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Sport and physical activity at secondary school linked with better outcomes for young people when they reach early twenties

Sport and physical activity at secondary school linked with better outcomes for young people when they reach early twenties

15th February 2024, London. A new report has found that participation in sports and other hobbies at secondary school is associated with better health, education and employment outcomes by the time young people reach their early twenties, but vulnerable students and those who attend state schools are less likely to participate in these activities.

This morning, the Education Policy Institute published its report on ‘Access to extra-curricular provision and the association with outcomes’, which examines students that are accessing extra-curricular activities during secondary school and the longer-term outcomes of students who do participate.

The report’s findings include:

– Vulnerable students were less likely to attend both sports clubs, and clubs for hobbies, arts and music.

– Students in local authority-maintained schools were less likely to attend clubs for hobbies, arts and music than students in academies.

– Students who attend clubs have a higher probability of progressing to higher education and being in employment, as well as higher levels of participation in sports.

– There is an association between attending some kinds of clubs and self-reported poorer health as a young adult.

The Education Policy Institute recommends that the Government should introduce a set of benchmarks for extracurricular activities to support good quality provision that is accessible and appealing to a broad spectrum of students; consider supporting schools to offer an extended school day, including through additional funding weighted towards schools with more disadvantaged intakes; and that further research on the longer-term benefits of participation should seek to focus on the differences between the types of clubs attended and the causal impact of participation on outcomes.

You can read more about the report here.

Emily Robinson, Chief Executive, London Sport, said:

London Sport welcomes any education reforms that support schools in offering a full range of sport and physical activity opportunities to children and young people.

Using youth sport and physical activity to help foster children’s physical, emotional, educational, and social wellbeing, will help young individuals thrive and succeed in various aspects of their lives. This type of approach is needed to address the current inactivity crisis, highlighted by Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People data which shows less than half of young Londoners (46%) are meeting the recommended levels of physical activity.


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About London Sport 

London Sport is a charity that exists to help ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through access to sport and physical activity.

Supported by Sport England and the Mayor of London, London Sport collaborates with those that share our vision, running and supporting projects that help children, young people and the least active adults to embed sport and physical activity into their lives.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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