For each of the last 7 years the Department for Education has commissioned surveys of participation in PE and Sports in English schools. The latest survey found that across Years 1 – 13, 47% of pupils in Bristol schools participated in at least three hours of high quality PE and out of hours school sport during the 2009/10 academic year, comparing unfavourably against a national figure of 55%, an average of 55% for our statistical neighbours and an average of 52.1% for the Core Cities. In Bristol this represents an improvement of 2 percentage points on the previous survey (2008/2009), though nationally there was a 5 percentage point rise.
Figure 1: Percentage of Pupils Participating in at Least Three Hours of High Quality PE/Sport in a Typical Week (Bristol v Average for Core Cities, 2009/2010)
Patterns of participation levels in Bristol are consistent with national patterns in so far as participation is highest in Years 3 – 6, and is also reasonably high in Years 1 – 3 and Years 7 – 8. They are at their lowest in Years 12 and 13. Nationally the greatest improvements over the last year have been in Years 1 – 2, while the smallest improvements have been for Years 12 and 13. In Bristol the greatest improvements were for Years 1 -2:
Table 1: Change in the Percentage of Pupils Participating in at Least Three Hours of High Quality PE/Sport in a Typical Week in Bristol, 2008/09 to 2009/10
|Years 1 – 11||Years 1 – 13||Years 1 – 2||Years 3 – 6||Years 7 – 9||Years 10 – 11||Years 12 – 13|
Data collected for the first time this year on differences in participation levels between girls and boys shows that in Core Cities overall boys (56%) are more likely than girls (48%) to take part in at least three hours of PE and school sport. In Bristol the comparable figure for boys is 51% and 43% for girls. There are small differences in participation levels between girls and boys in Years 1 – 7. However, after Year 7 the gap grows bigger.
Figure 2: Percentage of Girls and Boys Participating in at Least Three Hours of High Quality PE/Sport in a Typical Week (Bristol v Average for Core Cities, 2009/2010)
A conclusion of the survey states that participation rates do not vary much between the different regions of the country, but they do vary in terms of urban and rural areas, with those in rural areas being more likely to participate in at least three hours of PE and school sport (60% v. 54%). However, the gap has closed slightly over the last year.
There is some link between high levels of participation in at least three hours of PE and out of hours school sport, and the proportion of pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM). Schools with higher participation levels tend to have fewer pupils who are eligible for FSM than do schools with lower participation rates. There is, however, an indication that over the last year participation rates have increased at a faster rate in schools with a higher proportion of children who are eligible for FSM.