The This Wilts Girl Can Festival is a newly developed event in the Wiltshire & Swindon School Games Calendar. It is a one-day event which shifts from the competitive focus of the school games to exercise for fun, health and friendship. The festival is delivered exclusively to year 7 girls (aged 11/12) who have been identified as most at risk of dropping out of sport and physical activity.
The festival aims to offer a non-traditional and female-centred experience of physical activity by allowing girls to participate in taster sessions in three activities, chosen due to their potential to increase and sustain participation. The design of the festival has been informed by research and recommendations by the YST.
- By age 7 girls are already less active than boys and this disparity widens as they move from childhood into adolescence
- Secondary-age girls are more likely to experience barriers to participation than boys.
- The biggest drop-off occurs during the transition from primary to secondary school, with disruption to friendship groups and declining body confidence affecting girls’ participation in PE and sport.
Youth Sport Trust recommendations:
- Take a long-term approaching to engaging girls
- Put developing self-confidence at the heart of PE
- Make PE and sport relevant to girls' lives
- Recognize the power of friends to drive progress
- Develop role models for the future
- Empower girls to design and deliver PE and sport
Here are some highlights from our 2020 festival: