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Physical literacy

Here we look at what is physical literacy, its importance throughout life from 0-100+, and how we should consider this through all our work in sport, physical activity and movement.

Physical literacy is relevant for all ages and everyone working to improve the activity levels of our nation.

Tim Hollingsworth OBE Chief Executive, Sport England

A group of young black women playing ball games.

What is physical literacy?

Sport England revealed its Physical Literacy Consensus Statement for England in September 2023.

The consensus statement helps us to recognise that everyone has a unique and complex relationship with sport, physical activity and movement.

You can read the summary statement here and the full statement here.

An infographic that looks at how physical literacy is our relationship with movement and physical activity throughout life

Why is it important?

What makes a positive experience for one may be a negative experience for another.

It isn’t always easy to live an active life and we know that personal circumstances and wider socioeconomic factors make a significant difference.

We need to listen and respond to individual needs and circumstances, and recognise that these change over time.

We also need to provide a safe, inclusive and supportive environment.

Physical Literacy is not just focused on children – it is a lifelong changing process. What might be a barrier to moving more when you are young may be different when you are middle-aged or older.

Listen to audio interviews of sector leaders which highlight the essence of physical literacy here.


A white, middle aged man taking part in an exercise class.
A man enjoying an exercise class

What can you do?

Use physical literacy as a framework to guide choices and approaches across our sector.

Take the time to read the consensus statement and reflect on how physical literacy can shape your work.

Embrace physical literacy and help others to do so too, to help tackle barriers and inequalities to sport, physical activity and movement.

Apply the principles of physical literacy into everyday policies, practice and programmes.

Share your experiences with us. If you have used your knowledge about physical literacy in your work then let us know so we can shout about it and inspire others in the sector. Email our marketing and communications officer Alex Bunce abunce@activesussex.org


What has been your journey with sport, physical activity and movement?

Lived experiences, whether positive or negative, have defined your relationship with sport and physical activity.

Although personal to you, your physical literacy will have been significantly influenced by the world around you and the opportunities available to you at different times in your life.

Everyone’s relationship with and experiences of movement will be different.

The concept of physical literacy encourages us to consider these wider and often structural influences in understanding why people value and choose to be active and why others don’t.

You can read some of Active Sussex team’s physical literacy journeys here

Andy Wright

Strategic Relationship Manager

Andy is the Strategic lead for all Children & Young People focussed work. He works with schools, clubs, coaches, and physical activity providers to increase opportunities for young people to get more active.

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