Michael Gove, the Education Secretary has raised...
- Education Professionals
Girls put off exercise for life by PE lessons
New research suggests that schoolgirls are put off exercise and sport by the PE lessons they participate in at school.
According to a study by the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) many young girls feel self-conscious or unhappy at the activities on offer. The foundation is warning that girls in Britain are not getting enough exercise, and that schools are vital in encouraging them to be more active.
Their report draws on research conducted by the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, which asked 1,500 pupils for their views on fitness.
The research shows that 51% of girls are put off physical activity by their experiences of school sport and PE lessons and 45% commented that they think sport is too competitive. Over a third of girls also said that their PE teacher only pays attention to pupils who are good at sport.
The study also revealed that girls' attitudes to PE are led by their peers, and that many feel uncomfortable taking part. Just under half, 48% of the girls questioned said that "getting sweaty is not feminine" while almost a third of boys questioned said that girls who are sporty are not feminine.
"Being popular is not defined by being 'sporty' for girls - but it is for boys," the report says. “Boys receive more encouragement to be sporty from their friends."
WSFF is writing to head teachers and heads of PE to offer advice on how to make PE more appealing to female students.
WSFF chief executive Sue Tibballs said: "It is well-known that school children are less active than they should be. This problem is particularly severe for girls. We need schools and the Government to urgently address this issue, and create policies that will keep our children fit and healthy. The priority needs to be getting all children active, not just focusing on the sporty ones."