Fewer children in Cherwell met the recommended level of activity last year than they did before the pandemic, new figures show.

Sport England said the results of its Active Lives survey show a positive increase in children and young people in England taking up sports but added there is still "more to do".

Figures from Sport England's annual survey in schools across the country reveal 47 per cent of children in Cherwell were classed as active – defined as doing an hour or more of activity per day – in the 2021-22 academic year.

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It was down from 56 per cent the year before, when Covid-19 restrictions heavily impacted children's sports and activities, and was also down from 52 per cent in the pre-pandemic 2017-18 academic year.

Of the 558 children who responded to last year's survey, 18 per cent were classed as fairly active meaning they did between 30 minutes to an hour of activity per day – while 35 per cent did less than half an hour.

The survey also showed 32 per cent of children surveyed in Cherwell had volunteered to support sports and activities. This includes being a sports leader, coaching, stewarding, and refereeing.

Nationally, 3.4 million children (47 per cent) were classed as active, meaning levels of activity overall had recovered to pre-pandemic levels. The survey found 219,000 more children were now classified as active compared to the 2020-21 academic year (45 per cent).

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England chief executive, said: “This overall growth is positive but there’s more to do to help children and young people from all backgrounds enjoy the benefits of sport and physical activity."

The survey also found boys were 5 per cent more likely to be active than girls, and children from less affluent families were found to be 10 per cent less likely to be active than those from more affluent families.

Mr Hollingsworth added there is a "long way to go".

He said: "That’s why we will advocate for children and young people, particularly those facing inequalities and less likely to take part in sport and physical activity, to be given a voice in decisions which affect their experiences to help ensure that those experiences are positive."

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said: "It is very encouraging to see a surge of children and young people returning to enjoy the benefits of physical activity since the pandemic. But I am clear that more still needs to be done."

Mr Andrews added that £230 million will be invested in grassroots facilities and developing a new sports strategy.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1