I personally have chosen to work in a range of schools that offer unique social challenges. My current school has 39% free school meals and 42 different languages. However despite facing the challenges that these factors bring, our broad, balanced curriculum delivered 98% 5 A-C grades in August.
Before I even begin to touch on the merits of both subjects that help formulate our curriculum provision I can, ‘hand on heart’ say that both have been key to engaging young people in a huge variety of ways that simply cannot be identified in a league table format.
Both PE and drama have boosted student’s attendance; enabling them to integrate themselves in the ‘life of school’ and also have been pivotal in guiding them to discover life long interests beyond education. Certainly four of my ex students have indeed gone on to become teachers themselves in these areas.
(Now I am showing my age)
In this blog I do not intend to note how both subjects contribute to essential life skills such as communication, collaboration, perseverance or creativity, which they clearly do. That would only go to undermine them as essential discrete subjects themselves. I instead merely want to acknowledge that they are vital if our purpose is to prepare young people to become the successful, responsible citizens for future generations to learn from.
I believe as an educator, I have a moral responsibility to enable the students in my care to experience as wide a range of subject material and as many diverse opportunities as humanly possible.
I listen to the current Secretary of State pontificate about how young people from disadvantaged backgrounds should compete on a level playing field with all other students.
I ask him, how can he genuinely believe this, when he is proposing to remove the opportunity for these very students to study theatrical history, visit theatres, perform in community venues, work alongside professional companies, evaluate contemporary issues within sport and society, understand physiology, experience different roles such as performer, official coach; the list is endless.
I totally agree with the notion that our education system must be rigorous, but it must also be full of variety and inspire young people to escape from social economic restrictions they find themselves in and discover new talents and pursue interests to alter their destinies.
Drama and PE can offer these opportunities and we should fight for them to remain accessible for all young people, no matter what their background.