Schools sought for sport pilot project


A charity is seeking schools to work on a pilot programme to develop strategies to close the gender gap in school sports after receiving more than £227,000 in government funding.

The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) has been given the money out of the Department for Health’s 

£5.5 million Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund.

The charity wants to work with 25 schools to “capture and share excellent practice in the provision of school sport”.

The schools will work with the charity to focus specifically on engaging more girls and to share best practice with providers who deliver physical activity services.

The pilot will:

  • Create a network of 25 “gold medal” schools who will deliver best practice to increase the physical activity levels of girls.

  • Develop an online portal and resources for all schools.

  • Ensure that best practice is shared.

Earlier this month, the WSFF told the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Sport and Fitness that best practice in the provision of school sport and PE needs to spread to help stop the rising inactivity crisis among girls. 

Research by the charity has found that just one in 10 girls age 14 meet the official guidelines for physical activity, with 45 per cent of girls saying school sport is too competitive. Half of the girls surveyed (48 per cent) said that getting sweaty is “not feminine”.

CEO of the WSFF, Sue Tibballs, said: “At a time when UK children are reaching record obesity levels, getting every child active has to be the top priority of school sport. Competition, elite success and winning medals all have an important part to play. But there is clear evidence that in too many schools a narrow focus on traditional sports is serving to discourage and alienate a majority of pupils – particularly girls.”

Barbara Keeley, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group, said that girls currently leave school half as likely to meet recommended activity levels as boys.

She added: “Getting girls to stay active at school is a vital part of ensuring that we create a nation of healthy women. I look forward to seeing the results of this project.”

Minister for public health, Anna Soubry, added: “This project will help us to identify best practice in PE provision for girls, and ultimately get girls across the country to be fitter and healthier.”

The WSFF is seeking secondary schools to be partners in the pilot with those interested invited to email



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