Cultural Learning Alliance

We shouldn’t be wondering whether children need art and music and stories and poems any more than wondering whether plants need water

Philip Pullman


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. 

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