Research

Introducing our Head of Research

Dr Amy Fancourt

Amy is an expert on adolescent development and psychology. She holds a PhD in psychology from Goldsmiths, University of London, and has a wealth of experience as a secondary school teacher and undergraduate lecturer. As Head of Research at BrainCanDo, Amy collaborates closely with our research partners to explore how the brain works during adolescence, covering areas including emotional contagion; the effect of music on academic and sporting performance; sleep and biorhythms and stress and anxiety, particularly in relation to exam preparation.

We partner with leading universities in the fields of neuroscience and psychology including Goldsmiths, University of London; University of Reading and University of Bristol.

“At BrainCanDo, our research focuses on areas that can be translated into practical programmes to transform teenage learning in schools.”

Research Projects

We are recruiting schools for participation in these projects, please get in touch for further details.

Does participation in drama, music and sport have an impact on the academic outcomes and well-being of teenagers?

STATUS
ACTIVE

Participating Schools

Pupils aged 11-17 in 5 UK and 8 German secondary schools

Summary

This live project is following a cohort of teenage students over five years to measure how participation in drama, music and sport impacts on their academic performance and well-being.

Key Findings

‘The benefits of co-curricular activities for 11-17 years olds are clear. Over the last three years we have seen enhanced academic achievement, fewer behavioural difficulties and greater investment in school community amongst students who spend more time participating in co-curricular activities such as sport, music and drama.’

This research supports our continued work in character education. Find out more.

The DofE have called for evidence of the impact of music education. We are preparing a report for submission that will be available here on 13th March 2020.

What impact do friendship groups have on teenage attitudes and motivation to learning

STATUS
COMPLETE

Participating Schools

Queen Anne’s School

Summary

This 3-year project explores the way in which social interactions with peer groups impact on attitudes and motivations.

Queen Anne’s School in Reading is the first school in the country to use fMRI scanning to look at students’ brains whilst they carry out a task that requires motivation.

Key Findings

‘Pupils aged 12-13 years share similar attitudes about the value of learning and the strategies they employ to help them learn effectively. Pupils aged 13-14 years form stronger social networks than younger pupils.’

Further detailed analysis is due at the end of 2020.

The impact of a later start time on attention and wellbeing in pupils aged 16-17 years.

STATUS
COMPLETE

Participating Schools

Queen Anne’s School

Summary

For one-week in June 2018 we implemented a later start to the school day for year 12 pupils at Queen Anne’s School.

Key Findings

Pupils gained an extra hour of sleep per night and were increasingly able to wake up without an alarm clock. They also showed improved mood, with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety as well enhanced attention in controlled conditions.

This research supports our continued work in sleep hygiene. Find out more.

This trial initiated a further longer term follow up project in 2019. See below for full report.

Our work has been recognised by the TES Independent schools awards:

Get in touch to find out more about BrainCanDo research

Latest News