The role of extra-curricular drama

This is my second blog in a series of reflective blogs at the end of Year 2 at my current school.

Lets start with what I offer at that extra curricular level. I offer:

  • School Production from September to March every Monday and Tuesday afterschool.
  • Summer Shakespeare from March to July every Monday and Tuesday afterschool.
  • LAMDA lessons are taught in upper school and lower school small group sessions every Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtime.
  • Key Stage 3 Drama club on a Friday lunchtime.

What I’d like to offer but haven’t the time:

  • Technical Theatre Club – we have a lot of students who are interested and keen to learn how to use lighting and sound in performance.
  • Key Stage 4 Drama Club – I ran one last year before we started LAMDA, and one at the beginning of this academic year, but, despite being popular, it wasn’t possible to maintain so many lunchtime and after school commitments.

There is lies the problem, there is only one of me and obviously I’m also tied up in my admin work, teaching, CPD and meetings etc… that I can’t run all the clubs that I’d like to. However, over these last two years the work put into the extra curricular activities have been the life blood of the department. After what happened before I arrived and the ramifications of that, especially in not having a Year 10 GCSE group in 2013 / 2014 and then again no Year 11 GCSE group in 2014 / 2015, there have been more students coming into the department for extra-curricular drama than there were students studying it. When you combine that with the bad set of results from the year before I arrived (2012/2013), the reasonable (and rescued) set of results from Year 1 (2013/2014) and the expectation of no results from Year 2 (2014/2015), it has been the standard of the extra curricular activities that has been the selling point of the subject of Drama and the future of the subject here at the school.

I’ve taken the responsibility of making sure that the extra-curricular activities are as strongly planned as the lessons would be and taken as seriously. I think the students have responded well to that. Participation in both the Summer Shakespeare and the School Production have increased from Year 1 to Year 2, as has interest and participation in the Drama Clubs.

The challenge for the next few years is to maintain these extra-curricular activities with a busier timetable and the, hopeful, introduction of Key Stage 3 Drama in Year 7 and 8.

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