Attendance and Engagement

Over one third of children creatively participated in an arts activity in 2012

More than one third of children aged 5 to 14 years (980,700) participated in at least one organised cultural activity (playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, drama or organised art and craft) outside of school hours.

The proportion of children dancing in 2012 (15 percent) has increased since 2006 (13 percent), while fewer children are now playing a musical instrument (18 percent in 2012 compared with 20 percent in 2006).

Nearly half of all female children (47 percent) participated in at least one organised cultural activity, compared with 24 percent of male children. Dancing was the most popular activity for females (367,400 participants), followed by playing a musical instrument (261,400 participants). Playing a musical instrument was the most popular activity for males (228,800 participated).

The proportion of children reading for pleasure has decreased from 75 percent in 2006 to 71 percent in 2012. Female children are more likely to read for pleasure (77 percent) than male children (65 percent). Female children were also more creatively involved in recreational art and craft (54 percent participation) than male children (33 percent participation).

Figure 54 - Children’s participation in leisure activities outside of school

Participation rate2006 %2009 %2012 %
Organised cultural participation
Playing a musical instrument202018
Organised art and craft7
Participation in recreational activities
Recreational art and craft43
Reading for pleasure757271
Skateboarding, rollerblading or riding a scooter4954
Bike riding686064
Watching TV, DVDs or videos979796
Other screen-based activities8385
Homework or other study838281