Arts activities beneficial for disaffected

Monday, November 30, 2015

Category: News

SecEd (Main), 19/11/2015, p.4, Emma Lee-Potter

Arts-based activities like acting and photography are hugely beneficial for youngsters who are disaffected with school, new research has found.

A study carried out by the University of Oxford found that taking part in drama, script-writing, poetry, film-making and art sessions helped vulnerable young people to overcome fears of failure and gave them the “space” to discard their old identity and find a new one.

A team from the Department of Education observed a range of programmes run by the Pegasus Theatre in Oxford and the OYAP Trust, a charity that works with young people and develops their confidence and skills through creative projects. Some of the youngsters who took part in the sessions had refused to go to school or had high levels of exclusion and disengagement. Activities included a weekly theatre and dance group, weekly drama and script-writing sessions and drama classes for year 7 pupils who had been put forward by their schools because of their behaviour or poor attendance.

Those who attended the programmes described the sessions as a “safe space” where they could be themselves and where staff were “caring” and “non-judgemental”.

Professor Harry Daniels, the lead researcher, said: “There has been much anecdotal evidence about the benefits of arts programmes for disaffected young people and our research backs this up,” said “Through working with adult professional artists and young leaders young people receive some of the emotional tools they need to interact with the world, which can transform the way they see themselves and others around them.”

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