How the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey Can Support Your School

The Active Lives Children and Young People Survey is a world-leading approach to collecting data on how children participate in sport and physical activity. This provides valuable insight for those working with children aged five to sixteen.

The survey offers schools, Sport England, the government, and other partners a comprehensive understanding of children’s activity levels and behaviours, enabling them to shape future policy and investment decisions. This short video from Sport England explains more about the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey.

Key Points from the Latest Report

Here are some key points from the latest Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 2022-23 Report, published in December 2023:

  • Children and young people’s overall activity levels are stable as the initial recovery from the pandemic was maintained across the 2022-23 academic year.
  • It means only 47% of children are meeting the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of taking part in an average of 60 minutes or more of sport and physical activity a day.
  • Significant inequalities remain in activity levels, with Black (40%) and Asian (40%) children and young people, and those from the least affluent families (44%), still less likely to play sport or be physically active than the average across all ethnicities and affluence groups. Girls (44%) are also less likely to be active than boys (51%).
  • There are 68,000 (1.5%) more girls playing football since the Lionesses won the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022. There are now 845,000 girls playing the game in England, an increase of 176,000 (4%) since the 2017-18 academic year.
  • There are also one million (11.5%) more children and young people walking, cycling or scootering to get to places than there were five years ago (academic year 2017-18), as increases in active travel during the pandemic have been maintained since society returned to normal.
  • Children and young people from the least affluent families are the least likely to be active, with only 44% meeting the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines – compared to 55% of those from the most affluent families.
  • The number of children doing no activity at all in the previous seven days has increased with 127,000 more children (1.4%) falling into this category compared to 2017-18, meaning there are now more than 600,000 children in England doing no activity at all.

Taking Part in the Survey

Each term, a number of schools in England will be randomly selected to take part in the survey. The aim is to get 100,000 children and young people in Years 1 to 11 to complete it each academic year. Every school that takes part receives a bespoke report from Sport England detailing the results from their pupils.

We work with schools across the county to support the collection of data for the Active Lives Children and Young People survey. Below is a link to the list of Devon schools randomly selected to take part in the survey during the academic year 2023-24. You can email the Early life team via if you’re on the list and would like to find out more. Please also contact us if you’re not on the list and would like to take part.

School Resources

To make taking part as easy as possible for schools, Sport England has prepared a number of guidance documents. The documents include school guides that encompass the key information schools need to know.

How Devon Schools Are Using Their Survey Results to Support Their Work

Once schools have their bespoke reports, we will work with them to implement changes based on their learning. Below are two video showing examples of how schools have utilised their results to support their work and improve their practice.

Primary PE Coordinator, JP is using the school report from the survey to target interventions effectively. Such as, to have a record of the ‘child’s voice’ about school sport and to support decisions around the spending of the Primary PE and School Sport Premium. Plus, to establish an overall picture of emotional wellbeing as perceived by the young people in his setting, themselves.

Secondary PE teacher, Helen is using the results of the survey to support her planning of the curriculum. This is to ensure that the sports and activities offered tie-up with those preferred by the young people in her school community. This is leading to a review of the physical activities offered at playtime, lunchtime and after-school provision. Helen will also be extending the scope of the survey by rolling it out across the whole school in the near future.

Active Lives Children and Young People Survey Webinar

To support schools in Devon, we hosted and delivered the webinar shown in the video above. The webinar covers important and useful information about the survey. It explains the process, highlights how the national and local data can support school improvement, and shows the benefits that are associated with adopting the survey.

“The children seemed to be quite engaged and happy to answer the questions whilst completing the survey.”

“The Year 2 survey is great; the children are able to complete it fairly quickly and it is at the correct level for the children. They enjoyed doing it.”