House of Commons Select Committee inquires after clear impact of educational interventions

On September 14th MPs heard from expert witnesses how moving beyond an overly rigid focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) within the national curriculum to a more holistic approach, one that encourages greater take-up of music and physical activity, can support children’s wellbeing and academic attainment.

These comments were made during the latest oral evidence session of the House of Commons Select Committee shadowing the work of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of its inquiry into the “Social Impact of Participation in Sport and Culture”. Witnesses speaking before MPs included Mr Naveed Idrees, the Headteacher of Feversham Primary Academy.

His school was universally praised by Members present for the strides it had made in supporting pupil wellbeing through increasing access to what are often termed “non-core” subjects (but not at Feversham), proficiency in which seemingly supports educational attainment at all levels as children learn to “love” learning.

Nevertheless, there was a desire from the Committee to appreciate how progress and impact could be effectively understood so that best-practice could potentially be exported to other schools that may not be performing to their full potential. 

Evidence submitted by Pro Bono Economics (PBE) within a written submission to this very Select Committee inquiry earlier this year (see here) - and again covered in our later Budget Submission (see here) – highlights the link between physical activity in particular and emotional wellbeing. It laments however the lack of an independent, informed and dedicated capacity for delivery and evaluation of provision in this area.

The call was therefore made by PBE for such a capacity to be established as a means of understanding impact , something that could conceivably be of use also in measuring the effects of innovations at different schols around the country. PBE will continue to engage with the work of the Committee as it conducts oral evidence sessions and in preparation of its final report for the Government.