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The strand units of the Athletics curriculum include:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Throwing
  • Understanding and appreciation of athletics

Emphasis in the Athletics programme should be on providing opportunities for the child to challenge him/herself to run faster or for a longer period, to throw an implement further and to jump further or higher.

While the PE Curriculum outlines the specifics of each of the strand units of Athletics across the class levels, the table below provides a summary of progression across the class levels

Athletics Progression






Understanding and


Distance Running

30-90 sec

Sprint:  10-20 m

Reactions and Standing Start

Relays:  Pair Relays (BB)

Hurdling:  Flat up to 20 cm high


Skip with and without ropes

Various ways of jumping 2-2, 2-1  1-1,1-1,1-2.  squishy landing

Swing arms

Various methods of throwing for

height and distance – underarm throw

Lane running

Standing start

First and Second Class

Distance Running

30 sec – 2 min

Sprint:  20-30 m

Reactions and Standing Start

Relays:  Team Relays (BB)

Hurdling:  30 cm high

Identify lead leg – stepover



Various jumps

Approach run (3 steps) for distance and height


Over-arm (javelin throw)

Measuring score

Understand pace

Approach run

Third and Fourth Class

Distance Running

30 sec – 3 min

Sprint:  30-60 m

Reactions and Standing Start

Relays:  Team Relays and change over in straight line

Hurdling:  30-40 cm high over 20-40 m

Lead leg & 3 strides



Various jumps

Landing on 2 feet

Scissors jump over obstacle

Approach run 5 (strides)

Overarm throw

Approach run and throw


Discus throw

(standing position)


Baton Changeover

Measure score

Analyse technique

Fifth and Sixth Class

Distance Running

30 sec – 5 min

Sprint:  50-70 m

Shuttle sprints 30 m

Reaction & Standing Start

Relays:  Standard relay race with baton changeover

Hurdling:  40-60 cm high over 40-60 m

Lead leg & trail leg 150 m over random hurdles


Various jumps

Standing jump

Approach run 3, 5, 7 strides

Scissors- technique over 50-60 cm hurdles

Javelin – standing

Javelin with approach run

Shot-putt with turn

Discus throw




Rules-throw line

Jump line





These natural movement activities should be developed into simple athletic activities and events.

The approaches and methodologies for PE, outlined in the PE ‘Teacher Guidelines’ on pages 42 -100 are an excellent reference for teachers in organising Athletics lessons.

Integration of Athletics with other subjects of the curriculum is outlined on p49

Use of station teaching in the Infant classroom in an Athletics lesson is outlined on p52

A unit of work in Athletics outlining a six week programme of work for fifth class is outlined on pp58-59


In addition the PSSI lessons on Athletics for all class levels are an excellent resource for teachers and outline a comprehensive programme of work specific to each class lesson incorporating a variety of approaches and methodologies across the class levels.


Please find attached further resources to support you in implementing Athletics

Stations: A sample of station teaching cards for Athletics for middle/senior classes, incorporating a ‘teaching station’. These stations could be completed towards the end of a unit of work in Athletics once children are familiar with the various activities

Advanced Athletics: This handout outlines tips for specific skills in Athletics, suitable for use in the middle and senior classes

Athletics an overview of strands and strategies for the organisation of classes: Outlines sample activities for the strand units of Athletics, including tips for adapting activities and classroom organisation.