At least 50 schools across England are being sought to take part in a programme aimed at giving girls more opportunities to access competitive sport.
The Department for Education has announced up to £980,000 in funding for its “Your Time” programme, which is being led by the Sports Leaders Qualifications (SLQ) awarding organisation.
The three year programme aims to increase opportunities for thousands of girls aged eight to 16 to access competitive sport and sport leadership opportunities.
It comes amid long-standing concerns about male dominance of sports and low uptake among girls and women.
A 2014 report by the culture, media and sport select committee warned that girls were put off sport by PE lessons, and that this contributed to lower participation in adulthood with 30 per cent of women playing sport once a week, compared to 40 per cent of men.
Research by Sport England found the gender gap in sports participation “starts with girls being less active from a very young age”.
Government statistics show girls made up just over 37 per cent of entries to PE GCSE in 2020-21.
Schools will get learning modules and equipment
SLQ will now identify a network of “at least” 50 schools across England to participate. Schools will be supported to gain the “knowledge and understanding needed to provide more opportunities to pupils”, the DfE said.
Schools will receive programme orientation sessions, access to learning modules and packs containing promotional materials for teachers and branded equipment items for leaders and participants.
The programme will also signpost pupils to extra curricular activities so they can continue to pursue sports outside school and once the scheme comes to an end.
The programme is aiming to reach more than 1,800 girls during year one, over 3,100 participants in year two and over 3,700 participants in year three.
Children and families minister Will Quince said the programme “will give thousands of girls access to competitive sport opportunities, whilst also establishing new sports leadership roles”.
“This will build on our existing work to encourage more young people to participate in sports, including through ‘Studio You’ a video platform designed to help teachers engage less active young girls with physical education, improve their confidence and make being active fun.”
Schools interested in joining the programme should contact SLQ directly for further information, the DfE said.