26th October 2022
Sport England programme findings reveal how to create an inclusive PE environment for secondary schools

Sport England, in association with Sheffield Hallam University, Youth Sport Trust, Activity Alliance and Association for Physical Education, has shared key insights taken from its Secondary Teacher Training (STT) programme.

The research explores how Secondary Schools can adopt inclusive practices and incorporate student voice to provide a better PE, school sport and physical activity (PESSPA) environment for students.

Inclusivity, increased participation and student voice were the dominating topics brought to life through pupil-focused research. It found that giving young people, especially those who are less active, the chance to shape their PE lessons created a happier environment.

How getting to know and understand students’ motivations and barriers can help encourage enjoyment and engagement, and that the least active students don’t recognise opportunities to be active at school, as easily as their active peers.

To showcase the findings, Sport England has created five infographics detailing key outputs from the STT programme to be shared far and wide across the teaching community. Teachers can find tips which answer questions about why PE matters and why PE makes a happy school, as well as insight on how to make PE great and accessible for all students.

In addition, Sport England has also developed 10 short films which feature case studies of teachers and students positively impacted by the programme. The films highlight the easy-to-adopt ways secondary school teachers have implemented new approaches having completed the STT programme. The films focus on themes such as; why an inclusive approach is key to increasing participation, why a changing approach to PE makes students think differently, and easy ways to incorporate student voice.

The research also talks about the importance of activity in schools, with a view to the benefits it has on the mental health of young people. According to Sport England:

More active students report an average happiness score of seven out of 10 (compared to just five out of 10 for less active students).

  • Almost three-quarters of students (69 per cent) agreed that being active helps them build resilience.
  • More than half (62 per cent) agreed that it helps them make healthier life choices.
  • More than half (59 per cent) said it improves their mental wellbeing.
  • Nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) said it improves their mood.

The STT programme was created in 2018 to support secondary schools with access to professional development opportunities that support teachers in placing pupils' enjoyment at the heart of PESSPA
participation. The research was conducted throughout the £13.5 million Lottery Funded programme that impacted more than 2,500 secondary schools across England.

To view the full suite of infographics and videos that can help secondary teachers to make PESSPA a more inclusive and enjoyable experience with top tips for their students, head to www.sportengland.org.