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People who play sport at school are FAR more likely to go to college...

Especially in their final years. It seems future success and drive can be directly related to an active and competitive school lifestyle.

Gaelic Football - Ulster Championship Final - Tyrone v Antrim - St Tiernachs Park Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

CHILDREN WHO TAKE part in sport in secondary school are statistically much more likely to go on to third-level education and succeed in working life, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) officers Pete Lunn and Elish Kelly, suggests that future academic performance and workplace achievement can be directly linked to participation in sport at secondary school.

Crucially however, the participation is of most importance in a student’s final years in secondary school, with many previously active people dropping out from such sport after third or transition year.

The effect is a significant one too – students who continue to play sport from the junior cycle onwards are 9-14% more likely to continue in education.

The study allowed for other factors, such as individual students’ attachment to their school or differing motivation levels, and while such factors reduced the effect seen it was not by any noticeable amount.

So why is sport so important? The study focuses more on the positive effects of sporting participation rather than the reasons for those effects, but one theory posited is that people who play competitively are more likely to go to a college where sport can be played conveniently.

The research also suggests that those who choose to participate in sport are more likely to enjoy an educational environment.

The study focuses on voluntary sport only, so mandatory physical education isn’t relevant.

Lunn and Kelly came to their conclusions using data from 2007′s Irish School Leavers’ Survey, which interviewed approximately 2,025 individuals two years after they left school.

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