Addressing the decline in sport participation in secondary schools

Youth Sport Physical activity Secondary education Australia

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) is committed to keeping sports relevant and viable, whilst supporting all Australians to develop their physical literacy for active and healthy lives. The ASC is aware that the sport environment is changing and is dedicated to supporting our national sporting organisations to thrive and maximise their ability to contribute to participation outcomes. A key component of this commitment is the sharing of high-quality information, research and data to enable better decision making concerning participation.

Today more than ever Australians are time poor, have limited budgets, are being inundated by new forms of entertainment and face increasing barriers to participation. As society changes new preferences are emerging; Australians desire greater flexibility, more tailored products and sports that work for them.

This is magnified when looking at young Australians. Research shows that an early connection to sport can positively influence participation and encourage a lifelong love of sport. The Australian Government's $160 million Sporting Schools program helps schools increase student participation in sport and connects them with community sporting opportunities.

However a significant issue exists within the youth demographic (aged 13 to 17 years). The evidence is clear; during this period of their lives a significant number of young people stop participating in sport.

The ASC has investigated the fall in participation within this demographic in an effort to identify ways to keep youths active and engaged in sport and physical activity at this important time in their lives. In partnership with the sport and education sectors and La Trobe University, the ASC has undertaken the Youth Participation Research Project (the Project) which identifies and addresses the barriers to sport participation amongst Australian youths in the secondary school setting.

This report provides an overview of the Project. It shares the learnings from the Project, providing advice and recommendations on how the Australian youth demographic can be engaged in sport and physical activity in the secondary school setting.

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