Dance, Drama or History?

Recently, I was asked by a friend which option in Year 9 should his daughter take as one of the option blocks contained the following three options: Dance, Drama and History. My friend said “Although his daughter liked History, she loved drama and especially dance”.

He said to me “I have no problem with drama or dance, but they are not “real” subjects like history.”  

After a chat I realised my friend was already thinking that if his daughter took drama or dance it would in some way impede her life chances with respect to her university or career options. I suggested his daughter should study things she loves, and it is too early in my opinion to narrow down options in a closed and specific way. In fact, I was saddened to think that we have reached a stage in UK education where the Arts are considered to be less important, less academic, and perhaps even a waste of time, all due to some sort of academic snobbery.

I actually think that children should be positively encouraged to take at least one Arts subject in Year 9, and perhaps schools should design the options process to ensure this happens. I have come to this conclusion as I believe the Arts help to make us all more rounded as individuals. Dance in particular improves fitness, and motor skills. Along with Drama they help students to think for themselves, builds team- work and cooperation, improve self- confidence, and of course are great fun. I also think the Arts subjects are well placed in helping students deal with the seemingly increased mental health issues and concerns which may have manifested themselves in our students due to the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns.

But what about jobs and careers?

During the pandemic millions of us have been locked down and I know I have watched more TV, my wife has watched plays broadcast by the RSC on-line, the radio is on constantly and I have read more and listened to music. In other words, I have relied on the Arts to get me through isolation, and to keep up my spirits. Having done some research, I was not surprised to find that the UK is a world leader in the production of many art forms including things like gaming which require many art related skills like graphic design for example. My research came up with some astonishing figures, and I have taken the main points from a Guardian article 26/6/20 which quoted information from a global company called Oxford Economics'. It stated, “The creative industries in the UK alone, contributed £111.7bn to the UK economy in 2018”. It also stated that the creative Arts industries were the second fastest growth sector in the UK and the UK is seen as a world leader in the creative sector.

Bearing this in mind, I think taking a creative subject at GCSE could inspire young minds onto great things, whether in the creative industries or not, but there are obviously opportunities in this growing sector and the taking of an “Arts” subject can certainly help with a student's personal development and ensure they become a happy and economically productive individual in the future.


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Many thanks for reading, Tim