Children, young people and families

This distinctive theme aims to highlight the voice of all children and young people, valuing their perspectives and the complex social landscapes in which they enact their daily lives. Importantly, we seek to empower all children and young people, including those who may be considered vulnerable and marginalised – for instance, those living in areas of high deprivation, considered ‘at risk’ or living in care – who have, in the past, been excluded from sharing their thoughts and perspectives.

In addition, the Children, Young People and Families theme identifies how sport, physical activity, Physical Education and leisure might be used to aid children and young people’s positive development. However, we know that children and young people in certain family formations are more easily able to access and experience the positive benefits associated with such engagement. Guided by principles of equity, inclusion and social justice we therefore aim to highlight the diverse and complex social landscapes in which children and young people live and how these shape their everyday realities in relation to sport, physical activity, Physical Education and leisure.


In the context of ever changing social, cultural and political conditions, the future choices and opportunities for children and young people to engage with, and develop in and through sport, physical activity, Physical Education and leisure more broadly has never been more important. Understanding how families (in their increasingly complex forms) play a central role in shaping children and young people’s engagement is crucial, yet recognising that many children and young people from diverse and socially vulnerable backgrounds may not have access to the same family environment as their peers is also important and a vital first step to enacting changing.

Research projects

The R2BA project was a two year, British Academy funded project, co-led by Dr Thomas Quarmby and Dr Rachel Sandford (Loughborough University) that examined the sport and physical activity experiences of looked-after children in England.

The B-Active project was funded by the Active Communities Network and led by Dr Thomas Quarmby and involved members of staff across the Carnegie School of Sport, including Dr Nicky Clarke, Dr Fieke Rongen and Dr Danielle Powell. The two year project sought to evaluate the provision of sport and physical activity for young people aged 16-24 from some of the UK's most deprived communities.

Dr tom quarmby