New findings highlight importance of PE and school sport in supporting the wellbeing of young people

New research released this week by the Children's Society showing English children are among the unhappiest in the world at school makes for 'worrying reading'.
The Youth Sport Trust responds to State of Child Health report

New research released this week by the Children's Society showing English children are among the unhappiest in the world at school makes for 'worrying reading' according to the Youth Sport Trust (YST) Chief Executive, Ali Oliver.

The report also adds further weight to the YST's strong belief that greater focus is needed on supporting the wellbeing of young people as they progress through school and the vital role that physical activity, high quality physical education and school sport can have to support that. Youth Sport Trust is the national charity that is building a brighter future for young people through PE and sport.

The findings, which are outlined in the Children's Society's annual Good Childhood report, paint an alarming picture of children's experiences at school in England, and their wider sense of wellbeing.

An estimated half a million 10 and 12-year-olds are physically bullied at school. The study also reveals that children in England are particularly unhappy about their appearance. Girls came bottom in terms of their satisfaction with their appearance and self-confidence compared with girls elsewhere (with the exception of South Korea).

This international survey reinforces just how important the mission of the Youth Sport Trust is to build a brighter future for young people through PE and school sport.

The YST's extensive research illustrates the significant impact PE, school sport and physical activity has on enhancing emotional wellbeing, an essential ingredient for success in the classroom and in life. With declining wellbeing, this is a priority area for the charity.

A key success for the YST has been its Girls Active programme - which has helped tackle the negative attitude that girls have towards their body image. A pilot of initiative saw the number of girls who are happy with the way their body looks more than double from 25% to 56% and the percentage of girls that felt positive about school rise from 24% to 78%. In addition, the percentage of girls that felt positive about school rose from 24% to 78%. This demonstrates the power of PE and sport to improve wellbeing and this is the message that we must continue to spread in order to help tackle this wellbeing crisis amongst young people.

Its Class of 2035 Report launched in June this year presented both worrying and optimistic outlooks for future generations. It highlighted the importance of embracing technology in a positive way and explored an innovative 'new' approach to PE whereby the subject delivers emotional and social literacy as well as physical. Like the Good Childhood report, the Class of 2035 survey highlighted a worrying decline in children's wellbeing but it also told us that, by taking action now, we can help ensure a generation which is 'fit-for-purpose'.

That is why it is now more important than ever to champion the vital role of PE, school sport and physical activity to enhance physical health, boost mental wellbeing, build resilience, lift academic achievement and create active habits for life. It is a view supported by the Department for Education (DFE) and Public Health England (PHE) with both having produced guidance for school leaders on the value of promoting physical activity and wellbeing in  order to support achievement and attainment.

Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver said: "The Children's Society report makes for worrying reading and sadly reinforces our concerns about the fragile state of wellbeing that many young people face.

"We tirelessly promote how PE, school  sport and physical activity makes a unique contribution to pupils' wellbeing and is the most powerful subject in terms of its impact on both physical and emotional health.

"We are already seeing the impact of new approaches to the delivery of PE and school sport through our network of Health & Wellbeing Schools and we are advocating that PE teachers, with appropriate support and training, can make a real difference to young people's achievement elsewhere in school life."

"The Youth Sport Trust is demonstrating real commitment in this area. Last month, we launched the PE2020 Active Healthy Minds programme to improve the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of young people aged 11 to 18 across Northamptonshire. Working alongside Northamptonshire County Council and in partnership with Northamptonshire Sport, the programme will see all secondary PE departments introduce a new approach to the teaching of PE which delivers explicit health, wellbeing and achievement outcomes."

Latest news

Elite athletes and parents supported with wellbeing through new initiative

A new partnership which sees 11 national governing bodies of sport work with a national children’s sports charity will help educate up and coming young athletes in the rigours of performance sport, protecting their mental health and wellbeing.
Continue Reading

YST joins #21by21 campaign

The campaign, led by the Sport for Development Coalition and key partners, is aimed at encouraging 21,000 sports coaches and volunteers to become trained in mental health awareness by the year 2021. The Youth Sport Trust is proud to joing the campaign and support future generations of young people.
Continue Reading

Charity urges PM to make PE and sport first order of business

As Boris Johnson is announced as the next PM, children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust has reiterated its calls for tackling inactivity to be a national priority. The charity said there is a need for a long-term, joined-up plan to tackle this national crisis and it is encouraging that the new Prime Minister has committed to this being a key pillar of his programme for government.
Continue Reading

Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson pledge to tackle inactivity

During YST National School Sport Week 2019, YST along with almost 100 partners wrote a joint letter to the two Conservative Party leadership candidates, urging them to commit to tackling the decline in young people's wellbeing and make it a priority to ensure every child enjoys at least 60 active minutes every day. These are their responses.
Continue Reading

Sport sector responds to Government's School Sport and Activity Action Plan

Leading sports bodies and charities respond to Government's School Sport and Activity Action Plan.
Continue Reading

Football camp inspires next generation of female coaches

England legend Faye White says it is vital to give girls the confidence and knowledge they need to inspire others and this camp helps girls to develop both coaching and refereeing knowledge.
Continue Reading
More News