School-age children

School-age children

After controlling for prior academic motivation and demographics, high levels of arts engagement amongst school-aged children in school arts-related subjects positively predicts:

  • Adaptive motivation, academic buoyancy, academic intentions

  • School enjoyment, class participation

  • A sense of meaning and purpose, life satisfaction

  • Self-esteem

Research also shows that:

  • Classroom drama can improve verbal skills

  • Dance can improve visual-spatial skills


  • Arts engagement tends NOT to have a high correlation with improved academic attainment such as formal attainment in standardised tests

  • Arts participation has a positive but low impact on academic learning, and the mechanisms leading to positive impact via the arts are not known

  • Some extra-curricular activities can lead to negative behaviours as well, e.g. increased alcohol use with some extra-curricular activities

  • External arts tuition negatively predicts adaptive motivation, academic intentions, school enjoyment, class participation, homework completion, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.


A. Martin et al (2015) ‘The Role of Arts Participation in Students’ Academic and Non-Academic Outcomes: A Longitudinal Study of School, Home and Community Factors,’ Journal of Educational Psychology2013 105(3): 709-727.

S. Tsegaye et al (2016) Everything We Know About Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives, Createquity.

G. Crossick& P. Kaszynska (2016) Understanding the value of arts & culture: The AHRC cultural value project, London: Arts & Humanities Research Council.

H. Bungay & T. Vella-Burrows (2013) “The effects of participating in creative activities on the health and well-being of children and young people: a rapid review of the literature,” Perspectives in Public Health 133(1): 44-52. 

K. Petrie et al (2004) “Effect of Written Emotional Expression on Immune Function in Patients With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: A Randomized Trial”, Psychosomatic Medicine 66: 272-275.

T. Särkämöet al (2008) “Music listening enhances cognitive recovery and mood after middle cerebral artery stroke,” Brain 131: 866-876.

Education Endowment Foundation (2018) Arts participation.

Everitt and R. Hamilton (2003) Arts, health and community: a study of five arts in community health projects.

R. Ings et al. (2012) Be creative be well: arts, wellbeing and local communities, an evaluation, London: Arts Council England.

S. Hacking et al. (2008) “Evaluating the impact of participatory art projects for people with mental health needs,” Health and Social Care in the Community.