active lives

Active Lives Survey for Children and Young People: Your FAQs

The class selection grid will be needed to randomly select classes to complete the survey within every school that agrees to participate.

Whilst Sport England acknowledges that it would be easier for the schools to choose classes themselves, this approach may lead to a biased sample that does not reflect all children and young people.

The only case where the selection grid is not required, is where only one class exists in the year group of interest. This is most likely to occur in smaller primary schools.

Why are there no special schools within the lists randomly selected schools?

Sport England deliberated over this decision during the survey development but chose not to include special schools for the following reasons:

It is acknowledged that children and young people attending special schools are likely to be those with more severe conditions for whom completing a survey is likely to be a challenge.

Sport England are aware that information about this specific group of children and young people will not be captured via the survey. However, it will continue considering how best to understand the challenges faced by this group when it comes to being active.

Why are not all questions related to sport or physical activity?

The questionnaires for parents and pupils in Year 3 upwards contain some questions that ask about demographics, wellbeing and self-efficacy. These questions are asked to help understand how these factors impact on young people’s engagement in sport and physical activity.

At the end of the questionnaire, there are a series of questions about the young person’s family:

These questions form the basis of the Family Affluence Scale which has been developed as a means of getting an indication of the socioeconomic status of a young person. Different to the kind of employment and occupation questions typically asked of adults, these questions are ones that young people should be able to answer with reasonable confidence and accuracy.

Sport England feel it is important to gather this sort of information because socioeconomic status impacts on young people’s engagement in sport and physical activity and tackling this is a priority. The Family Affluence Scale has been successfully used in other surveys including the World Health Organisation’s Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Survey.

The questionnaires also include questions on trusting people of a similar age and finding something difficult. These are asked to help understand the level of trust young people have in their peer group/community and their self-efficacy/resilience. These emphasise, and help Sport England understand, the positive role sport and physical activity can and should play in the development of individuals and communities.

When will school reports and/or sample reports be available?

Each sampled school that participates in the Active Lives: Children and Young People survey will receive a unique report displaying the results for their individual school. These reports, in a PowerPoint format, have been designed to share results in an accessible and engaging way and provide a further incentive for schools to take part. National level comparison data will be included in these reports from 2019 to allow schools to compare their results to the national picture. The reports will not only provide schools with valuable information regarding sport and physical activity amongst their pupils, but will hopefully be used to encourage further discussions regarding their physical education offering to pupils, highlighting areas the school may wish to focus on and improve.

Depending on who has completed the survey, the following topics as well as information regarding the sample and methodology are provided:

You will be sent your bespoke report in the term following completion of the surveys. In all cases, the reports will be emailed directly to the school and it will be up to you to decide whether or not to share your reports with Active Devon.

Sample reports are available in our Download section here.

Can schools swap randomly selected year groups?

No. Unfortunately, schools cannot swap their randomly selected year groups. The random selection is important to keep the overall sample evenly spread and if swaps were permitted then it may become skewed towards particular year groups.

It is preferable for all three year groups to complete the survey but if some of them cannot then responses for one or two year groups are better than none and the school would still receive their incentive.

What are the incentives for primary schools if parents of their pupils complete the survey and is the survey confidential and anonymous for parents?

Sport England will continue to offer all schools £100 for completing the survey.

In the case of primary schools where a Year 1 or 2 class is selected, Sport England will offer an additional £50 for every 5 parents who complete the survey. This acknowledges the extra effort required by primary schools to get parents engaged.

There is no cap on the incentive but schools should be aware that only one parent per child should complete the survey.

The survey is confidential and anonymous for parents as it is for all respondents. It does ask parents to provide some information about their child (e.g. gender, age, day and month of birth) which helps match parent and child responses. However, it does not ask for any direct information about the parents themselves. If parents are not comfortable providing their child’s day and month of birth they can skip past that question.

What is the minimum of responses needed for a school level report?

The threshold of pupil responses is 30 per school, rather than 30 per class. The incentive payment will be made in any case if completed by the deadline given.

Can a school opt-in to complete the survey that isn’t on the random sample?

Other schools, outside those who are randomly selected, can take part in the survey. However, no cash incentives will be available for these schools although they will receive a school level report that summarises their results.

The school should understand that they may be randomly selected at any time and must provide their assurance that, if they take part on an opt-in basis, they will still take part when randomly selected in a subsequent academic year.

If it is likely that the school will be randomly selected later in the current year, Sport England will ask the school to wait until they are randomly selected so that they get the benefit of taking part in the survey but their responses can also be included in the national random sample. If it is unlikely that the school will be randomly selected later in the current year, Sport England will work with Active Partnerships and the school to explain how the opt in process works.

Other year groups and/or classes, in schools who are randomly selected, can also take part in the survey. Whole year groups or other classes can complete the survey but a single class within the specified year groups will still need to be randomly selected. The randomly selected classes will complete the survey using the previously provided URLs and additional URLs will be provided for other year groups and/or classes.

It is important to note that any data obtained from these other schools, year groups and/or classes will not be included in the national or local authority level annual reporting because they won’t have been randomly selected. The school level report will include all of the data collected by the school.

Should you wish to opt into the survey please contact us via email to We will liaise with Sport England as necessary and each school will be considered on a case by case basis depending on the likelihood of that school appearing in the random sample later in the current year.