Scheme encourages teenage girls to get active

Fifteen schools across Buckinghamshire are putting teenage girls at the centre of shaping PE lessons in a bid to increase their activity levels.

The Girls Active programme aims to help teachers and teenage girls understand what motivates participation in PE and sport – using what they find to help inform future lessons.

Recently 120 girls aged between 13 and 15, from eight of the schools, took part in a kick start event at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, where they were introduced to a range of different sports and activities including hoop dance, volleyball and table tennis.

The girls are now giving feedback on their favourite activities to their teachers, who will aim to include them in PE lessons. Pupils are also encouraged to suggest ways which might encourage more girls to get involved, such as the kit policy being relaxed, or more private changing areas.

The project, developed by the Youth Sport Trust and delivered in partnership with Leap, is being funded by Buckinghamshire County Council’s public health team.

Margaret Aston, Cabinet Member for Public Health, attended the kick start event and said she was delighted with the positive feedback from the girls.

She added: “This is a fantastic scheme, showing girls the range of activities on offer and listening to their views on what would get them more active. Inactivity levels amongst teenage girls are a real issue.

“Only around 10 per cent of 15-year-old girls in Buckinghamshire achieve the recommended one hour of physical activity each day – compared to nearly 20% of boys of the same age.

“Many people who are inactive later in life say that they were first put off of doing exercise through negative experiences of PE at school. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that we encourage more girls to be active, and particularly those that don’t consider themselves ‘sporty’.

“We need to listen to them to try and make their experiences of PE better, but also show them that being active doesn’t have to mean playing sport or being really competitive – there’s so many different and fun ways you can keep yourselves fit.”

The schools which attended the event at Stoke Mandeville Stadium are Buckingham School, Burnham Park Academy, Great Marlow, Princes Risborough, Sir William Borlase Grammar School, Amersham School, Aylesbury High School and Cressex.

The other schools taking part in Girls Active are Highcrest Academy, Mandeville, Waddesdon, Wycombe High School, Alfriston, Burnham Grammar and Chesham Grammar.