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Young disabled people should sit out of PE lessons

Who says we can't change perceptions about disability, inclusion, and sport? 

Watch this film and access positive stories, resources, and guidance to challenge your own and other's perceptions. 

Watch young disabled people should sit out of PE lessons film

(Young disabled people should sit out of PE lessons transcript)

Who Says? Campaign Logo

Who says? – our exciting campaign is back and this time it’s all about children and young people. Join us in calling time on negative perceptions about disability, inclusion, and sport.

This phase of the campaign focuses on changing attitudes towards disabled children and young people in sport and activity. The campaign films explore four negative perceptions that can impact a disabled child’s opportunities to be active. Attitudes can make or break activity experiences. In society, disabled people of all ages experience countless harmful opinions that lead to marginalisation, low confidence, and inactivity. That's why changing attitudes is crucial in ensuring a future active generation.

This page responds to Activity Alliance and others' research and insight on the perception – Young disabled people should sit out of PE lessons.

What do we know? 

Insight from our 2020 research report – My Active Future: including every child 

    • Only a quarter (25%) of disabled children say they take part in sport and activity all of the time at school, compared to 41% of non-disabled children. 
    • Four in ten (38%) disabled children would like to take part in more sport and physical activity, compared to 28% of non-disabled children.
    • Eight in ten (80%) disabled children like or don’t mind PE – so most children are not against taking part.

We continually hear in findings: 

    • Many disabled children gave reports that they were unable to join in for certain activities and games. And some are left out of PE altogether.
    • Disabled children sit on the side-lines for activities, or in separate rooms where they do homework, low-impact activities, or receive physiotherapy.
    • Parents and children felt that teachers don’t always have the knowledge to adapt activities or are overly worried about a child’s impairment.

Calling time on this perception

Our experiences of physical activity in school last a lifetime. They have a huge impact on how active we stay as we grow older. No child should be forgotten or miss out on reaping the benefits of PE or activity in their school environment. It is not right or fair that disabled children or young people still talk about feeling left out or receiving inferior treatment in PE.

We know there are lots of schools and teachers leading the way on inclusive PE provision across the country. And with excellent inclusive training and ongoing support available for teachers and other school staff, things can only get better. Activity Alliance and our members have ways to support you to ensure disabled children never have to sit out again.

Who says? empowers people, on and off the field of play, to challenge their own and others’ perceptions.

PE teacher supporting a visually impaired pupil in Parkour session. Inclusion 2024 

This project is funded by the Department of Education and led by the Youth Sport Trust on behalf of a consortium of organisations including Activity Alliance, the British Paralympic Association, nasen, and Swim England. Inclusion 2024 aims to increase and improve opportunities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to engage and participate in physical education and school sport.

The programme will: 

  • Improve the quality of schools’ PE and sports teaching and provision for pupils with SEND
  • Increase opportunities for pupils with SEND to achieve 30 active minutes within the school day
  • Increase the engagement and participation of pupils with SEND with PE and school sport
  • Improve the quality of swimming and water safety lessons for pupils with SEND
  • Facilitate integration of PE and school sport provision for pupils with SEND.

Find out more about Inclusion 2024 

School Games inclusive health check 

In partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, we developed the School Games Inclusive Health Check. This resource supports key delivery agents across the School Games Network to provide more opportunities that include young disabled people.

Your School Games - Inclusive sport

Inclusive PE eLearning Portal 

Sainsbury's Active Kids for All Inclusive PE Training Portal provides free eLearning resources for teachers and school staff. The interactive modules will support you to improve your confidence, knowledge, and skills to include, challenge, and progress all pupils by embedding inclusive practice in your lessons. 

Sign up to access free inclusive PE eLearning resources  

Inclusive PE activity cards 

Activity Alliance and partners have created a series of inclusive PE activity cards for teachers and school staff. The cards are jam-packed with fun games and activities, and support teachers to ensure their PE lessons are inclusive and accessible for all school pupils.

Inclusive PE activity card resources for schools 

All Move Challenge – Mencap 

The All Move Challenge is a Mencap physical activity initiative for schools and youth groups which support 11-16 year olds with a learning disability (school years 7-11). All Move takes the format of a virtual marathon – 26 hours of activity – and has been designed to increase the opportunities for young people with a learning disability to get and stay physically active. It aims to embed an enjoyment of physical activity within the challenge, outside of the challenge and beyond the challenge!

Visit All Move website

At Every Stage – Dwarf Sports Association UK (DSAuk)

This guide provides teachers and education professionals with useful advice and recommendations on how they can ensure the health and wellbeing of children and young people with dwarfism and deliver inclusive school sport and activity. 

View DSAuk At Every Stage Guide

Activity Alliance Profiling Tooklit

Our profiling toolkit enables teachers, coaches, and physiotherapists to identify ability, measure progress and develop the talent of every disabled child and adult.

Activity Alliance Profiling Toolkit

National Disability Sports Organisations

The National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are a good starting point for advice, support, and opportunities. They can provide useful information on adapting sports for people of all ages with specific impairments. Many of the NDSOs hold fun sports events for children and young people throughout the year.

The eight NDSOs are: British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sports Association UK, LimbPower, Mencap, Special Olympics Great Britain, UK Deaf Sport and WheelPower.

Find out more about National Disability Sports Organisations

Call time on negative perceptions with us

Taking the conversation beyond the #WhoSays hashtag is important to us. It’s crucial we talk honestly and openly about matters that affect disabled people’s activity, like policy, funding, and the media. We hope this campaign leads to bigger conversations, greater collaboration, and wider systemic responses.

If you, or your organisation would like to get involved, has a story to share, or you have a great idea for the campaign, please contact or call 0161 200 5443.

Get involved and join the conversation on social media – share the films and add your voice to the campaign by posting your own experiences using #WhoSays.

Who says we can’t change this perception and more? Thank you for your support.  

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