21 January 2020

Have Your Say: Promoting Lifelong Activity at Secondary School

May 11, 2012
Have Your Say: Promoting Lifelong Activity at Secondary School

Last week the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) published their latest report.  Unusually their focus was on teenage girls, still at secondary school.

The report presents a fairly damning view of PE lessons for teenage girls at many of the UKs secondary schools.  It tells us that 50% of girls think school PE “mostly appeals to the sporty types and was a huge turnoff for the majority.”  It also increased their likelihood of an inactive lifestyle after leaving school.

When you’re at school who wants to be a sporty type?  For the average 14 year old girl the priority is to be feminine not sporty – the report tells us that the perception is that the most popular girls are the feminine ones.

It’s not that girls don’t want to be active, in fact 74% of girls said they wanted to be more active.  It’s rather that the activities on offer don’t appeal.

Girls don’t want to play traditional competitive sports like hockey, netball and lacrosse in fact many don’t want to take part in competitive sports at all.

Of course this isn’t true for everyone and it is a widely held belief that traditional sports do still have a role to play but it needs to be accepted that they’re not effective in engaging all teen girls in activity.

The report tells us that “the most important educational legacy of schools should be that every girl leaves school having had a positive experience of being active, found activities she would like to carry on in adult life, and where appropriate, achieve her full potential.”

If we are to achieve this aim then we need to consider the thoughts and feelings of the girls involved.

Girls are asking for:-

  • Choice in activities
  • Girl only groups
  • To be active with friends
  • To have fun being active
  • To feel comfortable in uniforms etc
  • To feel encouraged in the activity, and
  • To be rewarded for their effort

Who doesn’t want that?

Let’s overhaul school PE for teenage girls.

Let’s offer rock climbing, surfing, Zumba, circuit training, skateboarding, and Boxercise.  If it’s going to lead to an engaged, enthusiastic and active next generation of women that  can only be a good thing.

Maggie Ayre

Maggie Ayre is the UKs leading Fitness Coach for Teen Girls.  As well as one-to-one and small group nutrition and fitness work with teens she has developed the 3G Program designed to be run at schools as part of the PE curriculum.  She also offers mentoring for PE departments on how to re-engage teen girls with PE and has recently published her third book; “Nutrition for Exam Success – A Parent’s Guide” which is now available on Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

If you would like to find out how to submit an article for Have Your Say, Just click here.

One Comment

  1. karen84

    27.07.12 at 9:56 am

    I could not agree more with this article. I started teaching 4 years ago and was shocked by the lack of participation by KS4 girls and even more put out by the attitude of staff towards this. I wanted things to change at my school and despite being a games player myself I understood this was not the route for every girl. I put together a new scheme of work called NRG which taught girls about fitness, diet and their bodies. They are given taster sessions for activities such as boxercise, pilates, zumba and aerobics. Participation has increased in PE lessons and a number of girls have joint gyms or come and request activities for their next lesson.

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