Caroline Sharp, Lesley Kendall, Jo Morrison, Tilaye Yeshanew
01 September 2008
Creative Partnerships is the Government’s creative learning programme, designed to develop the skills of young people across England, raising their aspirations and achievements, and opening up more opportunities for their futures. Between Autumn 2002 and Summer 2004, NFER conducted a programme-level evaluation of Creative Partnerships, focusing on measuring changes in self-confidence, self-esteem and attitudes to learning amongst young people who took part in Creative Partnerships activity. A later study examined the relationship between attendance at Creative Partnership schools and activities and national assessment results, for young people reaching the end of key stages 2, 3 or 4 (i.e. those young people in Years 6, 9 or 11) in 2003 and 2004. The study indicated some small but statistically significant positive associations between attending Creative Partnership activities and attainment.
Arts Council England commissioned this further study to examine the extent to which the impact of the programme was sustained or enhanced over a longer period. This study used attainment data for 2005 and 2006 to explore the longer-term impact of participation in Creative Partnerships.
While the size of the effect is relatively small, the results of this study suggest that Creative Partnerships is contributing to improved levels of academic attainment. For example, young people who have attended Creative Partnerships activities made, on average, the equivalent of 2.5 grades better progress in GCSE than similar young people in other schools. This study has not been able to explore other important areas such as aspirations, self-esteem or attitudes to school where Creative Partnerships may be having an impact. Because there was evidence of impact, we conclude that Creative Partnerships is making a small but valuable contribution to improving levels of attainment at key stage 4 and, to a lesser extent, at key stage 3.
- The pattern of results in 2005 and 2006 was consistent with that reported in 2003 and 2004. The academic progress of young people attending Creative Partnerships activities was greater than that of other young people in the same schools, although the differences were relatively small. At key stages 3 and 4, young people attending Creative Partnerships activities also made more progress than young people in schools not involved in Creative Partnerships. There were no significant differences between these groups at key stage 2.
- The academic progress of young people attending Creative Partnerships Phase 1 schools but not involved in Creative Partnerships activities was similar to, or slightly less than, that of similar young people nationally, which may suggest that Creative Partnerships has not yet become a whole school initiative, affecting all young people within the school community.