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Power of PE – good school experiences have generational impact

Two young boys during a tennis lesson

Positive PE experiences last a lifetime. A children’s charity has launched a new ‘state of the nation’ report on PE, school sport and physical activity to help families and schools understand the importance of supporting children to move more.

Just 32% of UK parents have positive memories of PE and school sport as a child.

New research from the Youth Sport Trust, conducted by YouGov, comes as the charity looks to National School Sport Week 20-26 June, when it will be championing a place for every child in sport and encouraging schools to focus on physical activity and sport environments where every young person feels they belong regardless of ability or motivation.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, it wants to reclaim the life chances of a generation by changing parental perceptions and children’s experiences.  

The research found parents who had a positive experience of PE at school were almost twice as likely (63%) to say their children enjoyed PE at school today and much more likely to encourage their children to be active and play sport (vs 35% of those parents who didn’t have positive experiences).

The Youth Sport Trust launched its new long-term strategy, ‘Inspiring Changemakers, Building Belonging’ earlier this month to help build back healthier, happier and more resilient children and young people, to balance the demands of the digital age through human connection, and transform society’s perceptions and attitudes to the value of play and sport in the education and development of young people. 

The research among UK parents of children aged 18 and under carried out by YouGov found:

  • 32% of parents said that they have positive experience of PE. These parents were more likely to say their children enjoyed PE at school than those who didn’t have positive experience of PE (63% vs 35%)
  • These parents also
    • Encourage their children to be active and play sport (78% vs 52%)
    • Would be more included to choose a school which prioritise PE (22% vs 8%)
    • Would be prepared to speak to school to encourage them to provide more PE or school sport (34% vs 18%).