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Sport England’s Children and Young People Survey: a Sussex focus

Sport England’s Children and Young People Survey: a Sussex focus

Categories: Insight

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Data from the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 2019/20 conducted by Sport England, has shown that 50% of Sussex children lead 'active lives' - compared with 45% nationally. 

The 2019/20 survey, carried out nationally throughout the school year, asks children aged between five and 16 years old about how much physical activity they take part in, both in and out of school. The survey period covered the disruption caused by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, primarily in the summer term.

The Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines count children doing an average of 60+ minutes of activity a day as ‘Active’. Those who do between 30 and 59 minutes a day are counted as ‘Fairly active’ and children doing less than 30 minutes a day are counted as ‘Less active’.

Sussex results

  • 50% of children and young people in Sussex lead active lives, compared with 45% nationally. This equates to 94,100 active children and young people in Sussex.
  • There was no significant change in the proportion of active children and young people in Sussex despite the impact of the first wave of the pandemic and school closures.
  • 26% of children and young people in Sussex (51,600) are fairly active.
  • 27% of children and young people in Sussex (53,600) are less active, lower than the national average of 31%. The reduction in less active young people from the 2017-18 was retained for 2019-20. The 2020-21 data will confirm if the ongoing effect of the pandemic has been to reduce activity levels of children and young people in Sussex.

Impact of the pandemic nationally

Sport England have analysed the impact of the pandemic in a special report.

Fewer children and young people were active in the summer term 2020, compared with the previous year.

In particular sporting activities saw large decreases. Over a million fewer children and young people took part in activities such as swimming and team sports. This was partially offset by large increases in walking, cycling and at-home fitness activities.

Active Lives Survey Children and Young People Insight page

The pandemic impacted data collection so results are not available at upper or lower tier local authority levels as they have been in previous years. The Sussex results by local authority from previous years are available here, and Sport England’s detailed national report is available here.

3,479 children and young people responded to the survey in Sussex in 2019-20. Around 75 schools are randomly selected each term to voluntarily complete the survey. Schools which complete the survey receive a bespoke report with a breakdown of activity levels in their school, £100 of sports equipment, and are eligible to receive a Healthy Schools Rating.

National survey  

The national Sport England data was based on a sample of 89,303 respondents during the academic year September 2019-July 2020, making it the largest study of its kind and sits at the heart of Sport England’s Towards an Active Nation strategy.

This survey gives the most comprehensive overview of the sport and physical activity habits of children in England. It looks at the number of children taking part in a wide range of sport and physical activities (ranging from dance and scooting to active play and team sports) at moderate intensity, both at school and out of school.

Active Sussex support

Active Sussex is one of the 43 Active Partnerships, - the only organisations that are funded by Sport England to offer primary schools free, objective advice and support that helps them spend the Primary PE and Sport Premium effectively. 

Active Lives Survey Children and Young People Insight page

Active Sussex Primary PE page links


Primary PE and Sport Premium, please contact David Taylor, : E: dtaylor@activesussex.org

Secondary Schools, School Games and Children and Young People Investment Fund, please contact Andy Wright, Active Sussex's Strategic Relationship Manager, who develops sports participation in young people aged 5-19 by enhancing links between school & community sport: E: awright@activesussex.org / T: 07760 156122

Active Lives: Children and Young People Survey, Sussex data please contact Henry McLaughlin, Active Sussex's Insight Officer: E: hmclaughlin@activesussex.org