A study to explore girls’ participation in sport, drawing a comparison between girls from a state and independent school.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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There is growing concern about girls’ participation in sport. Research suggests that decline is most evident in girls aged 12. Previous research has attempted to establish potential motives and barriers to girls’ participation in sport, targeting schools for their studies. The research implies that socioeconomic status (SES) operates as a barrier to participation, and that family SES effects sport participation. Therefore, this study used a state and independent school differeing in SES, to draw a comparison between girls participation in sport. However, the literature recognises the complexities of girls relationships with sport, and suggests it is influenced by a number of factors. Previous research was used to inform the current study and answer four research questions; (1) Why do girls participate in sport? (2) What are the barriers to girls participation in sport? (3) Does state or independent schooling impact the reasons why girls participate in sport? (4) What would encourage girls to participate in sport? The study involved year nine girls from an independent and state school (n=17), from the South Wales area. A qualitative approach was adopted to collect data from questionnaires, and focus groups conducted at each school. Thematic analysis was used to code all transcriptions of focus groups, in addition to questionnaires, enabling the researcher to establish categories and themes to discuss. The findings from the study demonstrated; accessibility and confidence were key barriers to girls sport participation within this study; no noteable differences were found between the reasons for girls’ participation in sport from the two schools; barriers and facilitators to sport participation corroborate previous research. Furthermore, this study highlights that girls’ participation in sport is highly contextualised and requires further research. Future research could explore the quality of Physical Education (PE) lessons within independent and state schools, and how PE effects girls’ participation, as well as exploring year 6 girls behaviours to help sustain older girls’ participation.
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