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Out of school activities improve children’s educational attainment, study

This working paper was first published in April 2016 by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL Institute of Education and University College London 

Participating in organised sports and joining after school clubs can help to improve primary school children’s academic performance and social skills, new research shows.

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, researchers from NatCen Social Research, Newcastle University and ASK Research analysed information on more than 6,400 English children born in 2000-01 who are being followed by the Millennium Cohort Study.

Children taking part in organised sports and physical activities at the ages of 5, 7 and 11 were almost one and a half times more likely to reach a higher than expected level in their Key Stage 2 (KS2) maths test at age 11. No relationship was found between organised sports and activities and KS2 English and science scores.

Among disadvantaged children, those who attended after school clubs also fared better than their peers who did not take part in such groups. They achieved on average, a 2-point higher total score in their KS2 assessments in English, maths and science at the end of primary school.

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