Enhancing support networks

YST Enhancing support networks
Families, teachers, coaches, friends and peers all have a signifcant part to play in giving a young person the best start in life. A huge focus of our work is on enhancing these support networks to give them the best opportunity to make a positive impact on young people’s lives.

Where these networks fail, children’s wellbeing can suffer. Among children with low wellbeing, 28% never or hardly ever talk to their family about things that matter to them.

We know that a good quality physical education improves young people’s wellbeing, but almost one in three primary school teachers don’t feel comfortable teaching PE.

What we’re doing…

  • Across all of our programmes in 2017/18 we provided high quality continuous professional development training to 22,095 teachers – supporting them to make PE and sport more inclusive, accessible and fun
  • We supported our nationwide network of 450 School Game Organisers to engage 20,851 schools in the School Games
  • Our 200-strong Learning Academy network spent 2,495 days in schools delivering our support, training and events to teachers and young people.

Event: Girls Active Coaches Camp

At the inaugural Girls Active Coaches Camp in 2018, 100 girls aged 16 to 18 attended workshops with female role models including tennis coach Judy Murray. They learned about how to support other girls to use the power of their voice, celebrate one another’s talents, and engage their least active peers.

The event is part of a portfolio of work funded by Sport England working with young people through schools. It was delivered by the YST, in partnership with This Girl Can, Loughborough University, Women in Sport, with funding from Sport England National Lottery. It was also supported by a host of National Governing Bodies.


  • 85% reported having a better understanding of what their strengths and weaknesses were as a coach as a result of the programme
  • 79% felt more confident in delivering physical activity sessions as a coach
  • 85% indicated that they intend to continue their role as a coach throughout their time in education and 62% stated they intend to continue their role as a coach throughout adulthood.

Emma Atkins, Director of Coaching at UK Coaching, said: "Projects such as this help to address the gender balance across the whole of the coaching community and ensure we have a diverse workforce that can meet the needs of a wide range of participants, to provide them with the best possible experience in sport and physical activity."

Network: Lead Schools

Our lead school network is a national movement of schools which drives improvement and supports other schools to adopt new ways of working. We work across three specialist areas: Inclusion, LCV (Leadership, Volunteering & Coaching) and Health & Wellbeing. These schools create and deliver innovative solutions and support other schools to use the power of sport, PE and physical activity to tackle challenges in their areas.

Rachel Grimwood, Headteacher of Durham Trinity School and Sports College, said: "Our role as a Lead Inclusion School is such an important one in the local authority, supporting schools and pupils who have special educational needs and lack in opportunities to compete or engage in any sort of meaningful sport.”

Programme: Ready Set Ride

This programme is run in 204 schools by the YST on behalf of HSBC UK and British Cycling with the aim of ensuring that every child in the UK is given the opportunity to learn to ride a bike. It supports teachers and provides resources to parents to help improve their confidence and knowledge in teaching children to cycle. Research ahead of the pilot found that 43% of teachers lacked the skills and confidence to teach cycling.

Schools are engaging parents by sending letters home, inviting them in to attend sessions, signposting to the Ready Set Ride web link and promoting Ready Set Ride on their own websites, social media and in newsletters.


  • 83% of teachers say Ready Set Ride has increased their knowledge and skills supporting children to cycle. 80% said it had improved their confidence
  • 76% say that they are now more motivated to sustain children’s cycling activities
  • 82% of schools report that Ready Set Ride has added value to their PE provision
  • 54% say it has increased their community links.

Case study: Liane Kelly - Reception Teacher, Manor Lodge Primary School, Sheffield

"As one of the 43% who was not confident in how to teach children to cycle, it was something I desperately wanted to change.  The skills and experiences children develop while learning to cycle can be hugely beneficial and we are already seeing a positive impact on our pupils’ focus, concentration and behaviour in the classroom.

"Many children do not get the opportunity to learn to ride a bike at home and I feel we can support parents with this.

"Taking part in the activities has improved participation in physical activity and inspired children to become more active outside of school. We have seen groups of children start to cycle to and from school and hopefully, we have enthused children about cycling for life."

Our Impact

The following findings were presented as part of our 2018 Impact Report - published in February 2019. A full version of the report is available for download on this page.
Continue Reading

Improving mental and physical wellbeing

Tackling the decline in young people’s wellbeing through sport and play is central to our Believing in Every Child’s Future strategy.
Continue Reading

Promoting healthy and active lifestyles

YST delivers high-quality and inclusive competitive sport to young people in 20,851 schools through the School Games, while our Hub Schools provide a nontraditional sporting offer tailored to targeted groups of young people disengaged from sport and physical activity.
Continue Reading

Developing life skills

Our work uses the power of sport and play to help young people develop attributes like teamwork and resilience, leadership and communication skills which will help them to thrive in other areas of their lives.
Continue Reading

Boosting levels of attainment and achievement

Research shows a positive association between participation in physical activity and young people’s academic performance - as discussed during Professor John Ratey's keynote speech at the YST 2018 Annual Conference.
Continue Reading

Building connections between young people

Evaluation of our work shows that giving young people the opportunity to take part in sport can help provide a sense of belonging and the opportunity to make new friends.
Continue Reading