‘Tubby and terrified’: How fear puts girls off PE

The BBC reports that Gracie Rowe used to be terrified of PE. “I was on the tubby side. My personal self-consciousness was like a devil on my shoulder telling me I couldn’t do it.    “It was the fact that I had to move, be active and sweat. I would just stand and watch and mope.”

Hayley Wood-Thompson, Gracie’s PE teacher at The John Warner School in Hertfordshire, says about half of the girls feel the same.

“We offer quite a broad spectrum of activities. There is a dance studio and swimming pool. But lots of the girls are still turned off by it.”

The school now divides its PE programme into pathways, allowing girls and boys to choose how much competitive and outdoors sport to do.

“The girls-only pathway is tailored to boosting levels of confidence. There will be a bit more aerobics, dance, being inside in the winter. So they’re not turned off by being outside in the rain and cold.

“More sporty girls are offered a mixed programme with the less athletic boys – this might involve dodgeball, football and more competitive games.”

Of the teenagers, surveyed by Youth Sport Trust and Women in Sport, more than 80% understood the importance of being active but almost half of boys and nearly two-thirds of girls were less than keen on taking part themselves.

The research suggests lack of confidence is key. Among girls over 14, more than a third said they felt insecure, hated other people watching them and were self-conscious about their bodies.

Almost two-thirds said they disliked competitive PE lessons.

Read the full article ‘Tubby and terrified’: How fear puts girls off PE

Do some girls have confidence issues in your PE lessons? Does the school need to take another look at encouraging girls to enjoy PE? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link 

We now have a Facebook page - pls click to like!


More recent posts...




Residential special schools are 'isolated' and lack ambition, review says
Teaching unions demand immediate 5% pay rise
Categories: Health, Mental Health, Secondary, Sport and Teaching.


  1. wasateacher

    It has been known for years that many girls do not like competitive sport and there have been mixed activities provided for them – this is not news. What should be news is that so many boys are exactly the same – what is provided for them. Perhaps if attitudes changed to boys’ sport, then we will really making improvements. How many boys chose to be goalkeepers because they hated football?

Let us know what you think...