Participation in extracurricular activities

Participation in extracurricular activities is a research-based measure from the Tell Them From Me surveys. It is a source of evidence linked to What works best and the School Excellence Framework.

What is it?

Extra-curricular activities are those that are not a part of the normal school curriculum, including organised activities such as chess club, drama groups, or student representative council.

The Tell Them From Me surveys ask students how frequently they participate in extracurricular activities across the school. The results are reported as the percentage of students engaged in extracurricular activities, indicating participation in such an activity at least once a week.

Why is it important?

Participation in extra-curricular activities is linked to positive academic outcomes, such as students’ grades and educational aspirations, improved attendance, pro-social behaviours and more positive development generally. Participation in extracurricular activities at school can increase students’ social support networks and is linked to more outcomes later in life, including educational attainment and a reduction in delinquent and risky behaviour.

School improvement links

School Excellence Framework element What works best theme
Wellbeing Wellbeing


Evidence base

Eccles, J., & Barber, B. (1999). Student council, volunteering, basketball, or marching band: What kind of extracurricular involvement matters? Journal of Adolescent Research, 14, 10-43.

Fredricks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2006). Is extracurricular participation associated with beneficial outcomes? Concurrent and longitudinal relations. Developmental Psychology, 42(4), 698-713.

Morrissey, K., & Werner-Wilson, R. (2005). The relationship between out-of-school activities and positive youth development: An investigation of the influences of communities and family. Adolescence, 40(157), 67-85.

Reeves, D. B. (2008). Improving student attendance. Educational Leadership, 65, 90-91.

Schaefer, D. R., Simpkins, S. D., Vest, A. E., & Price, C. D. (2011). The contribution of extracurricular activities to adolescent friendships: New insights through social network analysis. Developmental Psychology, 47(4), 1141-1152.

Image: This explainer has been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar.

Explainers of the Tell Them From Me measures have been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar. The Tell Them From Me measures are provided by, and remain the intellectual property of, The Learning Bar. The explainers can also be found online within the Tell Them From Me portal. Tell Them From Me and TTFM are trademarks of The Learning Bar.


  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Tell Them From Me

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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