Applications are now open for programme ideas for the inaugural Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show.
Launching in February 2016 at Olympia Central in London, the Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show will be co-located with the Music Education Expo, going into its fourth successful year, as a new performing arts element to the Expo’s CPD offerings.
To be considered for the 2016 programme, prospective speakers need to complete an online form at http://www.musiceducationexpo.co.uk/call-for-papers-2016, clearly indicating the aims of the suggested seminar, who the intended audience would be, the learning objectives and relevant key stages, as well as providing a detailed overview of the content in a lesson plan format. An advisory board of education practitioners will shape the 2016 programme from the submitted proposals.
Sarah Lambie, head of content for the Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show and editor of Teaching Drama magazine, said of the call for papers: ‘We’d like to hear from educators and experts in fields as wide-ranging as education psychology, curriculum and exam preparation, technology, education policy, and practitioner techniques.’
The Unicorn Theatre, one of the UK’s leading theatres dedicated to producing work for young people, has reported a six per cent drop in school group visits during the period from August 2014 to June 2015 compared to the previous year. The theatre has also experienced an increase in cancellations from school groups.
Unicorn’s learning associate Catherine Greenwood said in response to the figures: ‘We are hearing from some teachers and head teachers that they are finding it increasingly difficult to justify the time out of the classroom. With schools facing cuts to budgets in the next financial year, and with the government recently announcing plans to make the Ebacc compulsory in all schools, this situation will only get worse.’
Unicorn Theatre’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit (Credit: Manuel Harlan)
The Warwick Report, published in February this year, found that young people from low-income families are least likely to engage with and appreciate the arts as part of the school curriculum or their home life. Greenwood thinks there is a ‘serious danger’ that the current climate will create a ‘two-tier system: those schools who choose to make the arts available to their students and those who don’t.’ Greenwood believes that letting such a system take hold would be ‘failing many young people’.
‘We need schools, head teachers and governing bodies to actively redress this imbalance if we are to ensure students from all backgrounds have access to theatre. A visit to the theatre can provide schools with a rich context for learning across the curriculum – which many teachers take advantage of, and we have first-hand experience showing that it improves literacy and learning among less-able students in particular.’
The Department for Education announced in February the subject contents for GCSE, AS and A-level drama to be taught from 2016, so in our Summer 2 issue of Teaching Drama, out now, we’re asking our panellists:
What is your view? Vote in our poll and comment below. Read the views of our panellists in Summer 2 2014-15, where the issue also includes a ‘Curriculum focus’ column, outlining a basic summary of the guidelines on which exam boards are currently finalising their new specifications.