On 14th January, Sport England released the latest Active Lives data for children and young people, relating to the academic year 2019-20. 

The number of children and young people who were physically active fell during the 2019/20 academic year in England, as first storms and then the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic restricted the type of activities available.

The figures show 44.9% of children and young people (3.2 million) met the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more a day.

Here is our overview of the whole report, including data for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin.

Activity Levels:

  • So whilst Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin have more active children and fewer less active children than the national average, we saw a bigger decline in the number of active children and a bigger increase in the number of less active.

  • Years 3-6 have the lowest activity levels and the biggest increase in the number of less active children (+4.2% vs last year)

  • Years 1 & 2 and 3-6 activity levels have fallen (-6.3% and -4.4% respectively) whilst activity levels for year 9-11 have increased (+3.9%)

All data below relates to England as a whole.


  • Boys are more active than girls (47% vs 43%) but last year boys’ activity levels fell by 3.5% whilst girls’ activity levels didn’t change.

  • The biggest impact of Covid on activity levels was with boys in years 5-6


  • Less affluent families are the group least likely to be active (38% vs 53% for high affluence families)

  • Activity levels for children from medium or high affluence families remain unchanged but activity levels for children from lower affluence families have decreased by 3.7%



  • Black children are less likely to be active (35% vs 48% of White other children)

  • The gender gap in activity levels is widest among Asian and black children (Asian boys 47% vs Asian girls 36% and Black boys 42% vs Black girls 28%)


Types of activity:

  • Unsurprisingly, there has been a large decrease in sporting activities (-16.3%) but walking to get to places has increased by 10% and going for a walk by 4.3%

  • Children in years 7-11 have shown increases in gym and fitness and cycling



  • There has been no change in attitudes to sport – over half of children still enjoy it and two thirds of children understand why exercise and sport is good for them

  • 39% of children feel confident taking part in sport although Covid impacted this figure in the summer with fewer children agreeing that they felt confident taking part or that they found it easy.


Happiness/Resilience/Social Trust and Loneliness levels:

  • Active children are happier (7.1 score vs 6.7 for less active) but the happiness score for active children is down by 0.2 points from last year

  • Active children are more resilient - they will keep going to achieve something they find difficult compared to less active children (40% vs 32%)this is down from last year for active children but up for less active (45% vs 31%)

  • Social trust levels are higher in active children (27% vs 22% for less active children)

  • Young people who engage in physical activity are less likely to be lonely.

  • Loneliness levels are highest in the following groups:
    • Those children with a disability or LTHC – 24%
    • Least affluent children – 13%
    • Teenagers – 12%

For any questions on this report, please contact Claire Mansfield

For the full Sport England Report Click Here