School sport - secondary

All children and young people will have the opportunity to participate and engage as fully as possible in all aspects of school or early learning and childcare life, including extracurricular activity. Participation is also about addressing involvement in the wider school and local community; it is about feeling included as a peer, forming firm relationships and friendships and developing the skills for lifelong learning and success. Participation is full involvement in the life of the school through events, trips, school plays, sports and community events; it is about finding an avenue for children and young people to contribute and feel that their contribution is valued. All opportunities to participate in the life of the school should be available to all pupils, including those requiring additional support, and these should be appropriately supported. 

School sport actions 

If your assessment tool has highlighted this as an area for improvement, here’s some simple actions your school sport committee can add to their action plan: 

Increase the number of sport and physical activity clubs being offered 

  • Do a ‘stock take’ of all the clubs that are currently up and running in the school. Are there any year groups that have no clubs available? This could be an area to look at. 
  • Ask members of the committee to survey these year groups, is there a particular sport or physical activity that pupils would like to see being set up? 
  • Work with your Active Schools Coordinator to recruit volunteers that could run these clubs. 
  • Clubs could be run before, during or after school to ensure there is enough variety for everyone 

Are there free extra curricular clubs for every pupil at the point of participation? 

  • It’s important that there is at least one free extra curricular club available for every pupil. Volunteers to run these clubs could be teachers, parents, carers or even older siblings. 
  • Active Schools Monitoring shows statistics for the number of children participating in sport. Percentage of children living in SIMD bands 1 and 2 participating in sport can be established. 

Increase pupil participation  

  • Work with your Active Schools Coordinator to help look at the pupils involved in extra curricular activities, this can be done through Active Schools Monitoring information. Is it the same pupils attending clubs? Are there pupils attending clubs in the community? Are there any pupils that don’t attend any clubs? By using this data, you will be able to target individuals who may be inactive and look at clubs/activities they may be interested in. This allows Active Schools, schools and partners the opportunity to provide better opportunities for children and young people. 
  • Take the time to do an in-depth data collection. You can use a simple example like this: Simple pupil survey.docx 
  • Create a sports notice board: Give a yearly overview of all sports clubs available each term. Display by colour and visual aids to ensure all children, parents and staff are aware of clubs available. 
  • Allow pupils to share their views on the sports clubs they attend. 
  • Look at structuring the school clubs differently. Shorter blocks mean you can get a better variety of activity as well as being able to offer opportunities across all ages and stages. 
  • Create a survey to identify young people who are inactive in the school. From this, set up focus groups and identify activities that would entice the young people to take part. 
  • At the start of the academic year, host a Sports Fair. This event can showcase the different extra-curricular opportunities on offer to our young people throughout the school year. This can be hosted by PE Staff, Active Schools Coordinator, Young Ambassadors, local clubs and volunteers and coaches.  
  • We enjoy weekly led bike rides, setting off from school and exploring the surrounding area.  
  • Introduce a bike club. Pupils say they enjoy having the opportunity to be out on their bikes, enjoying the outdoors and making new friends. With the support of Sustrans, pupils can take part in bike maintenance sessions during the winter months 
  • It can be a challenge for children and young people who are transported to school in accessing after school activities. Work in partnership with parents and carers to provide transport and to remove any other barriers to accessing physical activities. 

School sport examples in practice 

Impact of sport on young people 

Increasing our learners’ access to sport and physical activity has made a significant impact to their engagement, achievement and general wellbeing. We have seen young people who are unable to leave the safety of their own bedrooms build trusting relationship with our sports co-ordinators, gradually increase their physical activity through a variation of light to intense physical activity. They have been supported to access clubs and organisations in their local communities and express that they now a reason to get up and come to school. This is significant in improving outcomes for the most vulnerable learners in our local authority. Adding daily physical activity, has contributed to increased engagement, readiness to learn, self-esteem and attainment. We have had a reduction in violent incidents, improved attendance and positive learner feedback evidences that our learners feel happier and more regulated. We are confident that enabling our learners to live active lives will support improved outcomes in their future. 

An example of an effective school sport committee and its impact on school sport. 

Active Schools worked in partnership with the PE department at a High School to create a school sport committee in term 4. The school sport committee was created to help develop an opportunity for pupils to be included in the future planning and work of both PE and Active Schools. By promoting both participation and volunteering opportunities provided as part of the Active Schools extra-curricular programme, participation in clubs has grown significantly.  

Introducing alternative sports 

Young people with low self-esteem and those refusing attend school were encouraged to take part in a concentrated block of archery, with a Scottish Archery award at the end. Challenging behaviour can sometimes be a result of boredom with the same activity, but with the addition of an award at the end, it was felt this would be more successful. The aim was to build up their confidence and then deliver to a group of children in a local primary school. The young people worked hard and were able to find each of their individual strengths whilst working as a team.  

Pupil consultation 

Questionnaires were completed by all S1-S3 pupils in 2018 to gain their view on extra-curricular and what they would like more of. We looked at what we could potentially facilitate with facilities etc., and then upskilled teachers and senior pupils to add these into the extra-curricular programme. New clubs include: table tennis, tennis, dodgeball, archery, Zumba, cycling, gymnastics, karate, boxing, running and futsal. 

Seasonal clubs 

During this term we make changes to the timetable to account for the drop in school roll due to S4 – S6 pupils away on study leave / exams. S4 – S6 pupils are encouraged to come along to let off steam while studying, however our focus is on engaging S1 – S3 pupils. Similarly we use this term to create a ‘seasonal timetable’ where more Summer sports are popular, the likes of athletics and orienteering making an appearance.  

Date published: 24 July 2023
Date updated: 10 October 2023


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