Primary Drama & key stage 3
Drama in Schools

Drama in schools is on the decline.

With a focus on primary and key stage 3 education, the DTEA is consulting with member associations, teachers and sector bodies to gather evidence, develop resources and advocate for the subject.

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Background

The DTEA recognises there has been an alarming decline in the teaching of drama throughout the school system over many decades, particularly in key stages 1-3. There are many reasons for this, but we believe COVID-19 has presented an opportunity to reset the balance of creativity within education and we want to use this to raise the status of drama within the curriculum.

We want

  • Drama to be recognised as a subject in its own right in Key Stages 1-2, matching the status of subjects like Music and Art.

  • For every young person to have at least one theatre experience a year - seeing a show but also experiencing workshops, performing and the creative process.

  • For Drama to be more representative of the UK population

As an alliance of 14 national associations working in drama and theatre with, for and by children and young people, many of us have been working to address the issue for many years. It is not new, but the pandemic has shone a fresh spotlight on the issue and a possible opportunity to improve the situation. Our goal is to work with a broad network of teachers, drama and theatre organisations, and the wider education and creative sectors to improve the quality and quantity of drama and creative arts teaching, to further support the future of the creative industries.

Consultation

We are consulting with teachers, head teachers, sector organisations and leading stakeholders to better understand the practice of teaching drama in schools today, the obstacles and opportunities faced by schools, to inform our advocacy and campaign strategy.

The Primary Consultation

On 26th January and 27th April 2021, we met with primary teachers and primary drama specialists, association members and teaching network partners. We raised various issues which generated an engaged and open discussion.

Topics covered included:

  • What are the obstacles to teaching drama

  • ​​Challenges and obsticles

  • Accessing professional theatre

  • ​Models of best practice

  • ​What can the DTEA do to support teachers/schools?

  • Participation in Artsmark, Arts Award, etc

Read the full consultation notes here.

Evidence

We are gathering and analysing various reports and resources to evidence the case for improved Drama in Schools provision.

Drama Stats - Analysis by the Cultural Learning Alliance on the decline of drama in terms of teacher recruitment, teaching hours and student engagement between 2010-2020. View the report (power point).

Innitial Teacher Training - Analysis by SCITED on the pathways into teaching, the impact of the EBACC, and the decline in practical, skill-based teaching. View the report (power point).

Government's Recovery Curriculum 2021 - Drama is not mentioned. The DTEA has concerns for the subjects future. View the curriculum (PDF).

Specialist Primary CPD - National Drama

Our colleagues at National Drama have developed some exceptional CPD opportunities for teachers working in Primary schools, key stages 1-2.