Busy boys do better;Secondary

10th April 1998 at 01:00
A study being carried out in Bristol suggests that extra- curricular activities such as performing arts improve pupils' success rates at GCSE.

Conducted among 330 Year 9, 10 and 11 pupils at Hartcliffe comprehensive school in a deprived area of the city, the three-year research project has so far revealed that pupils who are "active" achieve consistently higher grades than those who are not.

Backstage involvement, school visits to performances workshop and galleries, and performance itself, are all significant. And the more involved students become, the better their results.

Vic Ecclestone, who has led performing arts extra-curricular activities at Hartcliffe for 25 years, says: "The first year 5 findings show a clear correlation between pupils' involvement in extra- curricular activities and GCSE results.

"Performance does make a difference. When we work with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Welsh National Opera or the Royal Shakespeare Company-whether it's opera school, the Hartcliffe Boys Dance Company, or drama - students are learning at all sorts of levels."

The research project was launched in 1997 when Bristol was awarded pound;93 million of National Lottery money to build an international Centre for the Performing Arts.

Mr Ecclestone organised a research project with the Bristol amp; West Building Society to present the needs and views of young people to the CPA. The result was a pound;4,000 grant by the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts, which he spent on the three-year research programme, run by the charity Education Extra, on the relationship at Hartcliffe between after school provision and academic performance.

A key finding is the benefits for boys. "Creativity has a huge effect on boys' academic achievement because you're developing the intellectual, the emotional and the physical all together. It works," Mr Ecclestone says.

"It's a rite of passage. It changes those who get involved."

James, a member of the school's boys' dance company for four years, agrees.

"Doing this keeps you on track. It's exciting, when huge audiences clap you on. It gives you confidence and you learn a lot of things.

And it makes you keener on school."

Summaries of Education Extra's report are available from Multi Ltd, 17 Dean Street, Bristol BS2 8SF

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today