- Celebrities including Kimberly Wyatt and Leah Boleto join call to harness the power of sport to help young people to recover from the pandemic
- New research highlights the importance of empowering young people to lead sporting activities
Young people across the country are set to enjoy and lead a week of school sport days in a national celebration of the importance of school sport and PE.
National School Sport Week 2021 starts on Saturday 19 June. More than 1,600 schools will be holding a sports day this week, with scores of organisations and families also set to support and run activities. From disco domes and Euros-themed festivals to TikTok dance routines, pupils, teachers and families are finding ways to make the week their own.
Children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust is behind the campaign which this year has the theme Together Again to celebrate the importance of sport in bringing young people back together after a year in which so many have missed out. The charity has teamed up with the Together campaign ahead of its national Thank You Day on 4 July.
Many schools will be putting pupils in the driving seat and empowering them to lead their own activities.
It comes as new research published by the Youth Sport Trust today highlights how empowering young leaders holds the key to getting a generation of young people more active.
A new study of young people aged between 5 and 16, carried out by Foresight Factory on behalf of the Youth Sport Trust, has found that:
- A majority of young people want to do more sport and exercise (54% agreed with this now vs 44% who said the same in a study published in 2015).
- There has been a significant increase in young people who say they would play more sport if it was led by somebody their own age. 36% of young people agreed with this, compared with 23% who said the same in the 2015 study.
- Taking part in sport led by somebody their own age is particularly important for young disabled people, with 46% saying this would lead to them playing more.
The full findings of the research are due to be released over the summer as a follow-up to the Youth Sport Trust’s original Class of 2035 report, published in 2015.
Ali Oliver MBE, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:
“We’re thrilled that so many schools and partners are set to hold Together Again school sport days this National School Sport Week. This will be a real celebration of togetherness and the important, powerful role of sport in helping young people to recover from a year like no other.
“Sports days don’t have to be about being the best, strongest or quickest, they are a celebration of bringing us together and learning key skills like communication, empathy, teamwork and resilience.
“As our new research highlights, this is not just about getting young people taking part but also empowering them to lead and drive change. This is why it has been so good to see many participating schools giving pupils the opportunity to create and lead their own activities.
“Harnessing the important role of sport and activity to support the nation’s recovery from the pandemic will be a long-term challenge, but the activities taking place throughout this National School Sport Week will be an inspiring celebration of what is possible.”
Alice Braybrook, Director of Together, said:
“The theme of National School Sport Week this year aligns perfectly with our ambition to create kinder, closer and more connected communities. What better way to achieve this in the build up to National Thank You Day on 4th July than through using the power of sport and play to reconnect.”
June Fletcher, PE teacher at Stroud High School, said:
“The physical and mental benefits that sport has brought throughout this difficult time in the world is phenomenal. It’s why Physical Education is prioritised at our school as an essential part of our broad and balanced curriculum and extensive extra-curricular programmes. On the Youth Sport Trust’s National School Sport Week, we want to shine a spotlight on PE and school sport and ensure our pupils have an amazing experience on this important week.”
Lipa Nessa, Youth Sport Trust youth board member, said:
“We want to enthuse other young people like us to create change. National School Sport Week is a way for us all to be involved in celebrating the power of sport.”
Activities happening during the week include:
Pause to Play Monday: Supporters including Kimberly Wyatt and Leah Boleto are asking young people to Pause to Play on Monday 21 June at 9.30am. They are joining the charity in encouraging young people and schools to connect in person again, switch off devices and pause lessons for some play. Pussycat Doll Kimberly, has developed a unique TikTok dance routine for the Youth Sport Trust to inspire children. Leah is visiting a school in Hertfordshire to support young people-led sports day activities.
FA football festival Tuesday: On the day that two of the home nations have group games in Euro 2020, the Youth Sport Trust is holding a football festival with the support of The FA to accelerate equal access to the game in schools. The charity will visit a London school to inspire young people to take part.
International Olympic Day Wednesday: In partnership with Purplebricks, schools will be celebrating the inspiration of Olympic athletes in engaging young people in sport.
Thank You Day: National School Sport Week has partnered with the Together campaign. To round off the week, schools and partners will be getting their ‘thank yous’ ready ahead of the national Thank You Day on 4 July.
For more information and to sign up to take part in this summer’s National School Sport Week go to: www.youthsporttrust.org/national-school-sport-week.
Research methodology note
Foresight Factory conducted a bespoke survey in November 2020 on behalf of the Youth Sport Trust, in order to provide insight into the ‘Class of 2021’. This research was conducted online with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 children aged 5-16. The full findings will be published in summer 2021.