Children and Young People

Strategic Priority

Children and Young People

As a strategic priority set out in the Fit for the Future strategy, Active Essex’s children and young people focus is to ensure every child has the best start to life, whereby they are active, healthy and happy.

This year’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey saw the first full year’s data following the removal of most legal restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst the findings paint a promising picture, it was apparent that a child or young person's ethnicity, gender and family affluence, all impact how likely they are to be physically active.

With their initial two-year implementation plan drawing upon the foundations to level the playing field across the county, Active Essex set out to support those who are already active, and tackle the root causes that currently prevent every child and young person from the life changing impact of an active lifestyle.

decrease in less active children
increase in children reaching CMO guidelines to physical activity
of children in Essex are classed as active

Creating fun, inclusive, and safe opportunities

As physical literacy levels still haven’t recovered pre-pandemic, Active Essex have focused on providing positive experiences of physical activity, by involving children and young people in decisions around the design and delivery of opportunities.

Through the Find Your Active (FYA) campaign and by working with locally trusted organisations, 62 grants have enabled providers to deliver children and young people programmes that offer positive experiences of being active.

Take a look at the Find Your Active children and young people case studies

Children and Young People

Send the Right Message

Providing bouldering sessions for children, and their families to enjoy

STRM Indi Rock
Sport and Physical Activity

Dennis & Dyer Boxing

Beginner sessions for young people, providing the opportunity for them to find their active

Dennis and Dyer
Children and Young People

Time for Change

Inclusive multisport opportunities for young people aged 4-11 years old, living in Harlow

Time for Change

The Essex School Games continue to provide events, leadership, confidence building and exciting competitions for children across the county, and this year saw additional investment from the Commonwealth Games coming to England.

Again, based at Basildon Sporting Village, and arranged by Essex School Game Organisers, activities included athletics, tag rugby, Panathlon, archery, boccia and drumming with African dance. As this years School Games events tied in with the Commonwealth Games, England athletes Jess Tappin and Dan Putnam led a mass Daily Mile event around the track, with many schools taking part.

An event to bring together pupils from schools across the county.
pupils took part in the School Games
schools attended the event
pupils took part in the Daily Mile event

Following International Women’s Day on 8th March, the country saw a huge boost given to level the playing field for next generation of Lionesses. Working with the Youth Sports Trust, Active Essex have been leading this work across the county to ensure more girls can have equal access and positive experiences of playing football at school and in their local community.

As a result, a series of girls Football tournaments to promote Disney inspired sessions, took place across 3 localities, with Chelsea, West Ham and Colchester community clubs delivering the sessions. These tournaments were targeted at year 3 girls, after identifying this age group currently has the lowest participation of football across primary schools.

Hear all about the 3 tournaments that took place across Essex in April 2023

Developing skills for future workforce

The annual PE Conference, which took place in June 2022 had a keynote speaker from Active Essex Chair, Dr William Bird, who discussed the impact physical activity has on children’s health. Attended by headteachers and primary and secondary teachers, sessions covered PE assessments, PE sport premium, wellbeing, targeted interventions and Teach Active.

Ensuring our sector is desirable for young people, highlighting our training and apprenticeship pathways is essential, and Active Essex’s Leaders in Training (LIT) programme has taken place for the second year running. Active Essex funded this programme through delivery at Writtle University College. Young people had the opportunity to complete courses, such as Boing, First Aid, Level 1 Coaching and Youth Mental Health, as well as hear from guest speakers including the team at Essex Professional Coaching.

Helping children and young people to move more

A key initiative adopted by Active Essex, has been the Daily Mile. As a free and simple initiative, it aims to increase physical activity levels of school children by getting them out of the classroom for 15 minutes every day, to run or jog at their own pace.

of primary schools across the county take part in the Daily Mile
pupils across the county participate in the Essex Daily Mile
of schools reported an improvement in pupils physical & mental health

Read the Daily Mile case study

Children and Young People

The Daily Mile in Essex

Take a look at how we implement the initiative in Essex and read our recent evaluation report

The Daily Mile

Improving physical literacy

Active Essex recognise schools and education establishments who go above and beyond, to ensure children have fun and engaging experiences of physical activity and sport. Every year, the Key Stage 1 Awards are held to celebrate schools and children who use innovative methods to stay active during KS1.


Key Learnings

It's important to take time to reflect and understand the learnings from work undertaken, in order to focus on ways to improve in the future.

Healthy School

Aligning Initiatives

Closer align the Key Stage 1 award with the Healthy Schools Programme


Fit for Purpose

Better understand how partners can utilise the KS1 Award at their school

Early Years

Early Years Providers

Recognise providers who put foundations in place for children to be active


Engaging Children

Early years system should be able to confidently provide engaging experiences


Read the Key Stage 1 Award case study

Children and Young People

Improving Physical Literacy

Recognising excellent delivery of physical activity, P.E and school sport in KS1.


Utilising national and international awareness days, Active Essex supported Get On Your Feet Britain Day and the Daily Mile 10 year Anniversary by posting a daily dance livestream. Hosted by the Dance Network Association, the 15 minute livestream took place on the Active Essex YouTube channel, travelling through different Commonwealth countries, covering their national dance themes. Active Essex hoped that this would be an alternative way to complete the Daily Mile and daily exercises, whilst getting in the spirit of the Commonwealth Games.

schools joined in live
video views, since launch
different dance routines

Improving mental health and wellbeing

The improvement of mental wellbeing and resilience of children and families through physical activity has been enhanced by Active Essex working collaboratively with partners who share the same vision. By holding various activity training modules such as Trauma Perceptive Practice (TPP), they hope to develop the mental wellbeing opportunities for those who need additional provision.

delegates attended the Trauma Perceptive Practice course
delegates attended the health and safety course
increase in delegates feeling more confident to deliver safe PE

Not only is it important to ensure the workforce are better equipped to support children and young people’s mental health, it’s also important for Active Essex to design and create initiatives that are easily implemented across clubs and schools. As such, the Walk and Talk toolkit launched in line with Children’s Mental Health Week and helped schools to host a walk and talk event for their pupils. This toolkit included:

  • Conversation topic cards
  • Pledge posters
  • Important values to adopt

Involving young people in decisions

Listening to children and young people, and involving them in decision making is a key priority for Active Essex. Through the Essex School Games, School Games Organisers have been awarded funds to create local mechanisms that empower young people in their area to develop leadership skills and feedback views, opinions and ideas from children in their school. This insight has been used to directly influence how the local school games programmes are delivered, and opportunities are given to children and young people to deliver their ideas and events.


SSP Youth Board Case Study

Children and Young People

Consulting with young people

The SSP team identified a need to focus on youth voice and co-creation

SSP Board

The Multi-school Council are a key partner who showcase the benefits of utilising youth voice. As lead deliverers of the Special School Games, events are designed by young people, which this year included archery, quad athletics, new age kurling, boccia and handball, supported by locally trusted organisations such as ATF and Disability4Sport.

schools attended the Special School Games
schools provided young leaders to support
pupils took part in Special School Games events

Key Learnings

It's important to take time to reflect and understand the learnings from work undertaken, in order to focus on ways to improve in the future.

Report School

Utilise the ECVYS Youth Voice report

The report will encourage system partners to provide more opportunities for young people

Community links

Community groups and organisations

Continue to work with those who have trusted relationships with young people across the county


Locally Trusted Organisations

Empower LTO’s to make changes to encourage more children and young people to be active

Safe environments to be active

Working with partners in Sustainable Travel, Active Essex co-designed a new grant scheme for schools, following RideLondon-Essex 2022. This enabled schools to solve any barriers relating to children and families travelling actively to school.


Active environment case studies on children and young people projects

Active Environments

RideLondon-Essex cycling event

Read about the impact and benefits the cycling festival had on communities

Ride London 1
Active Environments

Supporting schools to travel actively

Active Travel grants were offered to schools in Uttlesford to increase activity levels

Uttlesford Active Travel
schools to deliver an active travel plan
schools awarded funding for active travel initiatives
received from the London Marathon Foundation

Safe environments doesn’t just cover green and blue spaces, it also focuses on the safety of children and young people when participating in physical activity and sport. Ahead of Anti Bullying Week, Active Essex visited a number of Essex ActivAte clubs, to support young people in how to promote good sporting behaviour.

In addition, through the Active Essex Foundation, the charity continues to build capacity in locally trusted organisations and works with partners, such as the Violence and Vulnerability Unit to unite the system and recognise the vital role they play in preventing young people at risk of offending. By enabling them to take part in positive activities that divert them away from entering the youth justice system, it demonstrates the power that physical activity can play on young people and the environment they’re within.


Supporting parents and carers

Working in partnership with the Essex Safeguarding Children’s Board and the National Child Safeguarding Charity, Active Essex launched ‘Safe to Play’; a safeguarding in sport campaign for Essex, providing guidance and support to parents and carers on how to identify safe places for their children to be active.

As a result of the Cost of Living crisis, the Active Essex and Essex ActivAte team created resources, which supported families in need over the winter. Signposting included, place level solutions utilising community spaces for parents, carers and young people to still remain active. Department of Education funding to deliver holiday and food programmes, also helps to support families in the school holidays.


Read about Essex ActivAte

Strengthening Communities

Free holiday and food clubs

Supporting eligible children, young people, and their families across the county

Essex Activ Ate Canoe
Essex County Council recognise the importance of ongoing support for families, during the school holidays, including the Half Terms. The programme not only offers a safe place for children to get active, make friends and learn new skills, but it also enables those eligible for benefits based free school meals to continue receiving tasty, nutritious meals during the holidays, alongside their free school meal vouchers.
Councillor Louise McKinlay, ECC Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community, Equality, Partnerships and Performance

Essex children and young people partnership plan

Upon reflection, since becoming further embedded in the Essex ecosystem, it became apparent to the children and young people team that Active Essex needed to contribute to the outcomes set out within the Essex Children and Young People’s Partnership Plan. After making positive strides towards strengthened relationships, the team gained a seat at the Children’s Partnership Board. Therefore, the next implementation plan will prioritise the four outcomes and build positive opportunities and attitudes towards physical activity and sport, in turn aligning to system outcomes for our children and young people.