framework, entitled ‘Get active! Physical education, physical activity and sport for children and young people. A guiding framework, promoting physical activity and sports in school settings.’ This document aims to support schools in developing a coherent approach to providing high-quality PE and opportunities for children and young people to engage in physical activity, exercise and sports before, during and after school.

Italy: Two hours of PE per week are compulsory in primary and secondary schools. Active transport to school is encouraged, using the PIEDIBUS scheme run by the municipalities, local health authorities, schools and parents’ associations (usually in cooperation). The Class Sports (Sport di Classe) programme, established in 2013, is a joint venture between the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, to promote PE from primary school onwards. The aims of the intervention are to: motivate young children to be more physically active; ensure 2 hours per week of PE; review the governance model for PE in schools to ensure greater synergy and coordination between the project coordinators; and ensure that all primary schools in Italy are engaged in the programme on some level.

Latvia: In kindergartens, structured PA classes must be organized every day (indoors or outdoors), but length of time is not defined. It is mandatory for primary schools to include 2 hours of PE in the curriculum. Educational institutions have the right to increase the number of hours dedicated to PE per week, and many schools choose to provide more than 2 classes of PE per week. The content of PE is determined by Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers for basic and secondary schools. These regulations determine the aims and objectives of PE, its compulsory content and what learning goals must have been met upon completion of forms 3, 6, 9 and 12 in the school system.

Luxembourg: In kindergartens it is part of the educational programme. In schools: provision of PE classes is mandatory in Luxembourg, but no number of lessons is specified. The amount of physical education varies across the country. It is provided from the first grade onwards, with on average 3 hours per week for the first 4 years of schooling and then 2 hours per week for the last 2 years of primary education. Three hours per week are provided in the first year of secondary education, followed by 2 hours per week for next 5 years. This is then lowered to 1 hour per week for the last 2 or 3 years of secondary education.

Malta: 2 hours of PE per week are mandatory in schools. Sport Malta (Kunsill Malti g?all-Isport) has been running an after school sports programme since 2007, comprising a wide variety of initiatives for all age ranges. Besides, the Ministry for Education and Employment has implemented the National Curriculum Framework in 2013 which focuses on health education, PE and sports, aiming to “maintain, promote and enhance physical, emotional, psychological and social well-being throughout school life”.

Poland: 4 hours of PE per week are mandatory in schools.

Romania: In grades 3 and 4 of primary school (pupils aged 8—10 years), physical activity is mandatory for 3 hours per week. This is split into PE for 2 hours and 1 hour of play and movement. In grades 1 and 2 (pupils aged 6—8 years) physical activity is mandatory for 2 hours per week, with 1 optional hour of play and movement. In secondary schools, it is mandatory to offer 2 hours of PE per week for grades 5, 6 and 7 (pupils aged 10—13 years), and there is also 1 optional hour per week of PE for all grades.

Slovakia: It is mandatory for primary schools to provide 8 hours per week of PE for children. In secondary schools, PE and sports are taught for 10 hours per week. PE and sports are subject to the state educational guidelines established by a department of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport that is responsible for “health and motion”. The guidelines are designed with a focus on lifelong physical activity for health. The key aim is to promote regular physical activity as an important basis for a healthy lifestyle.

Slovenia: It is mandatory for primary schools to provide 2—3 lessons (each of 45 minutes) of PE per week. In secondary schools, it is mandatory to provide 1—3 lessons (each of 45 minutes) per week. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports runs a national scheme for after-school HEPA promotion entitled Healthy Lifestyle (Zdrav življenjski slog). The aim of the project is to encourage primary school children to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The programme currently reaches 20—30% of the primary school population and provides a further 5 hours of physical activity per week on top of the mandatory PE lessons during school hours.

Spain: In Spain, establishing the education curriculum is largely the responsibility of the 17 autonomous regions. There is thus some variation in the hours dedicated to PE, with an average of 2 hours per week in primary schools. In the case of secondary schools, all autonomous regions have agreed to 2 hours per week as the minimum number of compulsory hours of PE.