Sport England expands ‘This Girl Can’ to woo school girls

sport england2Sport England is extending its “This Girl Can” campaign – that inspired over 3.9 million women to get active – into schools, in a bid to tackle soaring obesity levels among young girls.

According to official figures, nearly a third (29%) of young people currently do less than 30 minutes physical activity per day, but engagement among teen girls is the lowest of any group.

This has fuelled Sport England’s decision to invest £1.5m of National Lottery funding into the creation of a new digital schools’ platform, designed to reach girls who have disengaged from PE.

As part of the drive, the organisation has partnered with behaviour change specialists Hopscotch – the agency behind the Department for Transport’s Think! Road safety education resources and Vodafone’s Digital Creators’ Challenge.

It will lead a consortium of four agencies – including youth consultancy Livity, digital build agency OnToast and research agency Childwise – in the platform’s design and delivery to support schools in providing high quality, modern PE lessons.

Co-created with teenage girls, Studio You will give PE teachers across England access to a free digital library of alternative workouts designed to engage girls with physical activity, by inspiring them to feel more confident in a school PE setting.

Workout sessions will focus on disciplines that teen girls in Sport England’s focus groups found appealing, including yoga, boxing, dance, barreFit and Pilates.

The platform will be piloted in 20 schools across England this autumn term, with plans for a full roll out across England from February 2021.

In line with the creative for the This Girl Can campaign, the new Studio You platform, which has the tagline “Press play. Have fun”, uses small groups of relatable real people and is focused on presenting sport as accessible, fun and rewarding. Footage for the workout videos and associated campaign was shot by an all-female production crew.

Sport England director of children and young people Jayne Molyneux commented: “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.”

Hopscotch founder Julie Noble, a mum of two girls, said: “This is a campaign close to my heart. A negative experience of PE at school can set a damaging blueprint for an inactive life, but a positive experience can instil confidence and empowerment and give girls a lifelong love of physical activity and the benefits it brings.

“With the creation of this platform, we wanted to reframe physical activity as an enjoyable part of everyday life that is for everyone – not just the preserve of naturally sporty young people”.

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