2023 Report on sport at school in England is dramatic

These are the data from the 2023 Report on “Physical Education and School Sport” related to England.

Our children are:


  1. 97% of teachers are concerned about the mental health of young people in their school.
  2. The number of children in England needing treatment for mental health problems has risen by 39% in a year.
  3. 18% of children aged 7 to 16 have a probable mental disorder.
  4. 45% of parents are concerned about their child’s mental health.


  1. 73% of teachers are concerned about the physical health of young people in their school.
  2. Rates of obesity are higher than before the pandemic. In England, prevalence of reception children with obesity is 10.1% and 23.4% for year six children. These are both decreases from last year’s data but are still higher than pre-pandemic.

More distracted

  1. Most parents (78%) believe that children are spending too much time online and not enough time with each other in person.
  2. Over 3 in 5 (62%) of parents believe that digital distractions mean
  3. that their children are spending less time being active.
  4. Almost half (46%) of 7- 8 year olds
  5. and 38% of 9-11 year olds agree they spend more time online or watching TV than they do talking to their family.

Physical activity

  1. Less than half (47%) of young people in England are meeting minimum physical activity levels.
  2. 72% of parents are concerned that young people are not getting enough physical activity, however, only 43% of parents are aware that children should be active
  3. for 60 minutes or more a day.
  4. 54% of children would like to do more exercise or sport than they are currently doing – an increase from 44% in 2014.

PE and school sport

  1. In England, PE hours have fallen in the last decade — a reduction of 11.1% from 326, 277 to 290,033 since 2011.
  2. The number of PE teachers in England has also declined in the last 10 years, from 26,005 in 2011 to 23,708, a fall of 8.8%.
  3. Whilst around half (52%) of practitioners feel that PE, school sport and physical activity are seen as priorities within their schools, a quarter (26%) disagree or strongly disagree that this is the case for their schools.

What we need is:

  1. Urgent action: Build back healthier, happier and more resilient young people and level the playing field for those most disadvantaged.
  2. Generational shift: To balance the demands of the digital age through the human connection of physical play and sport.
  3. Societal change: Transform society’s perceptions and attitudes towards the importance of physical literacy, play and sport in the education and development of young people.

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