Inclusive Sport for Young People


Research within this theme considers sport, Physical Education and physical activity for young people with disabilities who are of school age. Young people with disabilities are disproportionately underrepresented in sport-related research, and are also less likely than same age peers to participate in regular sport or physical activity both in and outside of school. The research carried out in this theme aims to better understand the barriers and facilitators to inclusive sport and physical activity for young people, so that best practice recommendations for improving and increasing participation in sport for this population can be determined. To achieve our aims, we often work closely with schools, charities and other organisations to evaluate the implementation of programmes designed to increase participation in sport and / or Physical Education for young people with a range of additional support needs. We also work to develop novel methodologies which allow us to engage a diverse population of young people in our research, including participatory methods like vlogging.  

Current projects include:

  • Inclusive sport in the School Games – this PhD research being undertaken by Lesley Sharpe aims to investigate inclusion within the School Games - a competitive Olympic style multi-level inclusive school sport framework.
  • An evaluation of Access Sports’ Flyerz Hockey programme – this project aims to identify how existing hockey clubs implement an inclusive hockey programme for young people with disabilities in their respective communities to determine facilitators of effective practice. 
  • An evaluation of Youth Sport Trusts’ Inclusion 2020 project – This project evaluates an extensive programme of activities within the national inclusion school network whose role it is to deliver a range of projects to improve and increase opportunity for young people with additional support needs to engage in school sport.
  • Roles and experiences of parents of young athletes on the parasport pathway – This qualitative study explored the experiences of parents who have a child engaged with elite completive para-sport to better understand the role that parents play in facilitating young people’s engagement in competitive parasport.