On Friday I had a S5 pupil looking at universities and Drama Schools for when she leaves school next year, she asked me my opinion on the Drama and Performance course at Queen Margaret’s as she thought, as an Ex Graduate I would know. I didn’t! I have to say last time I questioned QM about the new course I received a very rude answer and the phone call was ended abruptly, however we move on!
So I looked at the course and now I’ve been thinking about the proposed new course that is to replace the Acting, Theatre Production and DTA course.
In the past four years I have had several former pupils who have been lucky to attend courses at University or NCDT Drama schools, one currently at QM doing the Drama and Theatre Arts course.
This proposed new course – does it currently meet the needs of those leaving school and looking for a career in the industry upon graduation?
In the past year and a half a large amount of qualified staff have resigned including the head of costume, head of community theatre, head of DTA and the author of a leading stage management book. These professionals are what made the course at Queen Margaret great. I’m sure the current members of staff are also excellent but questions should be raised why there has been such a high staff turn over and the impact this is having on teaching and learning?
As far as I could tell from the course outline and information available the person in charge of the new course isn’t actually experienced in the related fields of Drama and Performance. Again what impact is this going to have on the learning outcomes and overall course content?
I am raising these questions as a concerned teacher and ex graduated.
As acting subject coordinator for Drama in East Lothian we have not been consulted as a region as to the needs of our pupils, the continuity of Drama from Standard Grade through to Higher Still and then onto degree level. I am also aware that The University of Edinburgh, School of Education hasn’t been consulted over the new course and it’s impact it’s going to have on teacher training in Scotland.
The Higher Still courses asks pupil to specialise in various areas of Drama and I’m concerned of the lack of training in Scotland for pupils to continue with their specialised interest.
Moray House turn out a large majority of Scotland’s Secondary school teachers of Drama and the graduates from the Drama and Theatre Arts course excel in the post graduate course because of the content and learning experience we had during our training. Those who took Community Theatre were ideal candidates for the teaching course.
Having been a teacher now for a number of years and set up Drama departments in two separate schools the DTA course was ideal for those wanting to be a teacher, as well as other carers.I have used my knowlededge to create engaging courses that would enable young people the chance to go onto higher/further education and be equipped with the skills need to excel.
According to students currently at QM the new course will not have the in-depth sepcialism time that we had (going from 120 credits to 60 – I think, can someone from QM clarify this?) What impact is this going to have on the industry?
Another major concern I have is that the Head of School isn’t actually a Drama professional but media and from what I can see a new course being offered in Stage and Screen between the School of Drama and School of Media is going to pave way for a super faculty of Drama and Media, merging the two schools. So in theory we would have lost the school of Drama all together.
I am passionate, as we all our, about our subjects and my concern is what I see as a ‘dumbing down’ of three fantastic courses. I had an amazing time at the university, taught by some outstanding people.
As a teacher and as a professional I am deeply concerned about what is happening at Queen Margaret, as I’m sure a lot of others are too. What do people think? Am I wrong in questioning? Do our young people deserve better opportunities?
I suppose I am raising these questions as a concerned teacher, educator, professional and ex graduate! I know I am not the only teacher in Scotland to feel like this. I have asked QM to meet the teachers of Drama in East Lothian to discuss with us the new course.
I’m opening it up for debate!