Girls Active recognises that girls' needs differ and change as they mature and that girls themselves are uniquely positioned to 'sell' PE and sport to other girls. Girls Active offers a simple flexible action planning framework to help teachers and girls work together to address their particular issues. It is based on the Youth Sport Trust-developed principles of student engagement, such as student voice and leadership, alongside innovative approaches to marketing.
Why do we need to get girls active?
Engaging and retaining girls in physical activity is a challenge and something that the Youth Sport Trust has been committed to for over 10 years. The 2010 PE and School Sport Survey of schools in England showed an alarming drop in participation as girls become teenagers: only 15 per cent of girls aged 17-18 took part in at least three hours of PE and school sport each week compared to 68 per cent of girls aged 10-11. The recent Health Survey shows that by age 14, just over 10 per cent of girls achieve the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
Youth Sport Trust pilot study
We have worked with schools on a 12-month pilot aimed to tackle the negative attitude that girls have towards their body image, improve their attitude towards PE, and to work with schools to make sport more relevant to girls' lives.
Key findings from the pilot include:
- Girls who are happy with the way their body looks more than doubled from 25% to 56%
- Girls feeling very unhappy about the way their bodies look reduced by more than half from 37% to 16%
- The number of girls who look forward to their PE lessons has nearly doubled - from 38% to 71%
- The percentage of girls that felt positive about school rose from 24% to 78%
- 73% 'like the way they feel' after physical activity compared with 41% previously
- The percentage of girls who 'look forward' to extracurricular sport has risen from 35% to 66%
Twenty schools across the country were involved in the pilot where teachers and female pupils worked closely to establish an understanding as to what motivates them to take part in PE and sport; developing an action plan based on their feedback on how it should be delivered.
In addition, some of the girls became role models within school, setting up leadership groups which focused on how they could make PE and physical activity more appealing.
How can my school get involved?
We are inviting all schools to get involved in the programme:
- Schools can access a self-review to benchmark their work with girls.
- Agree three actions to help drive a difference for girls and submit your pledges.
- Youth Sport Trust will approve your pledges and give you access to the Girls Active brand. In Autumn you will also be sent some additional guidance to support your work with girls.