Drama is included within the English national curriculum that came in to force from September 2014

Additional guidance from the CLA curriculum consultations below is organised by the appropriate sections from the English curriculum followed by questions you can ask about your school curriculum.

Purpose of study

The purpose of studying English and Drama is to enable young people to be critical and creative thinkers, to understand the world and their place and agency within it, and to make change happen. English and Drama are linked but separate disciplines that enable these outcomes. 

Drama is an artistic practice. It is essential to children’s personal, social, emotional and cultural development. It provides them with the kinds of core knowledge required to access important aspects of the classical and contemporary literary cannon, for example the works of Shakespeare.

Effective written communication is underpinned by the ability to use and interpret speech. Through engagement with drama children come to know and understand that live interpersonal communication is reliant on both verbal and non-verbal signs; we do a lot of speaking with our bodies, a lot of listening with our eyes.

Drama is social and inclusive and offers all young people opportunities for meaningful participation. It offers unique opportunities for whole classes, year groups and schools to work collaboratively and culturally.

Questions for school leaders and governors:

1. Why is drama important in your school?  

2. Where does or can drama provision:

 a. contribute to the ethos and cultural offer of the school?

 b. contribute to children’s social, moral, spiritual and cultural development?

 c. involve and motivate children so that they develop as expressive, creative and confident learners through making, performing and appreciating drama and theatre

 d. involve children in active learning, with opportunities for independent learning, making drama with others, problem solving and decision making?

3. How do you assess the quality and the impact of the drama offer on children’s learning?  


The national curriculum for English should ensure that all pupils:

  • speak easily and fluently and with good understanding.              
  • create, respond to and perform their own and other people’s drama and are enabled to use drama in order to learn
  • confidently engage with their rich and varied literary, and wider cultural heritage
  • create, share and evaluate their own work

Spoken language                                                   

Pupils should have knowledge of the basic elements of drama, i.e. role, narrative, tension, language, voice, symbol, space, mood, contrast, silence, sound, gesture, movement, stillness.  

Key stage 1

  • Do pupils have the opportunity to create and develop their own dramatic works?
  • Do pupils have the opportunity to experience, analyse, evaluate and appreciate dramatic works?

Writing – composition

  • Is writing, for a range of real purposes, explicitly linked to performance, communication and creative idea generation?           

Reading – Comprehension Statutory requirements         

  • Do pupils have the opportunity to use drama approaches to develop understanding of how to develop and perform plays and poems?          

Key stage 3


  • Are pupils taught to understand how directors, performers, producers and designers realise Dramatic texts on stage?
  • Do pupils study setting, plot, and characterisation, and the effects of these?

Spoken English                                                             

  • Are pupils taught to use drama approaches to develop understanding of how to develop and perform plays and poems?
  • Are pupil’s supported to know, understand and use drama(tic) approaches and techniques, considering how words, movement, sound, gesture and staging combine for effect?
  • Do pupils critically analyse how the work of dramatists is communicated effectively through performance?