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Learning beyond the classroom

New research to examine effects of out of school activities on attainment

24 June 2014 | Tags: schools and education, children and young people

For many parents how to occupy their children after school is not an easy decision and some will want it to be an activity that helps their progress at school.

NatCen Social Research and Newcastle University will investigate how primary school children spend their time outside of school and the implications for their academic attainment.

The research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, will examine how involvement in different types of activities, such as school clubs, music lessons, language classes, childminders and tutoring, varies for 5 to 11 year olds from different backgrounds and what this means for their educational achievements.

This new study will involve analysis of the latest data from major surveys of young people including the Millennium Cohort Study  along with interviews with parents, children and out of school activity providers to explore the extent to which children participate in organised out of school activities and what factors affect this.

In addition the researchers will be using a novel approach of building logic models to investigate the strength of different academic theories in explaining any impacts and differences found.

The 15 month project will provide insights into the best use of funds for out of school activities.

Dr Emily Tanner, Head of Children, Families & Work research at NatCen commented: “This research will expand our understanding of how out of school activities influence academic attainment, providing invaluable information for policymakers, schools and parents as they juggle work commitments with the needs of their children”.

Prof Liz Todd, Professor of Educational Inclusion at Newcastle University, commented: “The pupil premium is by and large spent on in-school teaching - we want to find if funding should be directed equally to-out-of-school activities”.


For more information contact Leigh Marshall: 0207 549 8506 / 0782 803 1850.

Notes to editors 

NatCen Social Research is an independent, not for profit organisation. We believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone.

The Nuffield Foundation is an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social well-being in the widest sense. It funds research and innovation in education and social policy and also works to build capacity in education, science and social science research. The Nuffield Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. More information is available at