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Parents’ experiences of PE and school sport is playing a significant role in determining whether their children are active and enjoy school activity, according to a new survey.

The new research by the children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust, conducted by YouGov, surveyed adults of children aged under 18, and found that just 32% of parents felt that they had enjoyed PE and sport activity when at school. The charity has launched a ‘state of the nation’ report on PE, school sport and physical activity with the aim of helping families and schools to understand the importance of supporting children to be more active, and why many people walk away from sport as teenagers.

The survey also revealed that those who had a positive experience of PE at school were almost twice as likely (63%) to say their children enjoyed PE at school today, and much more likely to encourage their children to be active and play sport – as compared with just 35% of those parents who didn’t have positive experiences. Just 8% of parents who had not enjoyed PE or school sport said that a school that prioritised PE was a factor in their choosing of a school for their children (compared with 22% of those with good experiences), and only 18% said they would speak to the school to provide more PE or school sport compared to 34% of parents who enjoyed PE and sport.

Alison Oliver MBE, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “Schools are uniquely placed to deliver opportunities and motivation for children to be more active, but this research highlights the importance of working with families too. It is important to highlight, regardless of their own memories and PE experiences, what they do now to support their children’s experience can influence their wellbeing and education as well as their physical activity levels into adulthood.”

The Youth Sport Trust launched its new long-term strategy, ‘Inspiring Changemakers, Building Belonging’ earlier this month to help build back healthier, happier and more resilient children and young people, to balance the demands of the digital age through human connection, and transform society’s perceptions and attitudes to the value of play and sport in the education and development of young people.

Read the report in full here.