Speech Bubbles – Learning About Culture Education Endowment Foundation Research Trial

Drama for communication, confidence and well-being

In 2018-2019, 9000 pupils in 400 schools across England will take part in trials to find out if different cultural learning approaches can help boost primary pupils’ achievement.
Speech Bubbles is one of five projects chosen to be part of the Learning About Culture research programme led by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). 
We are delighted to be developing our partnership with North West Drama and working closely with London Bubble Theatre to deliver Speech Bubbles in four additional new schools. 
The Speech Bubbles initiative uses story, play and drama with children in KS1 to develop their speaking, listening and attention skills while also supporting their social and emotional development.  It also enhances the skills of school staff to run creative group work.

The project is currently taking place in 42 schools in London and Greater Manchester, with over 800 children telling stories and acting them out every week. Launched by London Bubble Theatre in 2009, Peoplescape Theatre, North West Drama, M6 Theatre and Oldham Theatre Workshop have been working together to deliver Speech Bubbles across Greater Manchester since 2013.

Classroom-Watercolour

Last year, teachers delivering the programme reported:

85% improved in speaking listening and learning

90% improved in emotion, conduct and behaviour

“The children receiving the intervention made better progress than a ‘control’ group in… understanding spoken language; understanding and using vocabulary; sentence building; storytelling and narrative and social interaction.”

Randomised Control Trial by Dr Heather Price, Psychosocial Studies Research Group, UEL.

“Speech Bubbles offers what appears to be a highly effective and sustainable means of helping children suffering poor social, emotional and educational wellbeing because of their difficulties with communication. The method uses the emotional, bodily, creative and relational aspects of drama to create the conditions for positive behavioural and educational development. It reminds us that a focus on children’s wellbeing in school generates increased social, behavioural and educational capital cheaply and effectively.”

Evaluation of Speech Bubbles by Dr Jonathan Barnes, Sidney de Haan Research Institute, Canterbury Christchurch University. 

For more information about Speech Bubbles (including reports and evaluation) please visit: www.speechbubbles.org.uk

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to be part of Speech Bubbles:

Emily Capstick, Peoplescape Theatre
emily@peoplescapetheatre.co.uk
for schools in Manchester local authority
Matt Wardle, Northwest Drama Services
matt@northwestdramaservices.co.uk
for schools in Salford, Stockport and Trafford local authorites