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The Need for Drama in Education Archives - Young People's Theatre Programme

Extract from the UK government’s Cox Report on the use of Drama

“8.12 As a method of developing pupils’ skills in speaking and listening, drama is as important within secondary school learning as it is at primary level. Role play, in particular, affords opportunities to practise many more varieties of  language and to experience a far wider range of situations than could typically be achieved within normal classroom experience.

In our speaking and listening programmes of study it is therefore recommended specifically as a learning medium.

8.13 Drama provides a discipline for the development of co-ordination, concentration, commitment, organisation and decision-making that depends upon self and group awareness, observation, imagination and co-operation. It helps pupils express emotions and explore personal feelings; it encourages them to make sense of different situations and different points of view, to practise negotiating successfully with others, and to cope with – and resolve – new situations. The importance of such skills in enabling school-leavers to present themselves with confidence and to function effectively within the world of work and as responsible citizens is clear.”

Source: Cox Report

The EU funded DICE project report on long term impact of Drama in Education.

dice_logo_color_RGB_smallKey results

The key research findings

What does the research tell us about those students who regularly participate in educational theatre and drama activities? Here is a brief summary: compared with peers who had not been participating in any educational theatre and drama programmes, the theatre and drama participants

  1. are assessed more highly by their teachers in all aspects,
  2. feel more confident in reading and understanding tasks,
  3. feel more confident in communication,
  4. are more likely to feel that they are creative,
  5. like going to school more,
  6. enjoy school activities more,
  7. are better at problem solving,
  8. are better at coping with stress,
  9. are significantly more tolerant towards both minorities and foreigners,
  10. are more active citizens,
  11. show more interest in voting at any level,
  12. show more interest in participating in public issues,
  13. are more empathic: they have concern for others,
  14. are more able to change their perspective,
  15. are more innovative and entrepreneurial,
  16. show more dedication towards their future and have more plans,
  17. are much more willing to participate in any genre of arts and culture, and not just performing arts, but also writing, making music, films, handicrafts, and attending all sorts of arts and cultural activities,
  18. spend more time in school, more time reading, doing housework, playing, talking, and spend more time with family members and taking care of younger brothers and sisters. In contrast, they spend less time watching TV or playing computer games,
  19. do more for their families, are more likely to have a part-time job and spend more time  being creative either alone or in a group. They more frequently go to the theatre, exhibitions and museums, and the cinema, and go hiking and biking more often,
  20. are more likely to be a central character in the class,
  21. have a better sense of humour,
  22. feel better at home.

The research proves that educational theatre and drama also significantly supports the targets of the most relevant EU level documents, such as the Europe 2020 strategy. Educational theatre and drama has a significant and objectively measurable impact on five of the eight key competences: Communication in the mother tongue; Learning to learn; Interpersonal, intercultural and social competences, civic competence; Entrepreneurship and Cultural expression. Raising citizens with educational theatre and drama in the curriculum will result in

  • rise in the employment rate,
  • reduction in the number of early school leavers,
  • raising the overall quality of all levels of education and training,
  • stronger synergy between culture and education,
  • more active citizens,
  • citizens being more sympathetic towards cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue,
  • more innovative, creative and competitive citizens.


Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for creativity in the classroom.

After talking about how our existing education systems have trained us only to be right, and to kill creativity, Sir Ken Robinson makes an immensely important case for creativity:
“Creativity is as important in education as literacy, and that we should treat it with the same status.”
“We have to see our creative capacities for the richness they are and seeing our children for the hope that they are. And our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face this future. … our job is to help them make something of it.”

Watch this video for more pearls of wisdom!