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.
- Take a long-term approach to engaging girls
- Put developing self-confidence at the heart of PE
- Make PE and sport relevant to girls lives
- Recognise the power of friends to drive progress
- Develop role models for the future
- 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).
Meet the Girls!
Our Girls Active leaders are:
When I was younger I did Dance and gymnastics, but now I swim every week,bike two miles and back every day , play tennis most weekends and I am active most play times and at the weekend. I think it is quite important that girls are more active because most girls as they start to get older stop being as active as they used to do and start talking instead of running around playing games as most boys run around playing football most of the time . Being active is also good for your mental well-being so it is important for everyone to be active.
Hi, my name is Zoe and I am 9. I really enjoy sports and my favourite game is Octopus. I like to think of myself as funny (or slightly weird!) but I am always kind. My favourite thing to do is horse riding. I love getting outside, playing with my cat (called Whiskey) lying in the sun and chasing ponies around the field with a lead rope.
Hi I'm Kitty and I'm 10 years old. I've always like to do sports and my favourite sports are basketball and hockey. My favourite thing to do is horse riding because I really enjoy it and I like to pet the animals. I think it is important to encourage girls to be active because it is important that girls have sports opportunities.
Hi I'm Lucy. I'm a Girls Active Leader. Being active is important because it's good for your body and brain. I like to do active things with my friends like dance and fun games but I also like an active challenge to achieve like when I climbed a mountain and swam across a lake twice in the Lake Disrict! I really enjoy skipping. It is one of my favourite active hobbies. When I'm not doing something active I like playing with my cats. I look forward to doing my Girls Active leaders jobs and talking to other girls about their active hobbies.
My name is Ivy and I enjoy being active. I have done dance for over seven years. I study ballet, character, tap and contemporary modern. I also take part in a zumba class. I do these classes once a week. At the weekends I enjoy swimming, skateboarding at my local park and I love taking my dog for walks. My target to work for is encouraging all girls to take part in 60 minutes of physical activity a day. When I take part in anything active it makes me feel stronger, happier and good about myself.
Hello I'm Emily. I used to do ballet but now I go swimming twice a week and I also go to cubs. In Year 4 I enjoyed playing football with my friends. Some days I walk 2 miles back from school. I also sometimes like to cycle. At the weekend, I like to go out on my rollerskates. I think it is really important that girls are more active because as they grow older they become less active at playtime and just stand around talking to their friends!