Unlocking potential

YST Unlocking potential
Unlock sport's potential at every stage of a child's life, especially where they face inequality or disadvantage.

We will work to close the gaps created by inequality and disadvantage, particularly at key transitional moments in a young person’s life like starting or changing school and preparing for employment.

Too many children start their education without the basic skills required to begin learning, while large numbers are leaving education unready for work. This is most likely to apply to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Did you know?

  • Around 50% of UK businesses feel schools and colleges are not equipping all young people with skills they need to succeed including resilience, communication and analysis
  • 83% of school leaders say there is an issue with school readiness. Children are arriving at primary schools under-developed in self-care, communication , emotional and physical skills.

Physical activity is key to getting children ready to learn. It supports the healthy development of brain function and cognition, social and emotional behaviour, speech and physical development. Sport also has the power to build skills and character traits which employers value,

helping young people succeed at a time when youth unemployment is high and businesses are concerned about school leavers’ resilience, skills and attitudes.

We will work to maximise the power of sport beyond the playing field — tackling disadvantage and helping people secure better jobs and brighter futures.


  • Work with early year settings to advance school readiness
  • Work with alternative provision settings and partners to develop interventions that raise the life aspirations of vulnerable young people
  • Test and apply an outcome focussed blueprint to successfully deliver targeted support to the young people most in need.

What we’ve done so far:

  • Through the Empowering Girls programme we’re tackling disadvantage among vulnerable girls and young women between the ages of 11 and 15. It is being delivered in partnership with Twenty Twenty and funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) through government’s Tampon Tax fund
  • In West Somerset, we are bringing parents and early years teachers together to help them use play to develop pre-school children’s communication skills and school-readiness, addressing the country’s lowest ranking district for social mobility
  • Through our Find Your Tribe innovation project, we have worked to ensure girls with autism are given a voice when it comes to sport and PE, bringing them together in a safe and empowering environment
  • We’ve worked with the likes of Pret a Manger, John Lyon’s Charity, Sport England and Leeds Beckett University to tackle issues around mental health difficulties for young people in a variety of different settings, focusing on resilience, stress management and emotional wellbeing.

Read more about our impact in our 2018/19 Impact Report, published in January 2020.

To read our full strategy please click here or click below to look at another objective. 

Our Strategy

In 2018 we launched our new four-year strategy, focusing on six objectives. At the heart of these objectives is a goal to tackle the alarming decline in young people's wellbeing.
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Transforming physical education

Transform PE's place in the curriculum, putting it at the centre of wellbeing and achievement in education.
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Removing barriers to sport

Harness global best practice to ensure youth sport in the UK is inclusive, accessible and fun.
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Empowering activism

Empower young people through sport to become local activists, tackling the issues of their generation.
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Championing insight

Champion the impact of physical activity, PE and sport through research and insight.
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Strengthening foundations

Strengthen our foundations to ensure we can sustain our mission.
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