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Meeting The Needs Of Girls

Background information:

A cycle of non-participation, especially in years 10/11, had been established amongst female pupils. Swimming and games orientated activities were un popular. Girls did not want to wear shorts or get changed; there were often complaints that they didn't get enough changing time. This manifested in some behavior problems but mostly defiance of the school over bringing PE kit and girls taking up to 15 minutes to come out of the changing room at the start of the period.


The aim was to best meet the needs of the female pupils in relation to increasing their participation in both curricular PE and extra-curricular sport and physical activity.


Pupils were surveyed about their thoughts and feelings around PE and physical activity. After consultation with the full PE department, a development plan was constructed to run in a tandem with the whole school development and action plans. Rules were relaxed around the PE kit and girls were allowed to cover up in the pool wearing a top over their swimming costume.

In years 8 and 9 core PE lessons, all pupils were offered the opportunity to choose a single sex or co-ed class.

All year 11 core programmes were restructured to include a team games course, individual and mixed activities in addition to fitness and aesthetics course which was designed specifically to attract girls and included activities such as dance, gymnastics, boxercise, step aerobics and trampolining. Some members of school staff undertook training to broaden their skill set and knowledge in order to deliver the new activities.

Sports leader awards were offered to year 11 pupils meaning the students who took part were engaged in helping to challenge a number of talented girls who were at risk of becoming disaffected.

The impact:

Some improvement in participation was evident; teachers' observations and reduced referrals to the management team demonstrated that participation amongst girls had improved. By offering extra-curricular non-competitive activities grouping had to be rotated to accommodate numbers. Relaxation of the PE kit rules led to an improvement in curricular PE.

It worked because and next steps:

Success was aided by the whole school support of the programme as well as PE staff. Although improvements had been noted the school were conscious that further improvements were necessary. As a result, pupils were surveyed again about their thoughts, feelings and interests in relation to PE and physical activity; this allowed the school to construct a database to enable pupils to be targeted with appropriate information regarding participation opportunities that may have developed in the future.