Taking up activities after school such as football, chess or charity work can help children to get better grades, according to researchers.
Extra-curricular activities were particularly valuable for boys – with those taking part in them achieving higher grades at GCSE than others.
A study was carried out by the Independent Schools Council which found that as well as helping with school work, activities of this kind also boosted children’s self-esteem and team-building skills.
David Lyscom, chief executive of the ISC, which represents almost 1,300 fee-paying schools, said: “This new research shows how important extra-curricular activities can be in underpinning academic achievement, and underlines the clear benefits provided by an all-round education.”
According to the research, schools offering 30 or more clubs – including Army Cadets and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme – saw around 95 per cent of their papers marked between A* and B.