Opportunities to offer your views
Following the UK wide proposal from all HCAFs (Home Country Athletics Federations) to consider changing the age groups of competition, we have now reached the next phase of the consultation process.
Building on the successful webinar series that engaged over 330 people, we are now asking for further feedback from clubs, member bodies, athletes, coaches, officials and parents through two surveys.
- The surveys will be open from 26 September until 23 October.
- The survey results will be analysed alongside the feedback already provided through the process so far and a summary report will be presented to the Board and England Council on 30 October.
- A final recommendation from England Athletics will be included in those made to the UKA Rules Group by all HCAFs ahead of the UKA deadline of 31 October.
- The UKA Rules Group will then make their own recommendation to the UKA Board to consider at their meeting in December (as per the published time frame that we have been working to since the start of the process in March 2023).
All Home Countries have held a series of webinars consulting with the sport. All who attended the webinar had the opportunity to ask questions or feedback comments on the proposal. At the end of each webinar an informal poll was held to gauge the opinions of those in the room.
- Watch a recording of the third webinar
(hosted on 20 September by England Athletics and Welsh Athletics).
- View the webinar presentation slides (PDF 3.4MB)
- View poll results (PDF 120kB))
The consultation does not end here. While there were fantastic numbers on the webinar series, we want to ensure everyone has the opportunity for their voice to be heard.
Surveys have been set up to give you, as the key stakeholders in our sport, the chance to have your say. If you feel uninformed, please view the video recording, and presentation to help further understand the proposal.
Club and Member Body Survey
To be used by all Affiliated Club and Member Bodies to provide a collective view following discussions within the club.Complete survey as a Club / Member Body
The link has also been sent to all clubs and member bodies directly by email through the club newsletter on 26 September.
To be used by anyone across the sport including athletes, parents, coaches and officials to provide their on the proposals.Complete survey as an individual
Background to the proposed changes
The suggested changes to the age groups in the UKA rule book are not new and have previously been unsuccessfully proposed. This was in part, due to the lack of supporting information and the focus on changing to align with World Athletics and other countries age groups, not how it would benefit the athletes in the UK.
Why change now?
Based on current insight and research there is a far stronger rationale for the need to change to the U12 – U18 age group.
- Increasing numbers of athletes are dropping out of athletics and in particular around the ages of 14-16 years (GCSE age group) and 18-20 years (A-Level age group).
- Insight and research have highlighted that when athletes are top of their age group at U17 and U20, this clashes with either their GCSE or A-Level exams, causing a large amount of stress on the young person. The research has called this a ‘Perfect Storm’ of pressure.
- Research has indicated that this ‘Perfect Storm’ plays a major factor in dropout rates.
Benefits of changing
We believe that changing to U12-U18 age groups would have several benefits, including:
- Competing at the top of your age group in a non-major exam year.
- Providing new age groups of U12s (allowing younger athletes to compete earlier) and U18s (allowing for an easier transition to U20s and seniors).
- U12s would be exclusive in Primary schools and U14 the first two years of secondary, allowing for better emotional and social development.
- Better gradual progression through the age groups for some technical events, such as hurdles and throws.
Photo by Pat Isaacs