Watching films raises school grades, research finds

The TES is reporting that research has suggested spending the evening at the cinema or watching films can boost school grades.

Franzi Florack of Bradford University introduced regular film-literacy classes to 19 primary schools in Bradford. These were supplemented with visits by professional film makers to the classroom.

She found that following the classes, 38.8 per cent of pupils performed higher than expected in literacy tests.

The evidence was supported by interviews with the pupils, many of whom said that they felt more confident about expressing themselves following the film-viewing classes.

In fact, 53.7 per cent of students said that their writing was better in film classes than in other lessons. Meanwhile, 48.4 per cent said that they achieved better grades in film lessons than in other lessons.

The majority of teachers also believed that the scheme was having a positive impact on their pupils’ writing.

The effect of spending school time watching Jennifer Lawrence save the world in a black leather jumpsuit, or Robert Downey Jr doing the same in an iron onesie, was particularly felt in schools that had been judged by inspectors to require improvement…

More at: Watching films raises school grades, research finds


See more also from Franzi Florack’s blog at: Exploring Film Literacy


It’s not absolutely clear from the full article if the improvement were independently measured or self-reported – which is obviously pretty significant – but do you see merit in the approach?

It claims to be particularly successful with underachieving and hard-to-engage boys.

Please give us your feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link

Cheating parents lose school places in Edinburgh
Key staff hired in new bid to improve quality of all of Birmingham's schools
Categories: Research and Teaching.


  1. JulieADexter

    SchoolsImprove Visual approach but also multi sensory – auditory + offers opportunity 2 role play~ feel 4 self and talk then write.

  2. Autism_Able

    GeoffreyPetty Hmm, the article is a bit disingenuous. True that writing is improved when based around interests but that could be anything!

  3. GeoffreyPetty

    Autism_Able you might have it there. Writing about pets, or favourite music might inspire as much as writing about films.

  4. Autism_Able

    GeoffreyPetty Yes. Multi-sensory learning is important esp in autism but not if the content is perceived as poor or boring by the learner

  5. GeoffreyPetty

    Autism_Able I believe it’s “multiple representations” of what you are learning that helps. Seeing it in many different ways and contexts

  6. Has the research been peer reviewed? 
    I’m firmly of the view that film education can and does enhance children’s literacy but think that the issue of how we do this needs careful and nuanced reporting. 
    There is a growing body of work in this area, some of which I included in my own research:
    also presented in an animated summary version here:
    My work demonstrates the need to help children make explicit their understanding of film if they are able to apply them to writing or other forms.

    Dr Jeannie Bulman has recently published excellent work on progression in film literacy and there has been a fantastic surge of activity in European circles to develop work in this area
    Dr Fiona Maine has also developed very interesting work on the way film education can be particularly useful to children in terms of teaching them how to make inferences in media other than the written form. 
    I think it is also very, very important to say that the more widely, has been an exceptionally important movement which the teachers themselves have really shaped and there is much to be learnt from it and the project findings do not rely on self-reporting about writing. So, looking forward to seeing more work from this project published in journals and therefore subject to academic rigour. We need to publicise work in this area but this is not the first piece of work I have seen recently which makes substantial claims about the power of film which may actually be rather counter-productive. Teachers are smart (if education policy makers are not) and they want nuanced, reliable and dependable data which they can act on with confidence in their classrooms.

    I should add, to be fair and clear, that I was involved in the early stages of this doctoral study, until it took a different direction, and wish it every success.

Let us know what you think...