National Drama would love you to send a letter to your MP. We agree with National Drama that Drama in schools is always an excellent idea but especially now. There are two asks!
We believe that Drama lessons can help learners explore their emotions, express themselves and make sense of the transitions they have been through. I hope you agree that high quality Drama lessons, even socially distanced, by their collaborative, dynamic, expressive nature, could support emotional and mental health and well-being post lockdown, and help rebuild student confidence and engagement. We therefore ask that you send their letter to support Drama lessons for all learners after lockdown to support achievement and recovery.
You can send the letter as it is or personalise it as suggested – whatever you have time to do. But please do send it and even better, share it!
You can download the letter here:
Please copy and paste it into an email to your local MP, who you can find here: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
We know that personalised letters can be more effective – please feel free to adapt the letter, write your own, and use any of this information if it helps to petition for Drama in schools to be part of schools’ recovery strategy. Every voice counts.
This might be useful. The Drama and Young People Manifesto brings the vision of the education and the cultural industries together. dtealliance.wixsite.com/dtea/manifesto
Essential Drama, Phil Cleaves’ excellent website has strong promotional material as well as generous resources. https://essentialdrama.com/promoting-arts/
The CLA has excellent reports and articles on the benefits of the arts and Drama. These pages are wonderful: culturallearningalliance.org.uk/evidence/
We also highlight the potential of improving knowledge and vocabulary through drama activities and seek to reinstate drama more formally in early years settings, continuing through to KS3 as an important aspect of a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum. This is a critical time to re-engage our learners, and drama teachers will play a vital role in providing meaningful opportunities in creative and safe spaces.
Reasons For the Decline in Drama
Part of the structural way that Drama education is undermined is its omission from the National Curriculum; another is the impact of the Ebacc, with misleading implications that Drama is a low-value subject, with little economic or academic worth, and another is structural erosion in schools and academies. Drama is an equal member of the fellowship of creative arts subjects – seen more than ever as companies from Kneehigh to Theatre Centre support us all with an incredible range of free online content.
We know that in the last ten years the numbers of children taking Drama GCSE has fallen by 29%.
Drama A Level uptake has fallen by 39%.
All Arts subjects have ‘lost out’ in the last decade, comprehensively explained in Rebecca Johnes’s 2017 study *2
Teacher numbers and hours have fallen too. *3
Out of school, according to Taking Part data, *4 most children enjoy enrichment. Sadly, Drama and Theatre engagement is decreasing, as according to the Government report, they are more school dependent. By removing curriculum drama this government is reducing the opportunities of all learners, including disadvantaged pupils and parents to gain social and cultural capital. Without Drama teachers to offer free after school clubs, rehearsals and trips, all state school learners lose out. How many learners have their first (or only) experience of live performance at great British theatres with their Drama teachers? Equitable drama in school curriculums will mean more Drama teachers able to offer more youngsters extra-curricular opportunities.
Without excellent arts education, learner ability to access, engage with and be part of our cultural heritage and explore our communities, experiences, difference, human narratives and identity diminishes as high stakes exam attainment in a narrow suite of subjects takes precedence.
We know that data on these areas is not collected centrally– so evidence on what is actually happening and therefore, how to improve it, could be stronger. Government could collect data on: –
How many state secondary schools offer all KS3 learners’ equitable access to Drama as one of the arts, typically a lesson a week with a subject specialist*5 in years 7, 8 and 9
How many state secondary schools offer KS3 learners’ partial access, with significantly less curriculum time and resources than other arts subjects
How many state secondary schools offer KS3 learners no access to Drama, other than through core English
*2Entries to Arts Subjects at KS4: Rebecca Johnes: Educational Policy Institute
*3 Cultural Learning Alliance https://culturallearningalliance.org.uk/further-drop-in-arts-gcse-and-a-level-entries-for-2019/
*4 Taking Part 18/19 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/taking-part-201819-annual-child-release
*5The term specialist here implies either a teacher-trained Drama graduate or equivalent e.g. Music / English teacher with significant PGCE Drama training or expertise in Theatre, Drama or Drama Education