PE & School Sport: The Annual Report 2022

This report outlines the issues facing young people and the current state of PE, sport and play in schools.

This report outlines the current state of PE, school sport and physical activity in England and the issues and challenges facing young people today.

There is a wealth of research and insight which informs our understanding of the importance of activity in children's lives and their engagement in PE and sport, with more being published every year. However, we need to do more to bring this evidence to public attention as a matter of urgency. The aim of this annual report is to build a true "state of the nation" picture for those working in this space, but also for parents and carers, policy makers and other public influencers who can become changemakers for sport and play.

In our new 2022 to 2035 strategy, 'Inspiring Changemakers, Building Belonging', we go into more detail about the challenges we're facing and how we plan to tackle them. We are committed to producing an annual state of the nation report which will track awareness and attitudes to physical activity, play and school sport over the next ten years.

What's the issue?

  • A quarter of year 6 pupils are classed as obese
  • 1 in 8 children are unhappy with their school lives, compared to 1 in 11 children ten years ago
  • Less than half of all children in the UK are meeting CMO guidelines for taking part in sport and physical activity
  • Children from poorer backgrounds are the least confident being active
  • The number of hours of PE taught in state secondary schools has fallen by 13% since 2011
  • There are 2,500 less PE teachers in England since 2011
  • 54% of children would like to do more exercise or sport than they are currently doing
  • Only 38% of parents know that young people should be active on average for 60 minutes every day - down from 48% last year.

Why PE, physical activity and school sport are so important

A young person who plays sport and is physically active on a regular basis will have better...

Physical Health

Including cardio-vascular fitness, a healthy weight, strength, co-ordination and energy.

Mental Wellbeing

Including happiness, resilience, ability to tackle anxiety and stress, and improved mood through release of 'feel good' endorphins.

Emotional and Social Wellbeing

Including feeling less lonely, more trusting, and improved communication and teamwork skills.

There is also growing evidence that being physically active improves the brain by stimulating the growth of neurones in the cerebral hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory). Young people's ability to concentrate has also been shown to improve after physical activity.

Be a part of the solution: National School Sport Week

For National School Sport Week 2022 we’re campaigning to ensure there is a place for every young person to belong in school sport. School sport should be an important part of every child’s education and development – every child should feel they have a place to belong.

But for too many children this isn’t happening. They are left feeling alienated by sport, that it isn’t for them and they don’t have a place within it. Join us in our mission to guarantee there is a role for every young person in a school sports day this summer. 

Click below to find out more.

Published on 26 May 2022