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Shakespeare has a key role to play in educational stage of life




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The Jacobean-era Cobbe portrait said to be of William Shakespeare, which is on display at the National Trust's Hatchlands Park in Surrey.
The Jacobean-era Cobbe portrait said to be of William Shakespeare, which is on display at the National Trust's Hatchlands Park in Surrey.

SHAKESPEARE has a vital role in education says the RSC in light of the House of Commons debates on Ebacc and figures show a continued decline in take up of arts subjects at GCSE.

New research from the RSC has revealed that attainment and aspirations amongst low achieving students, particularly boys, can be raised through Shakespeare.

The research, released on the eve of the RSC’s first symposium which examines the role of culture in education, reveals a link between the RSC’s approaches (based on techniques used in RSC rehearsal rooms) and improved vocabulary, literacy levels, aspirations and attainment.

Schools who are part of the RSC’s long-term education partnership programme, the Learning and Performance Network (LPN), were questioned as part of an evaluation of the programme’s impact. The findings clearly show that after working with the RSC:

  • 100 per cent of schools saw their students wanting to learn and do more
  • 100 per cent of those schools saw an increase in student confidence in the classroom
  • 96 per cent said that it had helped them to connect with previously hard to reach students

Teachers also reported sharp increases in writing levels - particularly amongst low achieving students and learners from low income families – alongside increased attainment in subjects across the curriculum, not just in English and drama.

As concerns grow that a narrow focus on core Ebacc subjects leaves little room or incentive for schools to offer pupils arts and creative subjects, the RSC cautions that a ‘one size fits all’ approach could threaten the future of schemes like the LPN - depriving thousands of young people access to the arts and a valuable way into learning for many.



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