Sport and educational achievement

Does participation in sport deliver educational benefits for young people? Karen Schucan Bird, Mark Newman, and Janice Tripney have examined the research

INCREASING YOUNG PEOPLE’S participation in sport has become a policy priority in the UK. With the forthcoming Olympics and ambitious targets for increasing participation, many initiatives have been developed to encourage young people to play sport. This article summarises the findings of a systematic review that examined just this issue. The research analysed the impact of young people’s participation in sport on their educational outcomes.

What we know
● Organised sport or educational activities linked to organised sport may “work” to deliver educational improvements for young people.
● Playing organised sport may improve young people’s numerical skills.
● Participation in extracurricular learning activities linked to sport may provide educational benefits for underachieving pupils. These include improvements in numeracy and transferable skills.

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June 2012