Research & Evidence Resources

Participation in arts and cultural activities in schools is known to have a number of benefits for learning outcomes, student social and personal development as well as wider community development outcomes.
Learning in schools occurs both in the arts and through the arts (where the arts are integrated into non-arts curriculum areas).

The Young Foundation, on behalf of the Catalyst consortium, has published A Framework of Outcomes for Young People. The framework is designed to highlight the fundamental importance of social and emotional capabilities to the achievement of all other outcomes for all young people. It proposes a model of seven interlinked clusters of social and emotional capabilities that are of value to all young people, supported by a strong evidence base, demonstrating their link to outcomes such as educational attainment, employment, and health. It also sets out a matrix of available tools to measure these capabilities.


The Cultural Learning Alliance provide a wealth of evidence which has been collected together by the steering group for anyone to use to demonstrate the value of their work and campaign for ongoing cultural education provision for young people:

The Case for Cultural Learning: key research findings

Our consultation with CLA members told us that you wanted evidence to make the case for cultural learning, and information on what is best practice and how to deliver it.

Using only evidence from cohort studies with large sample sizes (typically 12,000) and research with control groups we can emphatically say there are instrumental outcomes which cultural learning delivers.

We have grouped these into five key research findings:

  1. Learning through arts and culture improves attainment in all subjects
    1. Taking part in drama and library activities improves attainment in literacy
    2. Taking part in structured music activities improves attainment in maths, early language acquisition and early literacy
    3. Schools that integrate arts across the curriculum in America have shown consistently higher average reading and mathematics scores compared to similar schools that do not
  2. Participation in structured arts activities increases cognitive abilities
  3. Students from low income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree
  4. Employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment
  5. Students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer and are 20% more likely to vote as young adults

Detailed information and the source reports for each key finding can be found by clicking through the menus to the right.

Download Key Research Findings


Based on consultation with our members, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and building on the work of the DCMS CASE review the Cultural Learning Alliance has conducted a wide ranging survey of existing English language data on the instrumental outcomes of cultural learning.

Our key research findings are designed for all our members to use to support, advocate for, and shape their own practice.

Arts practice in community setting

City Arts Nottingham Arts on Prescription Research

Working in Partnership - useful resources

Writers’ Centre Norwich and New Writing South were recently commissioned by Arts Council England to undertake a piece of research into the relationship between Libraries and the Literature Sector in the South East and East of England. We’re pleased to be able to share with you now the results of this research in the form of

A report outlining the results of the research

A technical annexe to the report outlining the data and survey results

A toolkit for libraries, literature organisations and the arts world that responds to the needs identified through the research

An appendix to the toolkit