Barclays Spaces for Sports publishes a survey looking at the impact of competitive sport on teenagers.
Commissioned on behalf of FairPlay, a rugby-based education programme in the UK, it reveals the vast majority of parents believe sport improves academic performance and behaviour in the classroom.
Four in five parents think it’s important for their teenagers to take part in a competitive sport, while the same number believe being involved in sport can improve academic performance. Almost three quarters agree that competitive sport improves their behaviour in the classroom.
A third agree it promotes personal discipline, with a similar number saying it increases young people’s respect for themselves and others, while a quarter say it helps them adopt a positive attitude.
These values can be very important for ‘at risk’ young people who might otherwise drop out of education and the survey findings offer strong support for FairPlay, a rugby programme working with young people excluded from mainstream education.
Fairplay operates across England, and is a partnership between Wooden Spoon, Barclays Spaces for Sports, the Rugby Football Union and the Enterprise Education Trust. It combines rugby training with classroom-based learning in life, enterprise and financial skills. Barclays Money Skills forms part of the curriculum.
Jason Leonard, the former England rugby player and World Cup winner, said: “These findings show that most parents agree that playing a competitive sport like rugby can have a really positive impact on teenagers.
"We are seeing from programmes like FairPlay that rugby helps young people improve their confidence, self-esteem and attitude, while the discipline of the sport can help them secure qualifications and find employment." FairPlay aims to complete a total of 120 projects across England working with young people in Pupil Referral Units.
Barclays Spaces for Sports is a community sports programme using sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities and tackle key social issues in countries around the world where Barclays operates.
It was launched in the UK in 2004 and extended globally in 2008 and is part of Barclays community investment programme, which last year invested £55 million and the time and skills of more than 62,000 employees to support disadvantaged communities around the world where Barclays operates.