The Pandemic Continues To Affect Pupil’s Physical And Mental Health

Over 14,000 fewer children and young people in Kent are meeting government guidelines for physical activity than last year. 

The latest results from Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey highlights the on-going impact Covid-19 has had on physical activity levels in Kent. It shows that only 41.7% (103,200) of children and young people are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more every day. This is a 6.3% (14,500) decrease in the number of active children and young people compared to the previous 12 months. 

The data also shows that 34% (84,100) of Kent’s children and young people are physically inactive meaning they are doing less than an average of 30 minutes a day. This is a 6% (15,500) increase in the number of inactive children and young people compared to the previous 12 months. 

The Sport England Research also highlights the social inequality gap is getting bigger whilst the gender gap is getting smaller with boys now doing less. Overall, there is less enjoyment in being active and children and young people are less confident. Fitness and gym activity is on the up whilst team sports have dropped. Swimming has seen the biggest fall with 11.8% (850,000) fewer children and young people accessing swimming compared to the previous 12 months. 

Positively, the results provide further evidence that the most active children have higher levels of mental wellbeing and demonstrate the role sport and physical activity can play in supporting them amid rising levels of loneliness and declining mental health during the pandemic.

What is the Active Lives Survey?

Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey gives the most comprehensive overview of children’s sport and physical activity habits and levels of physical literacy in England. Running yearly since 2017 the report is based on responses from and on behalf of over 100,000 children aged 5-16 during the 2020/21 academic year, making it the largest study of its kind in the world. The survey provides decision makers, government departments, local authorities, delivery bodies, schools and the sport and physical activity sector with detailed insight and understanding of our nations sport and physical activity habits. The latest report was released in December 2021 and covers another year of disruption caused by the pandemic. You can access the latest report here

How can your school get involved?

Kent Sport, the Active Partnership for Kent and Medway manages the study in Kent and Medway on behalf of Sport England. Each term schools from Kent and Medway are randomly selected to take part in the survey, schools can access a bespoke physical activity report, equipment vouchers and achieve the nationally recognised Healthy Schools Rating scheme. Schools who are not randomly selected can choose to take part and, subject to them completing the minimum number of surveys will receive the physical activity report and a Healthy Schools Rating. 

To find out more, please visit or contact Jon Rye at to get involved. 

How can Kent Sport support your school?

We offer free advice, information and resources to help schools deliver a high-quality PE and sport experience which contributes to whole school improvement. We encourage primary schools to sign up to The Daily Mile – a fully-inclusive, free and simple initiative that gets pupils active during the school day. It only takes 15 minutes, requires no extra workload for teachers and has great wellbeing benefits for all involved.

There are also lots of alternative ways for you to incorporate physical activity into the school day. Our Primary PE and Sport Premium page is full of support and guidance, our Kent School Games events provide opportunities for competition and sport festivals, and we even have a great ideas funding enquiry form. Here we encourage schools to submit project ideas that will support children and young people who are least likely to be active, including those from under-represented groups such as lower socio-economic groups, children and young people with long term health conditions or a disability, and culturally diverse communities. If you have a great project idea to help us achieve these aims, we would love to hear from you at 

Comments are closed