In a school were a colleague of mine works, he has been using drama ambassadors for some time. Contextually, the situation is slightly different to mine – drama is delivered at Key Stage 3, where in my new school it isn’t. However, the school is on a split site and he is the head of drama in the ‘upper school’ part of the school and sees little of the drama delivered in the ‘lower school’ in the other site.
In his school, the idea of the drama ambassador was a role developed more through coincidence rather than design. It came from a group of enthusiastic sixth former who began coming into his GCSE Drama classes because they enjoyed drama. The role developed from them simply being there to become teaching assistants, mentoring and guiding the GCSE students based on their own experiences. They soon started to organise extra GCSE exam rehearsals that they’d run and help them prepare for their performance exams.
Those volunteering received hoodies with the department logo on them, which they accepted as a uniform and where them with pride.
The role has developed so much now that the students are now involved in engaging the wider community through visit to local feeder schools to run workshops and help direct Year 5/6 productions. The experience has developed even further to include two students who, having been fully CRB checked, run literacy workshops for Key Stage 1 students. The ambassadors participate in sixth form open evenings and GCSE option evenings. The students also direct the SSF production.
Not only that, but the whole school has adopted this model. Every department has a group of ambassadors and as part of that, a new idea has developed where the group of ambassadors now create a video for prospective students detailing the course and why they should choose to take it as Key Stage 4 or 5.
In terms of the project that I’m creating, I get a lot of hope from this example. There are some incredibly keen students in my new school and I know that they will love this opportunity to take responsibility. I think giving them ownership and a sense of identity through the hoodies (or ties etc…) is a really good idea too. I have a sense that students will keep coming back year after year to this project and want to be involved more and more and hopefully it will develop in a similar way to this example.