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PE: still sitting on the sidelines

Why do girls avoid PE?

Girls sit on mats in a sports hall while watching a yoga lesson on a screen.

Physical Education is a great way to get more girls moving, so why do secondary-aged girls, on average, skip twice as many PE lessons in a school term compared to boys?

Three years ago, we partnered with Hopscotch Consulting to launch Studio You: a free curriculum-linked platform designed to help every girl, of every background and ability, enjoy PE.

But despite seeing some good signs of progress, recent findings by Studio You show that if we want more girls to enjoy PE, there’s still work to do – and we need to do it fast.

What we found out

When it comes to getting people moving, enjoyment is the biggest driver. But new insight shows that PE still struggles to deliver on this for girls, meaning they’re much less willing to get involved in it than boys. The stats tell the story:

Girls would drop PE
Nearly half of girls (49%) say they’d drop PE completely if given the choice, compared with less than a third of boys (32%).
Embarrassing and stressful
While boys describe PE as "exciting" (33%) and "engaging" (26%), girls think of it as "embarrassing" (30%) and "stressful" (28%).
Three in five girls (61%) report feeling self-conscious in PE class, compared with only two in five of boys (39%).

An enjoyment gap exists, and we need to work together to close it. We know that 57% of girls enjoyed PE more during primary school. We know that 45% of girls feel uncomfortable taking part in mixed-gender PE lessons. And we know that 46% of girls think new kit options would boost their feelings of enjoyment during PE.

Help us get more girls moving

By challenging negative PE narratives and empowering teachers to move PE in a new direction, Studio You brings our barrier-breaking ambition into schools across the country.

From boxing to yoga to combat, the Studio You platform features hundreds of free, curriculum-linked online PE lessons, alongside resources and guidance for teachers to help make PE the confidence boosting subject it can be.

Find out more

A girl stretches her arms while watching a screen during a PE lesson in a sports hall.

Are you a teacher?

Register for Studio You

Home to hundreds of free PE lessons, Studio You is the perfect PE planning partner. Designed to make exercise more inclusive, accessible and open, it’s curriculum-linked and full of helpful resources that’ll give you what you need to get all your students up and moving. Want access? Register for free right here.

Register for Studio You

Four Studio You instructors smile at each other while posing for a photo.