The Drama and Theatre Education Alliance (DTEA) is an alliance of 14 national associations working in drama and theatre for, with and by children and young people, incorporating subject bodies, teaching associations*, charities and more representing teachers, industry professionals, and children. We have united as the DTEA to improve our advocacy for drama, theatre and education with a louder, more powerful voice.
We are concerned with the decline in the teaching of drama across key stages 1-3, among other issues facing the sector. This consultation process is aimed at connecting with, learning from, and advocating for teachers and schools who are excelling in the teaching of drama, and to build a support network to assist others to follow their lead, to advance the teaching of drama in the UK.
I sit on the executive committee, and I am Chair of the Drama In Key Stages 1-3 Initiative, where I am working with leading figures representing teachers, theatres, universities and more.
On Tuesday 27th we ran a consultation with Primary teachers in England and Wales who have successfully incorporated drama into their curriculum across their schools. It was inspiring!
Most of the schools were in deprived areas, with high numbers of students on free school meals, often with low levels of literacy, English as a second language, and who are typical hard to reach children. Either because their schools were failing, or because they were outstanding, they’d asked what they could do to make things better, and drama was the outcome.
They’ve seen their schools transformed: children are confident and creative and are more engaged in more subjects; attainment and literacy levels have increased; teachers enjoy teaching; parents are happy…the list goes on.
Sadly, their stories are not common. They’re very much uncommon. Most schools may do a bit of drama, or they might have a drama club after school, but it is not part of their teaching pedagogy or their curriculum.
One of the reasons for this consultation is to look into why more schools aren’t doing this, and to find ways we can help schools start using drama.
But it made me think about what more Theatre Workout can do to help. About 30% of the UK schools, and about 60% of the international schools we work with do not do drama at school. We see the changes it makes. We see them become more confident, creative, articulate and engaged in just a couple of hours, so what could we achieve if we worked with them regularly?
So, we are looking for a school to work with – a primary or secondary school, in London, which currently does not do drama but which wants to, where we can work with them to develop a scheme of work, deliver workshops with children, provide CPD, and develop resources which help teachers teach drama, and to use drama as a teaching pedagogy to teach other subjects across the curriculum.
If that sounds like you – then get in touch.
*As Theatre Workout is not an association, it has remained an active part of the DTEA as a member of the Cultural Learning Alliance.