Cuts bring curtain down on courses

5th October 2007 at 01:00
DRAMA TEACHING is at risk from a projected cut of nearly 40 per cent of training places over the next four years, an academic has warned.

Figures from the Training and Development Agency for Schools show the number of students on PGCE courses will slump to 145 a year by 2011 from 229 at present.

Andy Kempe, senior lecturer in drama education at Reading University, said the slump put drama as a discrete subject at risk. It has been thriving recently. Some 102,601 students took GCSE in 2007, up 15 per cent on 2000. A total of 16,322 took the subject to A-level this year.

In addition, a project called Drama for Learning and Creativity, which uses the subject to support learning across the curriculum, has won rave notices from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. The agency has defended the drop in training places, saying that this reflects projected falls in pupil rolls.

However, writing in the magazine Secondary English, Mr Kempe said: "Reducing the number of drama specialists so drastically will doubtless have serious implications for the future of drama. If drama is to be taught as a discrete subject and continue to attract candidates at GCSE and A-level, then the supply of teachers who have specialist drama knowledge must be safeguarded."

Graham Holley, chief executive of the TDA, said the Government was predicting a reduced demand for newly qualified teachers in many secondary subjects. "The TDA has to have regard to these recruitment targets when allocating places... particularly to make sure that we do not produce so many qualified teachers that they cannot secure teaching jobs."

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