How to run a GCSE skiing video session

Written by Wayne Naylor – BASI member & maestro di sci at the Scuola Italiana Sci Folgarida Dimaro

The demonstration video and resources associated with this article can be found here.


It is not possible, at GCSE level, to take any qualifications in Snow Sports, although students may elect to use their, non-academic, alpine skills as one of the performance modules GCSE in Physical Education.

Following a Department for Education (DfE) consultation in 2015 (Ofqual/15/5733), the GCSE PE was changed so that “students must be assessed in the role of player/performer in three different sports or activities drawn from the list published by DfE”:  Each elective sport (see link below) gives up to 10% of the total marks.

DfE envisioned that the majority of sports would be marked by the examination board at the school during the performance e.g. a rugby match or squash tournament.  However there is also a provision (Ofqual/15/5628) that “For the limited range of sports where live moderation is not possible, exam boards must require schools to obtain video evidence to support their marks”.

BASI members’ involvement in the process…

Our primary task is to provide a safe environment, conducive to allowing a student to perform to the best of their ability.  In addition, even though we do not have any official role in marking a student’s performance, some schools may ask for a grading report (see link below). If you choose to provide this service it is VITAL your grading conforms to the published standards. You MUST be fully aware of the criteria before agreeing to take on any marking role.

Why employ a ski instructor when a school teacher will do it for free?

If a student doesn’t understand what is being asked of them they will never be able to fully participate in an examination process and this, to put it bluntly, is simply unfair.  It wouldn’t happen in a History, Physics or Geography exam, so why should students opting for a GCSE in PE be treated differently?

Other than the 6,000+ BASI members, who are assessed in their ability to run just these types of activities, it is unlikely that any other large group will actually understand the criteria, be able to explain it and, if necessary, demonstrate it.

Of course some teachers are able to run these sessions themselves.  However even for extremely basic tasks such as explaining / demonstrating accurate side slipping or skate turns, the numbers will be very small. When it comes to a good line in a slalom or the development stages from plough to parallel, etc, there are virtually none available.

The result is that in reality only a qualified ski instructor can run the GCSE PE skiing session in the manner in which DfE intended.  Also as all boards require that videoing takes place on a Red or Black run, in most European countries a teacher cannot legally run the session due to the regulated nature of working professionally with pupils “on-slope”.

All links, videos and documents referred to in this article can be found at

Designing a GCSE session

The rules (GCSE9.1) state that each board should assess similar skills. However as each board sets its own criteria (see link below), some of which are extremely detailed, others less so, none meet this requirement.

In the UK there are a number of education boards, e.g.

Board GCSE Level (C to A*)
England – EdExcel, AQA, OCR OfQual Level 2
Northern Ireland – CCEA NVQ Level 4
Wales – WJEC CQFW Level 2
Scotland – SQA SCQF Level 5

Note from 2018/19 C to A* become grades 4 to 9

It is the lack of a common theme which is a problem for BASI instructors when planning a GCSE videoing session.

Normally the teacher / group leader will have a list of tasks for the group.  However if they don’t, a videoing session run in the sequence shown below will provide both a natural progression, which puts the student at ease, and covers each board’s criteria. The session, including the slalom, can be completed easily with up to 8 students in a standard two hour private lesson: provided you have access to a slalom course.

This sequence does not alter the assessment criteria. It must be remembered that this is simply a videoing session and, regardless of any report you may provide, not the assessment, which is (or should be) done by the school and education board.


Tasks (Where applicable tasks should display rhythmic turns in varying arcs/corridors)
1 Handling of skis (carrying, putting on and taking off) X X
2 Sliding on flat slope maintaining balance and speed X X X
3 Standing after a fall. X X X
4 Side step up / herring bone. X X
5 Use chair / drag lift. X X X
6 Snowplough descent with plough stop & terrain stop X X X
7 Parallel traverse – both directions. X X
8 Stop with plough + skid + parallel in specified area. X X X X X
10 Show development from plough to parallel. X
11 Linked Parallel descent controlling speed with varying turn radius and skid. X X X X X
12 Terrain jumps with leg flexion and extension X
13 Controlled side slipping X
14 Schussing X
15 Skate turns X
Slalom (choose one)
16 Competitive timed slalom X X X
16 2 Timed slalom runs X
16 A Slalom run X
  SQA allows individual schools / centres to design their own assessment criteria within the guidelines.

Some boards e.g. EdExcel, require students to perform only a few task from the their list

Confusingly all boards state that the video should be made on a Red or Black run, however they also allow it to be created in a UK snow-dome, none of which are red or black gradient.

For an example of, GCSE level, Performance Indicators and a sample Session Report see link below.

  • Cons
    • This sequence will satisfy each board’s criteria but it could also be viewed as over the top and unfair as it includes non required tasks. For example EdExcel students only need to complete four of the tasks plus the slalom, terrain jumps are only required by CCEA, etc.
  • Pros
    • All skiers use chair lifts so, even though it is only required by two boards, why not include it? The same could be said for standing up after a fall: everyone falls over, so why not include this as well?
    • Apart from beginners, who wouldn’t be taking the GCSE in skiing, there is nothing in the sequence which students don’t already do on a school ski trip, to some proficiency or other.
    • Due to a natural progression the sequence creates (hopefully) a relaxed session.

All links and documents referred to in this article can be found at

 The video

The only reason for running these sessions is to produce video evidence of a student’s skiing ability which will may be marked / moderated at a later stage.  The video must be of sufficient quality to allow this and (vitally) in the correct format.  For a sample of a GCSE/PE ski video with notes on content, production, format, etc. see link below.

How to run the session

In any assessment situation normal levels of pre-exam nerves can have a positive effect.  Of course the reverse is also true where emotional distress may have a direct negative effect on the videoed performance.  Whether you use the sequence shown above or take the tasks from a list supplied by the teacher, to reduce anxiety you should:

·        Ensure the piste is appropriate to skiing level

·        Offer positive constructive feedback

·        Maintain a relaxed and professional manner

·        Ensure the student is familiar with the requirements

·        Follow a set (pre-discussed) sequence of tasks

·        Give second (or even third, fourth, etc.) chances


These elements combined will provide an environment in which a student may/should perform to the best of their ability.

All links and documents referred to in this article can be found at