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Sport participation in Scotland, in common with most countries, experiences a drop-off through the teen years, but tertiary education could be a key point in reversing the decline.

That is the focus for a research project being led by OSS Research Assistant Jack Templeton, in partnership with Scottish Student Sport (SSS), and we would welcome the involvement of all Scottish universities and colleges.

The SSS is working on the development of a major policy proposal, aimed at delivering guaranteed universal provision of sport and active health opportunities to Scotland’s 400,000 student population. They argue that the support and encouragement provided by physical education, physical activity and sport in secondary school settings is removed too early in the life course, at a time where young people are highly vulnerable to drop-out, and that current approaches at national level are insufficient to ensure that young people remain active through tertiary education and beyond into the world of work. Relying on ‘community’ settings alone is unlikely to succeed, as born out from the existing available data.

SSS is examining a coordinated ‘Active Campus’ model that builds on existing Active Schools investments and follows learners through the remainder of their education, and the OSS is providing support to define the impact (and potential impact) of college and university provision, based on existing evidence from across sport, health and education.

The research has kicked off with Jack investigating the current make-up of student sport participation. He is working with a number of universities and colleges, and if you have not yet been contacted, and would like to contribute, please email OSS research Officer Ryan Brown at: