National Drama Subject Association

02.09.2014 Dear Paul,

National Drama is writing to you on behalf of its members regarding the 2014 summer session results, in particular the GCSE results.

I am sure you will already be aware from teachers who may have been in contact to query and clarify their results that they are unhappy and/or confused. We have also been contacted by them for support and/or guidance. We have simply said that we would write to you and raise the points from our members collectively to support them and we hope to hear from you shortly.

Most Drama teachers are very understanding of the difficult job moderators and examiners have in marking/moderating Drama work, they appreciate the subjective nature and also realise the huge range of students that will be seen over each exam session, but some teachers have been teaching your specification for several years and are now so confused by the unpredictability of results that they fear what their students will receive.

One teacher, who is also a Drama examiner, contacted us stating the following:

“I've been teaching for 11 years... with GCSE results of 92-95% each year. However this year we have dropped to 58%! No rhyme or reason and we've never had marks changed so drastically before. Kids not even sampled or on the video for Unit 2 have had marks dropped by 22 marks (out of 40), going from 24 to 2. How on earth can this be? I'm willing to appeal for my candidates but feel some other political agenda is at work here. Pretty sure I'll get stonewalled and they make it so expensive to appeal that it's a luxury most schools can't afford.”

The above example concerns us greatly and I am sure worries you too. As National Drama we have two main concerns:

1) Heads of Drama need to return to school, analyse their results and present this to their senior leadership. At the moment they will face challenge and frustration from their senior leadership who will be appalled by these results, their predictions will be out and the schools APS or % of A*-C will be greatly affected. Some departments will be faced with the quandary of being told to change boards or will be worrying that senior leadership simply will not want to retain Drama as a GCSE option for fear of poor results.

2) Drama (as you will know) is currently in a fragile position; there are very few Head teachers out there who are Drama specialists who will have the empathy and understanding of their Drama HOD’s. With the pressure from Government, cuts in school budgets, examination officers disappearing and the fact that Drama is an optional subject we fear as a subject association that results like these will cause schools to quite simply be left with the decision to cut the subject. It is bad enough that some schools don’t have a specialist Drama department or don’t teach Drama at KS3 but most schools do support the teaching of Drama at GCSE in some way – or at least currently they do!

We hope you will look into the above as a matter of urgency and look forward to hearing from you shortly so that we can inform our members further.

Kind regards,

National Drama Executive