Generation of young people being deprived of vital play time

'It is likely to be no coincidence that this decline in play time and PE comes at a time when schools are warning of a growing mental health crisis'

New research published today shows that school break times have been getting shorter over the past two decades, with teachers trying to pack more lessons into the day.

Responding to the findings, Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver, said:

A generation of young people are being deprived of the lifelong benefits that come from being physically active. This worrying and short-sighted trend of cuts to break times comes in addition to large numbers of schools reducing curriculum time for pupils’ Physical Education. Our own research found that two in five secondary schools had recently cut the amount of PE on the timetable. This has been the damaging impact of budget pressures and school accountability being too heavily focused on exam results.

“By reducing time for play, young people are being denied opportunities to connect and develop essential life skills. There is also a growing body of research which shows that being active helps the brain to concentrate and learn.

“It is likely to be no coincidence that this decline in play time and PE comes at a time when schools are warning of a growing mental health crisis.

“The development of young people’s physical literacy and provision of opportunities to enjoy sport, play and physical activity should be an essential part of every good education. This is why a transformed Physical Education must be put on a par with Maths and English in the curriculum.”

The Youth Sport Trust's National School Sport Week will take place this summer (24 to 28 June) placing a focus on the power of Physical Education and school sport to improve young people’s wellbeing. Find out more or sign up via

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