Promoting healthy and active lifestyles

YST Promoting healthy and active lifestyles
YST delivers high-quality and inclusive competitive sport to young people in 20,851 schools through the School Games, while our Hub Schools provide a nontraditional sporting offer tailored to targeted groups of young people disengaged from sport and physical activity.

Network: Hub Schools

The project is part of a portfolio of work funded by Sport England working with young people through schools and it measures success through impact on aspirations, participation and achievement. Hub schools specialise in themes including: Discipline and Self Control; Wind and Wave Sport; Extreme/Park Sport; Outdoor Adventure; Wheelchair Sport and Team Sport.


  • 6,433 young people were engaged through 54 Hub Schools - 22% of them had special educational needs and disabilities, 12% were from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background
  • 88% have tried a new sport or activity as a result of the programme
  • 80% say they now took part in sport and activity clubs outside school.

Network: Lead Schools - Active in Health

We worked with 25 of our Lead Schools to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour among inactive 11 and 12-year-olds. Innovative sport and physical opportunities tailored to the young people were coordinated and supported by Healthy Lifestyle Coaches (non-teaching staff such as coaches, apprentices and sports technicians) and pupils who became Healthy Lifestyle Champions.


  • 71% of young people were doing at least 30 minutes coaching or delivering sport or physical activity inside school on a weekly basis as a direct result of the programme. Almost 21% were delivering at least three hours
  • 50%+ Over half of Healthy Lifestyle Champions felt that their confidence (53%) and communication skills (51%) had increased.

Programme: School Games

A government-led programme funded by the National Lottery through Sport England. We co-ordinate a national network of 450 School Games Organisers (SGOs) and Local Organising Committees (LOCs) which work alongside National Governing Bodies of Sport to create an annual calendar of intra and inter-school competition.


  • 4.2 million participation opportunities were provided for young people to take part in competitive school sport, from major county-level events to smaller competitions between and within schools
  • 9,326 schools submitted an application for the School Games Mark - the awards scheme which rewards schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community. It allows schools to evaluate their PE provision and assists them in developing an action plan for future progress
  • 394,228 participation opportunities were provided for young people with special educational needs and disabilities
  • 9,956 schools were supported through the Inclusive Health Check to self-review how inclusive their School Games provision is. The free resource, designed in partnership with Activity Alliance, provides schools with a personalised action plan and top tips to improve.

Case study: Sport outside school

In Nottinghamshire, SGOs Nicola Biggs, Simon Mitchell and Michala Swales formed a partnership with the Forestry Commission to encourage young people to use their natural environment to be active. They held a Change4Life Summer Fest at Sherwood Pines with schools invited to send children who didn’t usually take part in sports competitions. Activities were tailored to suit young people’s motivation and confidence including Zumba, orienteering and shelter building. Its success led to further events with a wide variety of competitions now being held in partnership with the Forestry Commission targeted at groups of young people who would previously have had little engagement in competitive sport.

Event: School Games National Finals

The 2018 School Games National Finals, a four-day multi-sport event for the UK’s elite young school-age athletes, was staged by YST on the campus of Loughborough University. More than 1,000 young athletes competed across 11 sports, following in the footsteps of an illustrious School Games alumni which includes the likes of Dina Asher-Smith, Jonnie Peacock and Hannah Cockroft. The event is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England.

YST curates the Athlete Education Programme, where young competitors get to learn from athlete mentors about their experiences and take part in workshops to help prepare them for future sporting success.

Participant breakdown...

  • 56% were female
  • 13% were disabled
  • 11% were from BAME backgrounds
  • 89% attended an Athlete Education Programme workshops. 

Case study: Volunteering

YST opens up opportunities for hundreds of young volunteers to get involved in helping to run the School Games National Finals.

14-year-old Cameron Hanna volunteered at the 2018 event and credits sport with making him more confident and supporting his mental health.

He said: “I’m usually quite shy but the thing that stood out for me at the School Games is the fact that people have really come out of their ‘anti-social’ shell. People will come over to you and start a conversation and encourage you to speak. It’s good, it really is, there’s something for everyone here no matter what background you come from.”

Our Impact

The following findings were presented as part of our 2018 Impact Report - published in February 2019. A full version of the report is available for download on this page.
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Improving mental and physical wellbeing

Tackling the decline in young people’s wellbeing through sport and play is central to our Believing in Every Child’s Future strategy.
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Developing life skills

Our work uses the power of sport and play to help young people develop attributes like teamwork and resilience, leadership and communication skills which will help them to thrive in other areas of their lives.
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Boosting levels of attainment and achievement

Research shows a positive association between participation in physical activity and young people’s academic performance - as discussed during Professor John Ratey's keynote speech at the YST 2018 Annual Conference.
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Building connections between young people

Evaluation of our work shows that giving young people the opportunity to take part in sport can help provide a sense of belonging and the opportunity to make new friends.
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Enhancing support networks

Families, teachers, coaches, friends and peers all have a signifcant part to play in giving a young person the best start in life. A huge focus of our work is on enhancing these support networks to give them the best opportunity to make a positive impact on young people’s lives.
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