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A new study from NatCen Social Research, Newcastle University, ASK and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, has found that after-school clubs and sports can improve the academic performance and social skills of disadvantaged primary school pupils.
With thousands of film clubs registered throughout the UK, many of them in disadvantaged areas with limited access to culture, we welcome this research. Into Film CEO Paul Reeve strongly supports the findings and commented:
"We warmly welcome the publication of the report by NatCen and Newcastle University on the positive benefits of after-school clubs, particularly among children facing disadvantage. The report's conclusions reflect closely evidence from our UK-wide network of film clubs: that participation contributes very positively to academic and social development, and to the vital issue of closing the attainment gap for pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. In the case of film clubs, they also contribute to children's cultural development, which we consider to be equally important and valuable.
The BFI's firm commitment to education, and allocation of Lottery Funding to Into Film, has enabled us to establish and support what we believe to be the world's largest school-based film club programme. The findings of this report provide further evidence of the dynamic role that such activity can play in enriching pupils' lives and education. We hope it will encourage more schools to join the film clubs network."
In further support of what we do, Paul Gerhardt, Director of Education at the BFI commented: "We're proud of the work of Into Film and delighted that through their film clubs so many more young people across the UK now have the opportunity to watch a wide range of film and take part in high quality and enriching cultural education activities. Film clubs enable young people to see the world through a different lens by watching a wide range of films, developing oratory skills through discussing them, developing literacy skills through writing film reviews and having a go at the creative aspects of making a film, which can unleash hidden skills and talent. Overall, film clubs have proven to impact positively on motivation, attainment and relationships."
Noting the effects of Into Film Clubs, teachers, parents and members have cited significant impacts for young people involved. The free access to a diverse catalogue of thousands of titles, and opportunities to watch, critique and make films are just some of the ways young people access our offer. In a survey of clubs held in schools in disadvantaged areas, 93% of leaders said film club helped pupils to better understand people from other cultures and 79% of pupils said film club had helped them to read more. You can find out more about the benefits of using film as a tool for learning here.
Speaking about the impact of their Into Film Club on members, former Headteacher at Edlington Victoria School, Janice Middleton said: "This free initiative is a great asset to our school. It is extending children's experiences in an extremely poor area and providing opportunities they wouldn't normally have."
Tracy Rossborough, who teaches at Ashfield Girls' High School in Belfast has noticed the positive influence of her Into Film Club, which is a direct parallel to the findings of this new study. On her club and local area, she said: "Ashfield Girls' is situated in one of the most deprived wards in Europe. We feel we must do all we can to raise the aspirations of these children and help them to achieve despite adversity. Our film club has been a phenomenal success with members ranging from SEN pupils who have literacy difficulties to those deemed ‘gifted and talented', pupils whose first language is not English, those with Asperger's Syndrome, and many who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties."
Speaking about the inspiration behind her club, Burravoe Primary School teacher Caroline Breyley said: "I wanted to start the film club because some of the children have never been to a cinema or shared watching a film with anyone other than their family. I think it's very important that children are helped to become digitally literate and that understanding something about film and about moving images is a part of that."