Girls ActiveYST Girls Active
Throughout our history the Youth Sport Trust has sought to find ways to ensure that physical education (PE), sport and physical activity are relevant and motivating for girls. We are currently focused on helping schools understand what motivates girls to take part, enabling teacher to work with girls – through consultation and leadership – to make the necessary changes to their PE, sport and physical activity provision. In Scotland we partner with Sport Scotland to achieve this through Fit for Girls, whilst in other nations we use Youth Sport Trust Girls Active.
The award winning Girls Active was created on the back of a 12 month action research project conducted by the Youth Sport Trust, and is supported by Women in Sport. We currently deliver Girls Active to support thousands of girls across England and Northern Ireland, funded in England by Sport England (with alignment to This Girl Can) and a number of local partners, and in Northern Ireland by Sport NI.
There are six key principles that underpin effective practice in engaging girls in PE, sport and physical activity. These have positive relationships at their core and should be supported by whole school policies and practice.
- Take a long-term approaching to engaging girls
- Put developing self-confidence at the heart of PE
- Make PE and sport relevant to girls' lives
- Recognise the power of friends to drive progress
- Develop role models for the future
- Empower girls to design and deliver PE and sport.
Research shows that:
- By age 7 girls are already less active than boys and this disparity widens as they move from childhood into adolescence
- Secondary-age girls are more likely to experience barriers to participation than boys
- The biggest drop-off occurs during the transition from primary to secondary school, with disruption to friendship groups and declining body confidence affecting girls’ participation in PE and sport.
In order to address this alarming reality, in 2013 we developed Girls Active as the result of our work with 20 secondary schools through a 12-month pilot aimed at tackling the negative attitudes that girls have towards their body image, improve their attitude towards PE, sport and physical activity, and to work with schools to make sport more relevant to girls' lives.
Girls Active begins with a one-day teacher training workshop for two staff and includes the following support:
- An individual school insight report on girls’ participation and perceptions of PE, sport and physical activity in your school
- Self-review framework and action plan tools
- Inspirational hard copy and electronic resources for teachers and girls
- Seed funding and ongoing support (subject to funder).
Over 600 schools now part of the Girls Active network. This now includes primary schools who, through Girls Active: Stepping up for Change, work together with secondary schools to support girls’ experiences as they transition from primary to secondary.