The Stage reports that secondary school drama provision is in “crisis”, leading industry figures including playwright James Graham have warned.
They have claimed that cuts to drama in schools coupled with a shortage of new teachers is fuelling the problem, warning that a decline in the number of drama teachers at secondary level will result in the sector becoming less diverse in the long term.
Statistics from the Labour Party’s Acting Up inquiry into working-class actors in 2017 confirmed the decline, revealing there were now 1,700 fewer drama teachers in UK schools than in 2010.
James Graham told The Stage that drama had been disappearing from state schools “by stealth”, urging the industry to “act now”.
“It’s a crisis that has been happening quietly behind the scenes, and people have not really noticed. There were warning signs and nervousness around the EBacc, where the arts subjects were not recognised,” he said.
“I have total sympathy with school boards who have to make cuts because of the squeeze on funding, but what’s the future of the arts going to be if the once great leveller of inequality – education – stops?”
Meanwhile, director of learning at the National Theatre Alice King-Farlow said the theatre was concerned about the continuing marginalisation of drama in secondary schools.
“Between 2010 and 2017 there was a 24% drop in students taking drama GCSE and the risk is that the lack of specialist teachers being trained to teach drama to the highest standard will lead to further schools completely cutting drama from their curriculum,” she said.
Has drama disappeared from your schools curriculum? Will the EBacc kill the subject off completely? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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