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Tackling Inactivity in Colleges

Nearly one in five students at further education colleges in England are not active enough.

That’s 138,000 young people who are doing less than the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

We want to change that, which is why we’ve invested £5 million across 49 colleges to help more students live active lives.

A group of college girls playing netball.

Why we’re investing in further education 

We know that students who go to a further education college are typically more inactive than students who attend sixth form in a school or go to university, partly because it’s the first time many are not doing compulsory sport.

Colleges also educate more students from lower socio-economic groups, as well as more Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and students with a disability. 

All these groups are traditionally less likely to be active for a variety of reasons.

How our investment is making a difference

As well as traditional activities, like gym and fitness classes, self-defence, and yoga and Pilates, there are lots of new activities being used by the colleges.

They include Raveminton, which involves playing badminton under ultra-violet (UV) lights with fluorescent lines, neon nets and shuttlecocks sprayed with UV paint.

Tag American football, bubble football – where five-a-side football players go up against each while wearing an inflatable orb – and Parkour are just some of the other more non-traditional activities we're funding to get students active.

The colleges have designed their projects to also help the students more broadly.

Many colleges will respond to mental health concerns about their students by establishing a mental health referrals system.

Others will also offer a ‘fit for work’ programme to prepare students for the physical demands of the workplace.

Example projects

With the Tackling Inactivity in Colleges coming to a close in 2021, we've produced a report covering the impact and learnings from the programme.

Our partnership with the AoC

We also invest in Association of Colleges (AoC) Sport to support our work within the further education sector. 

AoC Sport engages the audiences at the heart of our strategic priorities, and support our aim to increase the number of children and young people who have a positive attitude towards sport and physical activity.

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