New Research Shows Art Programs in Schools Have an Overall Positive Impact on Students

Australia ( March 23, 2011

New Research Shows Art Programs in Schools Have an Overall Positive Impact on Students

New Research Shows Art Programs in Schools Have an Overall Positive Impact on Students

Groundbreaking new Australian research released today reveals that arts programs can have a significant impact on improving school attendance, academic achievement and student wellbeing in Australian schools.

Minister for School Education Peter Garrett, today released The Song Room’s Bridging the Gap in School Achievement through the Arts report, saying it reaffirmed the Gillard Government’s work to include arts in the National Curriculum.

“Music provides a potent method to help students connect with their studies and the broader world around them, to build self-esteem and it is now demonstrating a positive impact on improving student results and attendance,” Mr Garrett said.

“I have long been a believer in the ability of music and the arts to deliver wide-ranging educational benefits and nurture a variety of skills, which is why this Government strongly advocated including the arts in the National Curriculum.”

Mr Garrett said some of The Song Room’s achievements, including when analysed using the government’s national literacy and numeracy tests (NAPLAN) results, were incredibly exciting.

“The research highlights the difference that the provision of an arts education can have on student engagement with studies and schooling as well as helping to develop happier, well-rounded students,” Mr Garrett said.

“The analysis of the Year Five NAPLAN 2009 data for longer-term Song Room schools in comparison to non-participating schools, shows a higher score for reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy.

“The research also shows that schools participating in Song Room programs had better school attendance rates than non-participating schools, with a 65 per cent lower rate of absenteeism for students that have participated in The Song Room programs.

“This is an important indicator because if we can’t  get kids to school and have them engaged in education, then improving their knowledge and performance will be far more difficult.”

Students that participated in The Song Room program longer-term:

  • Showed significantly higher grades in their academic subjects (English, mathematics, science and technology, and human society) than those that had not participated;
  • Achieved significantly higher results in reading and overall literacy in the Year 5 NAPLAN;
  • Had significantly higher attendance; and
  • Were more likely to be at the top two levels of the Social-Emotional Wellbeing Index in respect of the indicators of resilience, positive social skills, positive work management and engagement skills.

The research was undertaken by Professor Brian Caldwell for The Song Room – a national non-profit organisation that provides free music and arts-based programs for children in disadvantaged and high need communities.

The Australian Government has provided $1.45 million through the Quality Outcomes program and $770,000 through the Indigenous Parental and Community Engagement program to support The Song Room and its projects.

The Gillard Government also has also allocated more than $2.5 billion in National Partnerships funding to help schools that need extra assistance through the Smarter Schools National Partnerships for Low Socio-economic Status School Communities ($1.5 billion), Literacy and Numeracy ($540 million) and Improving Teacher Quality ($550 million).

For more information on The Song Room and its projects visit

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