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Despite the shortage of qualified drama teachers, GCSE drama and A-level theatre studies are the fastest growing areas of the national curriculum. Schools are touting drama as a flagship option in their prospectuses and use drama productions to attract pupils.

To fill the training gap left when the RSA diploma in drama in education went, National Drama is providing in-service training on a regional basis for primary and secondary teachers as well as running national and international conferences and day events throughout the country.

NATE's drama working party is offering Inset to English teachers in drama theory and practice. Some universities and colleges also offer diplomas in drama on a part-time basis, as well as modular courses.

In addition, National Drama is working towards developing guidelines for trainers wanting to establish their own drama inset courses.

The significance of inset has become a particularly pressing issue in light of the Teachers Training Association's plans to introduce a six-subject BEd pared down to three years, which would put an end to specialisation.

In the meantime, National Drama is lobbying for teacher training in drama. "If they've gone to the trouble of including it in the national curriculum, " says Pam Bowell, "they have to ensure that teachers know how to do it."

For its part, the SCAA has set up an advisory group on drama comprised of an HMI, advisers, teachers and members of National Drama. The plan is to develop ideas on using drama in English and materials for the people in the group to disseminate throughout their own networks.

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