Fuel Your Imagination

Sport England furthers This Girl Can with a drive to engage young girls in PE

When exercise has such a positive impact not just on physical, but mental health, this is a vital grassroots initiative.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE

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Just a third (29%) of young people in the UK are currently doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day and engagement amongst teen girls is the lowest of any group. In the midst of the mental  health crisis amongst young girls, addressing this gap is increasingly urgent.

With this in mind and as part of the nationwide This Girl Can campaign, Sport England is investing £1.5 million of National Lottery funding into the creation of a new digital schools platform designed to reach girls who have disengaged from PE.

The organisation has partnered with behaviour change specialists Hopscotch to launch a platform called Studio You, co-created with teenage girls, that will give PE teachers across England access to a free digital library of alternative workouts designed to engage girls with physical activity.

The aim of Studio You is to inspire confidence in the girls within PE classes. Workouts include boxing, pilates, dance and bareFit, all disciplines that teen girls in Sport England’s focus groups found appealing and all captured in the launch film under the tagline, ‘Press play, have fun’. 

The platform will be piloted in 20 schools across England in the autumn term of 2020 with plans to roll it out nationwide in February 2021.

Alongside Hopscotch, Sport England has enlisted the help of youth consultancy, Livity, digital build agency, OnToast and research agency, CHILDWISE on the platform’s design and delivery. The footage from the launch campaign for Studio You and the workouts is designed to be accessible and was shot by an all-female production crew.

Jayne Molyneux, Director of Children and Young People from Sport England, explained: “In focus groups girls who had disengaged from school sports used words like ‘competitive’, ‘forced’, ‘stressy’ and ‘repetitive’ to describe their PE lessons. The Studio You platform will help teachers challenge those perceptions by re-injecting all-important fun, choice and ownership into the PE experience for those that don’t naturally gravitate towards it.”

If children have a negative experience of sport early on in their lives, it can deter them from ever wanting to take part again. Studio You aims to reframe the way girls view PE, to instill in them a degree of confidence and to empower them to realise that physical activity can also be enjoyable; you just have to find the style that works for you. When exercise has such a positive impact not just on physical, but mental health, this is a vital grassroots initiative.