Active Schools participation on the rise following COVID-19 pandemic

Active Schools participation on the rise following COVID-19 pandemic

Participation in Active Schools programmes across Dundee is on the rise again as school sport continues to recover from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Data published by Scotland’s national agency for sport, sportscotland, shows significantly increased participation levels across the past academic year (2022/23), with over 124,271 visits to Active Schools sessions in Dundee, a rise of 15% on 2021/22. The number of participants, sessions, deliverers, and club/school links also increased over the same period.

Active Schools programmes across Dundee and the rest of Scotland, only resumed last year (2021/22) after being significantly impacted by COVID-19 public health measures and protections, with local authorities prioritising the delivery of core education in schools. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Active Schools is now showing strong signs of recovery.

Active Schools Dundee performance:

  2021/22 2022/23 Increase
Visits 107,608 124,271 15%
Participants 6,777 6,874 1%
Sessions 6,098 7,418 22%
Deliverers 386 453 17%
Club/school links 87 105 21%


Chief Executive of sportscotland, Forbes Dunlop, said: “The Active Schools network is a hugely important part of Scotland’ sporting system. For many young people it is where their sporting journey begins, so we are pleased to see participation levels rise again.

“While we are still not at pre-pandemic levels, we are now starting to see very strong signs of recovery and we will continue to support our partners in all 32 local authorities to ensure that the progress made over the past 12 months continues across this academic year.

“Schools across the country understandably prioritised core education following COVID-19 but there has been an undoubted commitment from local authorities across the country to ensure that sport and physical activity returns to the heart of school life.”

Sports Minister Maree Todd said, “It’s fantastic that Active Schools participation has risen significantly since last year. This important programme provides children with opportunities to take part in sport before, during and after school. That’s why the Scottish Government and sportscotland are working together to ensure that Active Schools programmes will be free for all children and young people by the end of this Parliament.”

Dundee Active Schools Manager, James Fenna, said: “It is great to see that we have managed to increase sport and physical activity participation across Dundee Schools. The increase in participation can be attributed to the hard work of Leisure and Culture Dundee’s Active Schools team and the good will and commitment of community coaches, sports club’s teachers, and other volunteers. On the back of the Pandemic, it was very challenging to reestablish school sport, however, we are now seeing the rewards.”

Active Schools aims to provide more and higher quality opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity before school, during lunchtime and after school, and to develop effective pathways between schools and sports clubs in the local community. It is delivered in partnership between sportscotland and all 32 local authorities.

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