The framework of Girls Active has six key principles that underpin effective practice in engaging girls to be physically active. 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.
Evidence of Need
By age 7, girls are already less active than boys and this disparity widens as they move from childhood into adolescence. Adolescent girls are more likely to experience barriers to participation than boys with the biggest drop-off occurring during the transition from primary to secondary school.
At this time there are multiple factors that affect girls’ participation including disruption to friendship groups, the onset of puberty and declining body confidence and the increasing need to ‘fit in’ and be accepted amongst their peers.
Did you know?
Impact to Date
Girls Active has been delivered in over one-thousand primary and secondary schools since 2015 and has proven effective at increasing girls’ engagement, enjoyment and participation in PE, school sport and physical activity.
Through addressing the barriers experienced, the programme helps girls feel more confident and motivated to participate. Girls undertaking leadership roles in the programme see even greater improvements across a range of measures.
Wider benefits are also seen, such as engagement at school and preparedness for the future.
I have learnt that being a female role-model can influence other females to have faith and believe in themselves. It really doesn't matter the shape or size of anyone's body, everyone is equal and can do the same things as others can do.
Engagement with PE and sport
- 97% of leaders and 58% of participants feel more confident to take part in sport and physical activity
- 90% of leaders and 61% of participants reported increased enjoyment of taking part in sport and physical activity
- 89% of leaders and 62% of participants feel more motivated to take part in sport and physical activity.
Perception and body image
- 68% of leaders and 51% of participants feel more confident about what their body can do
- 71% of leaders and 50% of participants feel more able to be themselves while being active
- 82% of leaders and 55% of participants have an improved perception of how good they are at sport and physical activity.
How PE and sport makes girls feel
- 79% of leaders and 55% of participants said the way they feel when taking part in sport and physical activity has improved
- 79% of leaders and 47% of participants feel happier
- 82% of leaders and 62% of participants feel more resilient.
- 79% of leaders and 54% of participants feel more engaged at school
- 79% of leaders and 40% of participants agreed that Girls Active has helped them feel more ready for the future.
Data from schools engaged in Girls Active programme gathered through an independent evaluation of Girls Active undertaken by Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, July 2023.
Above all, the girls now recognise that their voice is valued and that we have their needs and interests at our heart. Where once they were reluctantly ‘compliant’ in PE, now they are taking an active interest in its delivery and enthused about what they want to do.