March 18, 2024

Time for Change

In a world where education often feels stagnant, Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, heralds a much-needed shift. As he submits his book to the House of Lords, he advocates for a seismic change in secondary education. From embracing creativity to fostering partnerships with theatres, Kevin champions a dynamic approach.

Last week I sent off my new book to the House of Lords Select Committee on 11–16-year-olds education. They have been sitting for some time now taking the thoughts of many different people. Secondary education certainly needs a shakeup.

They have already decided that it is time to:

Abandon EBacc and Progress 8.

Reduce assessment, particularly written assessments.

Review KS3 and stop schools from making KS4 courses three years long.

Trust teachers and give them back their professionalism.

Include more creativity, arts and imaginative experiences.

Create partnerships between theatres and schools. 

Reject the notion of the failed ‘knowledge-rich’ curriculum

That’s quite a list.

As someone who has been in the education field for a long time, I recognise the return of new ideas that are old ideas. It often feels like we are reinventing the wheel yet again. Of course, schools should be places of creativity – that’s how you learn by discovering. How are we going to prepare our young people to play a part in the world of the future with its background in climate change and artificial intelligence?

Schools are still obsessed it seems to me in measurement, in grading everything and labelling schools with single-word statements – and we’ve all seen where that has led. The creative arts are huge money-makers for this country. Last year it brought in £108 billion and it employed 2.3 million people in every corner of the country.

I think a lot of Theatretrain parents understand that their child’s school isn’t able to give enough time to the arts. I think many of these parents know the good that it does and they put their money where their mouth is. After all don’t we want our kids to be alive, sparky, interested, committed, going for it and enjoying themselves in their learning? We know what we teach leads them off into so many avenues in life but most of all we take energy and enthusiasm and channel them into heightened moments of theatre. Those moments stay with them and deep down they learn something about themselves and they fit in with the people around them.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this future plays out because as far as I am concerned it is badly needed.

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

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