Make some space for Drama, Mr Gove
Yes, I know I'm always harping on about confidence and its importance, but I just don't think that there is enough emphasis on this vital contributor to lifelong success in our children's Early Years education.
Drama, which is a proven way of helping children develop confidence, concentration and all manner of social skills for their future lives, is still appallingly low on the National Curriculum's agenda. One example of this is the fact that Drama is still being treated as part of English rather than a subject in its own right
Anyone who has experienced Drama classes themselves or seen their child transform during Drama, will know that the difference it makes cannot be underestimated. It really is high time that this was addressed by the Department for Education.
There have been numerous studies about the benefits of Drama across all children and I have personally witnessed many of them. They include seeing our classes helping children to:
? improve self-confidence ? acquire better concentration and memory skills ? develop reading and writing skills ? boost self esteem ? build a colourful imagination ? work as part of a group ? follow directions and instructions ? encourage confident speaking ? develop a wider vocabulary ? recognise emotions in others ? identify their own emotions.
As information becomes more and more accessible and a potential employee's "skillset" becomes more and more important, what could be a higher priority in the formative primary school years than to develop these skills? Equipped with these attributes, you are en route to achieving anything you set your mind to. And isn't that really what our education system should be promoting?
That's not to say that there isn't any Drama at primary schools currently. For example, every day, dozens of our Perform teachers go into primary schools and run educational workshops based on topic such as The Great Fire of London and Florence Nightingale in which we teach the children historical facts by acting out the role of the baker who started the fire on Pudding Lane or a soldier in the Crimean war. Teachers always comment afterwards how much the children learn from actually being in history rather than being taught it. This is the power of drama to bring life, excitement and passion to the classroom- to ignite a flame of curiosity and a hunger for learning - as well as being a fantastic way to focus boistrous children and bring shy children out of their shells. Nothing has the power to do this like Drama.
So if you are reading this, Mr Gove, please think about how easy it would be to give every child the opportunity to feel alive, passionate and confident enough to fulfil their potential. And make some room for Drama in the National Curriculum!