Research confirms our impact on educational outcomes, wellbeing

Greenhouse Sports

New research from Loughborough University provides evidence that engagement with our intensive school-based sport delivery model improves the life chances of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For six months in 2016/17, Greenhouse Sports worked with Loughborough University researchers to scope the impact of our programmes and hopefully identify the full breadth of what a Greenhouse Sports intervention can do. We asked ourselves some challenging questions to get to the heart of our programmes. Do we support the emotional development of the young people we work with? Do we contribute to their educational attainment? What do our schools really think of us? The research was robustly reviewed by Pro-Bono Economics and we thank them along with NHS England for helping make this possible.

Highlights from their findings include:

  • On average, 36% of Greenhouse Sports pupils – over twice the London average – exercise for more than 60 minutes a day.
  • Engagement with Greenhouse Sports accounts for an average annual attendance increase of 8 more days of school.
  • Programme participants in Greenhouse Sports schools outperform their peers by up to a third of a grade in English and 40% of a grade in Maths.
  • Greenhouse Sports’ full-time, school-based sport delivery model has also been found to promote children’s physical and mental health

Greenhouse Sports’ Chief Executive, John Herriman said: “We believe working in partnerships with schools is the best way to engage young people with this type of sports intervention. A full-time Greenhouse Sports coach and mentor helps to create a safe, fun and challenging environment that enables young people to achieve their potential. We asked ourselves some challenging questions in this research by Loughborough University which was also externally reviewed by volunteering charity Pro Bono Economics. It provides unequivocal evidence of the positive impact of intensive sports coaching and mentoring on the lives of young people, and also supports our view that further high quality research is needed to continue to inform policy in this area.”

Loughborough University Faculty member and author of this report, Dr. Carolynne Mason said: “Robustly demonstrating the impact of sports-based intervention programmes on young people is extremely difficult. The scoping study enabled us to trial an approach in a small number of schools engaged with Greenhouse Sports. Despite initial scepticism about what it would be possible to demonstrate using pre-existing school data, the analysis revealed widespread evidence that meaningful engagement in the Greenhouse Sports programmes was associated with a range of positive outcomes for students when compared to students who did not participate. We are looking forward to the next stage of the research, which will examine whether these findings are replicated in a larger sample of schools.”

Julia Grant, Chief Executive of Pro Bono Economics said: “We were delighted to quality-assure this excellent report by engaging one of our volunteer economists. Our assistance to charities is unbiased and robust, and our work for Greenhouse Sports confirms that its intervention in schools really does make a difference to attainment, attendance and behaviour. I have personally worked with Greenhouse for some years now, and am pleased to see that economic evidence produced by Loughborough University and our volunteers can back up the charity’s impact narrative.“

Dr. Jacqueline Cornish OBE, National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Transition to Adulthood at NHS England, said: “It is exciting to see this small scale study, part funded by NHS England, show students’ academic success and personal wellbeing significantly improved by sport and exercise. This innovative programme has great potential for positive behavioural change for pupils in some of London’s most deprived areas, as well as clear benefits to their physical and mental health. There are many things to celebrate in the health and wellbeing of children and young people now, but we cannot afford to be complacent and as this study shows there is more we can do to improve our children’s health and life chances and help them transition to a safe and fulfilling young adult life while realising their full potential.”

The small-scale study will be followed up with further research in the coming year.

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