Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 2022-23

Ipsos conducted the sixth year of this ongoing survey on behalf of Sport England during the 2022-23 academic year. Sport England commissioned Ipsos to design and carry out the survey to inform their own strategy and the strategies of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The author(s)
  • Dr. Margaret Blake Public Affairs
  • Claire Bhaumik Public Affairs
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The survey, carried out by Ipsos on behalf of Sport England received responses from over 140,000 pupils, parents, and teachers from a total of 1,666 schools. The survey was carried out online throughout the autumn, spring, and summer terms 2022-23 in a sample of schools across England. Pupils in school years 1-2 and their parents, pupils in school years 3-11, and one teacher per school completed questionnaires. Active Partnerships, School Games Organisers, and other organizations involved in supporting sports in schools recruited the schools to take part.

In this report comparisons are made with data from the baseline year of the survey (2017-18) and the previous survey year (2021-22). The report highlights longer term trends over the last five years as well as progress over the last 12 months in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The report covers the overall amount of sport and physical activity young people are engaged in, different activities prevalent in different year groups, and the attitudes of children and young people towards sport and physical activity. For the first time findings on opportunities to be physically active are included. Other topics include volunteering in support of sports and physical activity, swimming ability and access to swimming lessons, wellbeing and loneliness. The report explores socio-economic inequalities and large sample sizes allow for analysis of activity level and volunteering by active partnership, local authority, and region to identify geographical inequalities.  The report also explores associations between wellbeing, individual and community development and participation in sport, physical activity and volunteering. 

  • The report, including data tables and a technical note, has been published on the Sport England website .
  • The reports from previous academic years (2017-18 to 2021-22) of the survey (years 1 to 5) are available here: Active Lives Children and Young People Survey.
  • To celebrate National Children's Day #NCDUK2023, which this year focussed on a Healthy Childhood, Ipsos put out some short videos about how we developed the survey and adapted it during the pandemic, and what it tells us about the importance of active play for young children.

Technical note

  • A sample of schools was drawn from the Department for Education's list of schools (Get information about schools 2021-22), including state primary, state secondary, and independent schools. The survey was carried out across the whole academic year with each selected school allocated to a term. Up to three year groups were selected from each school and one class within each year group invited to take part.
  • The published pupil level data are weighted to match the population as closely as possible. The technical note provides detailed information on sampling, weighting, confidence intervals, and population estimates. In 2022-23 teacher data have been weighted for the first time.
  • The questionnaire collected detailed information on participation in various sports and physical activities both in and outside of school over the previous week including information on the type of activity, time spent, intensity, and whether indoors or outdoors. This information was used to create the derived activity variables presented in the report.  The survey also included questions relating to key outcomes in Sport England’s strategy such as wellbeing, individual and community development, volunteering, and sports spectating. Socio-demographic information at pupil and school level allowed for analysis of inequalities in sports participation (differences including gender, age, affluence, ethnicity, disability and income deprivation of the local area). Questions on swimming proficiency and confidence were also included in the survey. The questions asked across the questionnaire varied based on the pupil's year group. Details of the questions, derived variables and definitions are provided in the technical note.
  • Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey continued with adaptations that allowed pupils to complete it from home as needed throughout 2020 and 2021. In the 2022-23 academic year COVID-19 did not affect the survey and no adaptations were needed. The results in this report allow comparison across the last five years of the survey, including during the pandemic.  The demographic measure of family affluence which includes a question about holidays taken outside England could not be used in a consistent way during the pandemic because of restrictions on travel so for 2020-21 and 2021-22 differences by affluence are not shown in the tables.

Active Lives Children and Young People Survey data from survey years 1 to 5 (2017-18 to 2021-22) are available from the UK Data Service.

The author(s)
  • Dr. Margaret Blake Public Affairs
  • Claire Bhaumik Public Affairs

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