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Bleep Tests

Schools told to be cautious with fitness ‘Bleep Tests’ of pupils in PE class

December 8, 2022

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The Department of Education has advised schools against the traditional ‘Bleep Test’ in their new guidance. The DfE has expressed concern as it pushes students to the point of exhaustion in a way that discourages pupils with lower fitness levels.

The fitness test is designed to measure areas such as cardiorespiratory endurance, reaction time or speed. The key concern is that the maximal aerobic tests consist of continuous running. This test of exhaustion is limited by the basic premise of discovering the fastest or strongest when overall fitness levels would be a more inclusive indicator.

The guidance also states the existence of other more accessible fitness testing options. These include the Sit and Reach (SAR), which assesses flexibility and the Standing Board Jump (SBJ), which assesses lower limb power.

The department has focussed on post-primary schools, looking specifically at “the use of whole-class physical fitness testing to assess who is the fastest or strongest etc.”. The aim is to prevent demotivating pupils who have lower physical fitness levels.

The guidance adds:

“It is important to remember that a physical education class is, first and foremost, an educational setting. It is not limited to testing students in the belief that this testing will somehow make them physically fitter.”


To find out more about this guidance, see here.

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