A lesson for girls only

1st February 2008 at 00:00
A Dumfries and Galloway school is engaging teenage girls in exercise by moving away from traditional competitive sports and introducing single-sex classes.

The number of girls attending after-school clubs was dwindling at Stranraer Academy, said Carolyn Taylor, an active schools co-ordinator and PE teacher: "We decided we needed to offer something a bit different."

More than 100 girls in S2 and S3 filled in a questionnaire about PE and extra-curricular sport. They said competitive sport and mixed classes were turning them off. "They are young ladies," said Ms Taylor. "We needed to start thinking about how they perceived themselves and realise they didn't want to emerge from clubs and PE looking bedraggled."

With pound;700 from the local authority, the after-school health club began to offer a wider range of activities, including step and fitball. The help of local leisure-centre staff was also enlisted to lead classes. The school tapped into local businesses, such as beauticians, to offer incentives to attend.

Meanwhile, in PE, the creation of single-sex classes has led to higher participation, particularly in activities such as swimming.

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