• New YouGov survey* shows that secondary school students who regularly take part in drama and the arts are more than twice as likely (32%) to feel confident in everyday life skills such as reading or presenting a project to their class, compared to those who don’t (14%)
  • 84% of 11–16-year-olds regularly participate in the arts and sports, however this passion for the arts wanes as they get older, with 16-year-olds (11%) a third less likely to take part in drama classes or recitals than 11-year-olds (44%)
  • And with as many as half (50%) of secondary school children saying that they lack confidence in key life skills, such as trying something new (54%) or confronting an issue with a friend (49%), there is a clear need to nurture and maintain their passion for the arts, while building the confidence needed to conquer a range of everyday life moments
  • As part of EE’s ambition to liberate learning from the classroom and help children learn in new ways, EE has partnered with Micheal Ward ahead of the EE BAFTA Film Awards to launch a series of workshops to build confidence via its LearnSmart hub, demonstrating the importance of the arts and the role it plays in the development of crucial life skills

WEDNESDAY 14TH FEBRUARY 2024, LONDON: Amidst the UK’s ongoing creativity crisis, EE, longstanding partner of the EE BAFTA Film Awards, is today launching a new campaign called ‘The Stage is Yours’, which delves into the mindset of secondary school children, shining a light on the importance of drama and the arts for life outside of the classroom.  

It comes as a new YouGov study of secondary school children commissioned by EE, reveals that four fifths (84%) of 11 – 16-year-olds regularly participate in drama, music or the arts. It highlights that those who do are twice as likely (32%) to feel confident in everyday life skills such as reading or presenting a project to their class compared to those who don’t (14%).

Despite this, participation in these activities wanes as secondary school children get older, with 16-year-olds a third less likely (11%) to take part in drama classes and recitals compared with 11-year-olds (44%).

With the clear role that drama and the arts play in developing self-esteem and expression in this next generation, it is no surprise that as many as half (51%) of 16-year-olds say that they lack confidence in at least one of the following key life skills:

  • Trying or learning new things (only 41% feel confident)
  • Confronting an issue with a friend of acquaintance (only 52% feel confident)
  • Reading or presenting a project to their class (only 43% feel confident)
  • Speaking to someone they have a crush on (only 22% feel confident)

More broadly this research shows that many 11 – 16-year-olds feel stressed in areas of their everyday life. Just under half of boys surveyed said they don’t want to look or be perceived as a loser (45%). The confidence to fail is also a challenge for many youngsters; three fifths of children (66%) say that they have a fear of making mistakes and people laughing at them (63%), while nearly a third (29%) admit to going as far as avoiding whatever it is that makes them feel nervous completely.

EE’s new campaign the ‘Stage is Yours’ is designed to shine a light on the importance of drama and the arts helping children to develop crucial and versatile life skills such as confidence. Focused on liberating learning from the classroom, EE, Micheal Ward, and other actors and influencers, have developed a series of workshops designed to empower and inspire secondary school children to build self-confidence through the arts, which are  now available on EE’s LearnSmart platform

Micheal Ward commented:As an actor I am very passionate about inspiring young people to get involved in the arts because of the incredible benefits it can bring to their confidence and other key life skills. Throughout my career, I’ve had times where I’ve struggled with my confidence and it’s a pleasure to share what I’ve learned along the way with the next generation, whether they’re looking to pursue a career in the arts, or just a boost in their daily lives.”

Ahead of the EE BAFTA Film Awards, ‘The Stage is Yours’ campaign will also launch with a TikTok competition, utilising the platform’s stitch feature to give 13–17-year-olds the chance to act out the role of the ultimate villain in an improvised duet with former BAFTA EE Rising Star winner and star of Top Boy, Micheal Ward. The audition tapes can be submitted by stitching them to Micheal Ward’s video on EE’s TikTok profile @EE, with the hashtag #eethestageisyours. The winner will be selected by a panel of film experts and will secure a significant role in ‘NAZ’, the long-awaited biopic of boxing legend, Prince Naseem Hamed, from the acclaimed producers of the BAFTA-nominated ‘Boiling Point’.

Additionally, EE is hosting a free interactive festival of learning at 180 Strand in London during February half term. The EE Learn Live festival is hosted by TV presenter and journalist Stacey Dooley, and features sessions from England’s men’s football manager Gareth Southgate, Sidemen’s Tobi Brown, Top Boy lead actor Ashley Walters, and renowned British businessperson Deborah Meaden, with each session designed to spark curiosity and unlock children’s potential.

Pete Jeavons, Marketing Communications Director at EE, said: “We know how important the arts are for children in developing key life skills, encouraging creativity and building confidence. Our research shows that while secondary school children are passionate about the arts and that they help them to feel more confident when navigating everyday life, there is also a decrease in the uptake or continuation of these activities when they get older. We want to nurture the arts and inspire the younger generation to learn more, do more and be more. Through our longstanding partnership with BAFTA and our EE LearnSmart platform, it is our hope that we can liberate learning outside of the classroom and encourage all children to follow their passions”.

Lisa Prime, Head of Children & Young People’s Programme, BAFTA, added: “EE’s research underlines how nurturing young people’s creativity is vital from an early age. Creative confidence benefits the development of a whole range of important life skills, something BAFTA focuses on year-round in its national schools and families programmes. Communicating, listening, taking feedback, working together, and using your imagination to think innovatively – these are all tools that BAFTA is helping young people across the country to develop”.

EE LearnSmart has everything your child - and you - needs to make learning online fun, accessible and safe. With tools to help them protect their wellbeing and navigate life in the online world, plus all the tech they need to learn well from anywhere, whatever network they’re on this next generation can access a plethora of skills and knowledge so there is no life stage they can’t take on. 

To learn more and to purchase FREE tickets for EE Learn Live, visit EE Learn at

For live streams subscribe to EE’s YouTube channel:

For downloadable skills content, visit EE LearnSmart:

For competition ts&cs, visit:

- ENDS -

For more information, please contact M&C Saatchi Talk on 

Notes to Editors

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,079 children aged 11 to 16. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB children aged 11 to 16.


About EE 

EE is one of UK’s largest subscription businesses, backed by the UK’s biggest and fastest mobile network, offering superfast connections in more places than any other operator. 

Built on the foundation of decades of mobile and broadband leadership, EE is on a mission to be the most personal and customer-focused brand in the UK by playing a more meaningful role in customers’ lives, with a suite of exciting products and services open to all UK consumers, available via a new ‘EE ID’ digital platform. 

EE’s mobile network continues to receive extensive recognition including UK's best overall network by RootMetrics® every year since 2014, as well as being named Network of the Year at the 2022 Mobile Industry Awards.

EE is committed to offering first class service in the industry and has over 400 stores across the UK. EE remains the only mobile provider to answer 100% of customer calls in the UK and Ireland and was recognised as the UK’s Best Large Contact Centre by the UK Customer Experience Awards 2018 and Welsh Contact Centre Awards 2019.  

EE was awarded The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work for in 2018 and 2019, as well as being named Best Employer 2018 by the European Contact Centre & Customer Service awards. EE won Best Repair Service and Best Network Provider at the Mobile Industry Awards in September 2023 and was recognised as the provider that does more than any other to deliver a great service.  

EE is part of BT Group's Consumer business unit which provides products and services to all of BT’s consumer customers in the UK. 

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BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA, and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires, and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For more, visit BAFTA is a registered charity (no. 216726).