Playing by the rules
We consider drama to be so valuable that we have just finished embedding it into our plans for every programme of study for all year groups from September. Building the confidence of teachers to incorporate drama across the school is an ongoing process involving Inset, team teaching and group planning.
We believe that good writing comes from rich and varied experiences, with children soaking up new vocabulary through the activities they enjoy at weekends, during holidays and with their families. However, many of our students don't have these opportunities, so drama is useful in stimulating their imaginations.
Every classroom now has a role-play area which changes each half-term to reflect a new topic. Children are given opportunities to explore these while inventing characters and experiences that are relevant to a piece of work. Our approach is to weave drama techniques into all our lessons.
Matthew Cornet is a Year 6 teacher and drama coordinator at Gallions Primary School in London
Drama education should not be restricted to the exploration of a text. It is much more fulfilling and wide-reaching if it is allowed to inform the development of all dramatic and transferable skills, especially those of younger students.
As such, in September we will be maintaining our current year plan (and drama as a discrete subject), with some updates and tweaks. We pride ourselves on a varied and full curriculum which, we believe, supports all our key stage 3 students and allows for sufficient progress, no matter where their talents lie. They should at least leave us in Year 9 with a reasonable understanding of the processes involved in drama, but also with a variety of skills that can be transferred to any other subject they will study during key stages 4 and 5.
From September, we will also be working on the same topics with a selection of departments. For Year 8, for example, we will be joining forces with history, philosophy and religion to teach students about Ancient Rome. Including drama highlights the importance of a practical approach to education.
Isobel Payne is a drama teacher at Lingfield Notre Dame School in Surrey
drama curriculum: act by act
Drama does not have separate subject status from key stage 1 to 3 but is still a requirement in the KS1 to KS3 English curricula.
The aims for spoken language in the new English curriculum state that all pupils should:
be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama;
be capable of adopting, creating and sustaining a range of roles, and of responding appropriately to others when in character;
have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.
The programmes of study for English at key stage 3 are much slimmer than those for key stages 1 and 2 and there are fewer direct references to drama, other than as plays and play scripts. However, students must:
l read plays as part of a wide coverage of genres, historical periods, forms and authors;
l be taught to write and polish scripts for talks and presentations;
l improvise, rehearse and perform play scripts and poetry.
Compiled by Patrice Baldwin, chair of National Drama
1 Getting going
A range of warm-up ideas to use in drama lessons. bit.lyGettingGoing
2 Fun and games
Boost students' enthusiasm levels with these games including Yes, No, Please, Banana and Street Scene. bit.lyDramaGames1
1 Acting up
A scheme of work to introduce students to drama skills from tableaux to trust exercises.
2 Get physical
A series of 10 lessons covering the basics of physical theatre for students who may not have studied it before. bit.ly GetPhysical1