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Barriers to Participation in Pe and Sport That Exist Among Children and Adolescents: A Literature Review

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Barriers To Participation In PE And Sport That Exist Among Children And Adolescents: A Literature Review.

Abstract: The primary focus of the literature review aims to present a full spectrum of barriers young adolescents encounter when wishing to participate in sport. This review of literature also aims to offer reasons for these low participation levels in Britain and will highlight the barriers that are most difficult to overcome to participate in sport and discover which adolescents are most likely to participate in sport. This was achieved by identifying the major barriers from examining a broad a range of scholarship and empirical research on the area and placing each barrier into one of four categories: personal barriers, social barriers, school sport and physical education experience barriers and environmental barriers. After consulting the literature it was discovered that the adolescents most likely to participate in sport were those that coincide with the least amount of barriers. However, the review of literature finds no correlation between participation and low-income families, it was four main barriers that proved to be the biggest barriers instead: gender, race and ethnicity, provision of local facilities and disability.

Keywords: Sport, Participation, Barriers, Adolescents and P.E

Introduction

Sport in modern day Britain plays a very significant role in society. But why is it that; if Britain has this undoubted passion for sport, is there such low participation levels?

One thing that is clear in Britain, there are many different forms of barriers that hinder individuals from participating in sport, especially amongst young adolescents and this could offer one explanation to this question. (Kremer 1997) This notion is also echoed by a number of other authors such as Hylton & Bramham (2007) and Woods (2007).

This review of literature aims to offer reasons for these low participation levels in Britain by examining a broad range of scholarship and empirical research in the area of adolescent barriers to participation in sport and will come to a conclusion that will highlight the barriers that are most difficult to overcome to participate in sport and discover which adolescents are most likely to participate in sport. It is also the aim of the review of literature to discuss what has been done to eradicate these barriers.

Currently there has been a number of movements in recent times by the department culture, media and sport such as increasing funding, creating targets and using the Olympic legacy to increase the participation rates in young people and reducing the amount of barriers that could intervene an individual, who wishes to participate in sport. According to the department of culture, media and sport's latest document released in May of 2010 it showed that during the period of 2005-2006 to 2007-2008 Sport England spent 660million (Sport England is a non-departmental public body which the department funds and oversees.) to promote sport and physical activity to 'priority groups'. The aim was to increase participation levels in these 'priority groups' by 3%. These priority groups were identified by Sport England as; women, black and ethnic minorities, people effected by limiting disability, and people from lower socio-economic groups. (National Audit Office 2010) The Department did not meet its overall target for participation in culture or sport or the two sub-targets for sport: weekly participation in 'moderate intensity sport' amongst priority groups increased by between 0.1 per cent and 1.8 per cent; monthly participation in 'active sport' decreased in all but one of the priority groups, and participation by women, the largest group, fell by 1.6 per cent.

The government in 2002 stepped in and increased the minimum number of hours of compulsory P.E. in secondary schools to 2 hours per week. By doing this the Government hope to install young children with a 'love for sport that will last a lifetime'. (Labour's Game Plan 2002) This is due to the fact that currently 60% of children drop out of sport after school. (Known as the 'post 16 gap') (Honeybourne et al 2004) The post 16 gap has been pinpointed as one of the areas where participation drops off significantly and is one of the reasons responsible for the increase in the amount of obese young people. In answer to this one of the possible solutions to combat the loss of the level of participation in young people is by increasing club links with schools and offering a greater range of sports so everyone can find something that they enjoy. (Cale & Harris 2005) Furthermore, it is also important to ask the question why is Britain the 'fattest' country in the European Union? (Squire 2007:341) These questions directly correlate to the title of this review of literature and will be answered by offering possible explanations and insights into the barriers to sporting participation.

After identifying the rationale of this review of literature it is important to understand and introduce the current position of sport within the UK; one of the main motivations for the production of review of literature.

The Government currently spends a total of 2.2bn a year on sport. This is a significant number considering that only 46% of the population participate in exercise 12 times or more a year. These figures appear worthy of ridicule when compared to Britain's international counterparts, Australia 57%, Sweden 70% and Finland 80%. (All figures from Labours Game Plan 2002)

In 2002 the Government's answer to these poor participation figures was to initiate a Government strategy known as 'Game Plan'. The Government programme 'Game Plan' works on the basis of the 'twin track' approach. The 'twin track' approach focuses on two aspects of sport that the Government deems most important. The Government recognises that the nation has a passion for sport and seeing the nation do well in major sporting events gives the population a sense of pride in their country and the Government believe that international success in elite sport is something that needs developing, and developing elite sport is one of the approaches taken. From 'Game Plan' has come the development of the TASS scheme, that aims to financially help the developing young elite performers in the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme. (TASS) TASS provides funding for talented athletes so that they can combine sport and education together ensuring that drop out rates of elite performers decrease. (DCMS 2004)

The other constituent to the 'twin track' approach

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