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GCSE Drama as an options subject - do you get a say on who does the course?

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by dramabebby, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. Hello everyone
    This has been a bone of contention in my school recently.
    We have target grades that are set by FFT data using the 'Creative Grade' column. Clearly, students do not have a previous track record in Drama so these grades can often be completely different to a student's ability in Drama.
    Therefore, without wishing to go off on a tangent about this particular aspect of school life, there is an argument that students should have to audition or at the very least, that the Drama department should be able to vet in some way the students who are taking GCSE Drama in Year 10 every year. By doing this, the argument is that the students who actually can do the subject and possess some ability in acting will be able to get themselves a decent grade for their GCSE.
    The other issue with this as a teacher is that if students are doing it who are actually good at it, it may give them a chance at attaining their target grade, which clearly helps everyone.
    So, in short, my question is.... are you fully inclusive allowing anyone to take the course regardless? Or do you have a selection criteria?
    I would be very interested to hear from as many of you as possible.
    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. We are absolutely inclusive. This does provide challenges - for example my Y10 class has kids in it who are working at anywhere between a B and a U, with targets of A*-F. When we get the lists we are able to discuss with the head of year anyone who we think is massively unsuitable (perhaps if they've really been challenging in y9 and have shown v little interest in the subject) but it doesn't mean they'll be removed. The reason for this is that there will be kids who would be turned away everywhere - who won't necessarily be aiming for what we might consider to be good passes in anything.


    from a drama point of view, I have taught several kids who wouldn't have passed an audition but who have gone on to do really well - often finding that it 'clicks' quite a way into the course. I have examples of this in my curren y11 and 12.


    It's very difficult and I can see both sides of the argument.
     
  3. corblimeyguvnor

    corblimeyguvnor New commenter

    I completely echo what Crunchynut says - we are all-inclusive! Range of kids - some I would LOVE to turn away but can't. Some who I say in Year 9 will get an E and do, others who exceed my expectations.
    With Edexcel the actual marks awarded for what I consider 'ACTING' are very few - 25% for V+M and characterisation over the three units. The rest are focus, communication, written work, evaluation etc - I have kids who in my opinion cannot act but get Cs through hard work and focus, and clever type casting/ensemble work for Unit 3. I've also had amazingly talented kids - one of whom just got into RADA at 18, who got a low C at GCSE as he can't write/evalaute very well and didn't concentrate in the old Paper 1.
    My philososphy is that we should take everyone - unless ALL subjects could be selective, then I;d want the same, but as Crunchynut says, some kids are turned away from everyone and I actually quite like taking those kids and getting something out of them.
    At Options Evening I see lots of my colleagues try to put kids and their parents off a subject - there is one HOD in my school who tells it straight to parents and says 'they have no hope of an A-C so go somewhere else'. I had a little boy and his mum come to me saying they'd heard that from EVERY options teacher! Poor boy. I'll have him in drama and although he can't really 'act' I will hope to get him through - possibly down the design route.
    I think in all honesty with the Edexcel (and the AQA/OCR to some extent) an audition would be pointless - you'd be better off doing a focus and collaboration test.
     
  4. I imagine (correct me if i'm wrong) that this question may have come out of a worry about results? With FFT targets last year I was supposed to get 100% A* - C with a cohort of 30 students with many very low in ability, motivation and talent. I argued that 60% was my aspirational target based on me having assesed them. I got 70% (very pleased) but was still hauled over the coals as to why it was not 100% when the FFT data said it was possible.
    It would be lovely if we could choose who we had on our courses but then again the people who I remember most and are most proud of are those students who hadn't been brilliant in the course and yet when the unit 3 performance time comes produce something special.
    Ooops break times nearly over,
    All the best
     
  5. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    If all subjects did it, where will the kids who nobody wants go?

     
  6. We are also inclusive but my subject is oversubscribed every year and therefore the powers that be do the number crunching and I get who I am given and, unless there is a major issue (considering it is quite heavy in terms of written assessment) I go with, quite happily, who I am given. Half the enjoyment of teaching this is watching students develop and Drama is perfect for developing students confidence. For this particular 'debate', I am at a big advantage too by teaching Drama to all of KS3 before KS4 however we move to vertical teaching in September where by students in this year's Year 8 and 9 have opted for their GCSE's for next year and these will be taught in one year which throws up another 'debate' but i would never turn those away who we deemed 'non actors'. I agree with others in that Edexcel isnt acting based perse but it is very much based on perceptions and your understanding of others perceptions as you as an 'actor'. However, at the end of the day education should be inclusive should it not? Isnt that why we do what we do? To give everyone a chance?
     
  7. Thank you everyone for your comments.
    It is very heart warming to hear such stories of success and pride all stemming from the inclusive ethos you foster.
    I too agree with this (I was deliberately trying to be objective in my original post!!), but as it was something my colleagues have discussed with me, I thought it interesting to put it out to you all.
    You are right in the assumption that this conversation has come from three years of poor results and indeed with the Edexcel spec. Unit 3 is where some don't do well, mainly because we have 100 minutes a week to teach the course, so they are relying on rehearsals outside of school hours, which many are reluctant to do. With the other 10-11 GCSE subjects they are studying, they simply don't have the time to commit without it imposing on revision for other exams. Parents are also keen to say stop working on Drama and do your English, Maths, etc. (and as a GCSE English teacher too I do understand that!).
    Thank you for your replies. It is a trying time and I'm dreading another set of results that are 25-30% down on where they should be and having to go through the Headteacher's meeting where I feel my subject is on the rocks, even after all the hardwork I put in...
    I'm in danger of moaning, so I'll stop there!
    [​IMG]
     
  8. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I suppose we are inclusive as I don't get any say on who does or doesn't opt, but I have become clever at honing and weeding. We start the GCSE option timetable this term so I quickly set up practical assessments to weed out those who pale at the idea of performing - I feel as I spend great time in the nuturing years of KS3 that if the idea of learning and performing a piece of length makes them shudder at this point they are best suited elsewhere. Having said that I always end up with a group that is very well rounded - Students with EAL and SEN gain much from being supported by the higher academic students and grow in confidence and I am particularly proud of the way in which they develop otherwise unlikely friendships and support each other.
     
  9. Tinyfairy

    Tinyfairy New commenter

    We are inclusive and always over subscribed. My only issue that the 'powers that be' then decide who gets to do the subject and appear to push the 'more academic' students elsewhere. I am often left with students who chose Drama becasue they think it will be an easy option and/or they won't have to write much, they are inevitabley upset when they discover the amount of writing involved. I also end up with lots of very good students who are keen to do Drama and put it as a first choice not being allowed to do the subject. I am happy to be inclusive and agree that if we were selective there would be some students that no-one wants, I just feel it is a shame for those students who are desperate to take the subject and are not allowed, even though they would do well. The obvious answer would be to have two GCSE classes as I had in Yr10 and Yr11 but staffing cuts mean they will not even consider this.
     
  10. Tinyfairy,
    Could you have a mixed class of Year 10 & 11 and do the course in one year?
    Btw your name is sooo sweet.
     
  11. Tinyfairy

    Tinyfairy New commenter

    That's a definite possibility, however to complicate matters further we start GCSE in Yr9 soI currently have a Y9 class going into their second year a Y10 class going into their third year and come September I will have a new class of Y students, if that makes sense.
    lol thanks
     

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