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Sports: Young People

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of young people who ceased participating in sport after leaving school in the latest period for which figures are available. (291342)

[holding answer 16 September 2009]: Sport England have advised that during the ages of 16 to 19, the period when young people leave school, sport participation1 drops by 7 percentage points, (or the equivalent of 42,000 participants) from a participation rate of 37.4 per cent. at age 16, to a participation rate of 30.4 per cent. at age 19.

1 Participation is defined as the percentage of the adult population participating in at least 30 minutes of sport, of at least moderate intensity, at least three times a week.


Participation rate (percentage)

Number of participants














Sport England's Active People Survey 2 (Oct 2007-Oct 2008).

To address this, through the Sport Unlimited initiative, Sport England works closely with the Government to deliver the 5 Hour Young People's Sports Offer. Over three years, the programme will enable 900,000 children and young people to take part in 10-week taster sessions in sports and aims to get 300,000 participants to join clubs and continue with sport beyond those sessions. Additionally, one of Sport England's strategic targets is to reduce the drop-off among 16 to 18-year-olds in nine key sports. This target will be measured by the Active People survey and is based on reducing the gap between 16 and 18 year old participation by 25 per cent. The national target is therefore to increase overall participation in the nine drop-off sports among 18-year-olds to 31 per cent.

The latest 12 month rolling participation figure illustrates that there has been a statistically significant increase in overall participation in the nine drop-off sports among 18-year-olds from 189,100 to 202,500. If this level of overall participation in the nine drop-off sports were maintained until the end of the current strategy period then the participation figures are expected to reach the target of 31 per cent.