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One year to save Drama! Help!

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by joejoe2011, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. After two years running of weak exam results at GCSE, AS and A2 in Drama and Theatre Studies, I have been appointed to raise standards of achievement at all three stages in the next year - failure to do so will put the subject in jeopardy!!

    I'm not working flat out to do what I can but am feeling somewhat overwhelmed.

    I have made some changes already and signed up to feedback sessions with AQA in the hope that these will reveal some crucial information!

    Is anyone else in the same position? With weak results, plus the E-Bacc, amongst other things our numbers are dwindling and we don't seem to be getting the range of kids we used to - lots of kids who have very weak literacy skills and struggling with the written exam side.

    If anyone have any genius ideas or can please share any wisdom I would massively appreciate. I don't want to see Drama disappearing. It's a crucial part of young people's personal development and does so much in fostering and emboldening confidence and self-esteem - I've GOT to make this work!!

    Thank-you in anticipation!

  2. If you are on AQA and the problem is the written exam switch to Edexcel. I may not be a fan of their marking decisions this year but the course does play to Drama students strengths i.e exploring drama thorugh practical workshops.
  3. Alf58

    Alf58 Established commenter

    Problems with Edexcel: 5000 words of controlled conditions writing which is extremely stringently moderated so it is hard for even the brighest kids to do well. I would argue a written exam would be the lesser of the two evils. Also Edexcel performance examination which is marked in a largely eccentric and unfathomable way. The administration includes endless form filling, the recording of two DVDs with blow by blow written commentary rquired.

    I have found over the last two years it is almost impossible to predict GCSE examination grades with Edexcel. SMT really hate this and will always blame the teacher. I was with Edexcel for more than 20 years but I have finally had enough and am moving to AQA. My advice dont touch Edexcel with a barge pole. If you are not happy with AQA, investigate WJEC or OCR. I am a drama teacher of 32 years experience.
  4. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    My first move would be to shop around for a new examination board - I would carefully look at them all and weigh up what would be best suited to your students. I would then review all the schemes of work at GCSE and KS3, looking at how that perhaps fails to fully prepare students for A-Level.
  5. Have you been given any extra budget to help you raise achievement? And do your SMT actually want this to succeed? Those two questions seem quite key to me. If they want Drama to survive these tough times then they should lay aside budget for you to get some training (exam board and practical workshop type sessions) and also some budget for re-resourcing should you overhaul schemes of work etc. They will also support you if you want to run trips/workshops to enhance what you are teaching or if you want to take pupils off timetable to get coursework completed in longer sessions. They will help you publicize the subject at Options Evening for GCSE (if you have one) and will make sure that the option blocks do not discourage bright pupils from taking the subject. If you think this is probably not the case, then smaller class sizes can work to your advantage in that you can give pupils more time, and have the ability to monitor their work more closely, so maybe you can better meet your target grades. And, weaker pupils come with lower target grades, so the difficulty of trying to capture the elusive A stars is reduced. Lastly, team up with other Arts subjects and try to widen the sorts of things you can all offer. Are they in the same boat? I hope you can do it, but 1 year is not a very long time - I would have thought this was a 3 year project at least...
  6. Tinyfairy

    Tinyfairy New commenter

    I am in a very similar situation. I have just started at an International school and due to poor results in previous years the school board are trying to get me to teach Drama as a non-exam subject. Personally I think this is ridiculus! We are caliming to provide a British style whole person education but all of our focus is on Maths, Sciences and English.
    I am trying to improve results this year and if I fail to do so there may not be a job for me here next year and if there is I will be teaching a glorified extra curricular activity which will be extremely demoralising! So far I have changed to Edexcel GCSE because I know the course well and personally feel coursework however strictly it may be moderated is better than a written exam (especially as all of my students have English as a second language) we also do Edexcel A level so I feel the follow on will be better. I have also been trying to seel my subject and using extra curricular activities to raise the profile of Drama and get students interested, which seems to be working.
    However, I am unsure what else to do, training courses are pretty imposible because I am based in China, any ideas will be greatly appreciated!

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