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Girls Active

We recognise that girls’ needs differ and change as they mature and that girls themselves are uniquely positioned to ‘sell’ PE, sport and physical activity to other girls.


The Youth Sport Trust has always sought to find ways to ensure that Physical Education (PE), sport and physical activity are relevant, motivating and accessible for girls. The Girls Active programme helps schools understand what motivates girls to take part, enabling teachers to work with girls through consultation and leadership to make the necessary changes to their PE, sport and physical activity provision to engage all girls in ways that appeal to them.

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 realty, in 2013 we developed Girls Active as a result of a 2-year research and innovation project that included a 12-month pilot with 20 schools. We aimed to tackle 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 PE and sport more relevant to girls lives. Girls Active was developed by the Youth Sport Trust and is supported by Women in Sport and This Girl Can. In England it is funded by National Lottery funding from Sport England and Sport Wales in Wales. In Scotland we partner with Sport Scotland to achieve these aims through Fit for Girls.

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.
  1. Take a long-term approach to engaging girls
  2. Put developing self-confidence at the heart of PE
  3. Make PE and sport relevant to girls lives
  4. Recognise the power of friends to drive progress
  5. Develop role models for the future
  6. Empower girls to design and deliver PE and sport

Through the Girls Active programmes we provide insight surveys, resources, professional development for teachers, leadership support for girls and funding (subject to funder).

Girls Active Survey

We are pleased to be able to provide an opportunity for schools in England to participate in the Girls Active Survey. The Youth Sport Trust’s Girls Active Survey supports schools to gain student insight through an online survey to understand the participation levels, attitudes, motivations and barriers to participation. Each school will receive a School Insight Report based on the collated responses of students in your school.  The School Insight Report will provide a similar format to the National Girls Active survey.

If you are interested in registering your school to take part in the survey, please follow this link: https://www.youthsporttrust.org/girls-active-survey.