Fit for girls evaluation: interim report 1

Jo Inchley, Fiona Mitchell, Candace Currie

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The Fit for Girls programme is a joint initiative between the Youth Sport Trust and sportscotland, aimed at increasing physical activity participation among girls aged 11 to 16 years. The programme was launched in 2008 and is being delivered to all secondary schools across Scotland over 3 years. A core focus of the programme is to bring about sustainable change in schools that builds a positive future for girls’ participation in physical activity. This is achieved through providing an interactive workshop for practitioners in order to allow them to share and exchange necessary knowledge, tools and skills to be able to successfully consult, plan and implement positive PE experiences and sustainable physical activity programmes for girls in the school setting, and build stronger links with community provision.

This first Interim Report presents findings from a survey of all S2 girls in secondary schools across Scotland, undertaken as part of the evaluation of the Fit for Girls programme. Survey questionnaires were administered in schools during 2009. The questionnaire gathers information about physical activity, physical education and extra-curricular activities, as well as girls’ health and wellbeing. The findings in the interim report are baseline findings against which changes over time will be monitored as implementation of the Fit for Girls programme takes place. In total, 17,853 girls completed a questionnaire. The mean age of the girls was 13.7 years.

The findings reveal predominantly positive attitudes towards physical education (PE) and physical activity. Overall, levels of enjoyment were high and most girls said they would like to be more active. In relation to PE, the majority of girls agreed that it is an important subject at their school and felt comfortable in what they wear for PE. The social context in which PE takes place is evidently a significant issue for girls: over a third felt that having a female teacher is important and said that girls and boys should do PE separately.

Health and fitness are clearly important to girls of this age and, along with having fun, being healthy is a key motivation for being physically active. However, actual participation in physical activity remains low. Therefore there is a need to identify and address barriers to participation. Perceived lack of skill and preferring to do other things with their time were the most common reasons why girls do not take part in physical activity. The Fit for Girls programme provides an opportunity for PE staff to consult with girls and identify issues around low participation. Schools are then able to develop a range of activities they feel the girls will engage with, with the aim of
increasing overall physical activity levels. Follow-up questionnaires will beadministered to the same cohort of girls in Year 3 (2010/2011) of the programme to enable changes in physical activity participation and attitudes to be assessed
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
Commissioning bodysportscotland and the Youth Sport Trust
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2010


  • sport
  • girls in sport
  • physical education
  • physical activity
  • Scotland


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