Drama hope to boost Doncaster children's reading and writing

Staff and pupils at Edlington Victoria Primary are celebrating after a good Ofsted report. Headteacher Beryce Nixon is pictured with pupils. Now the school is set to take part in a new scheme to boost reading and writing
Staff and pupils at Edlington Victoria Primary are celebrating after a good Ofsted report. Headteacher Beryce Nixon is pictured with pupils. Now the school is set to take part in a new scheme to boost reading and writing
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Nine Doncaster primary schools are set to turn to drama in a bid to transform their pupils' reading and writing.

The Doncaster community arts group, Darts, will send in a drama expect to each of the schools in the next school year, with schools which have a large number of deprived pupils, who receive what is known as 'pupil premium' money, given priority for the scheme.

Doncaster Council cabinet has approved a grant of £67,764.50 to develop the scheme, called Teacher in Role, for youngsters aged between seven and nine.

The primary schools which will be taking part will be Edlington Victoria, Edlington Hill Top, Balby Central, Woodfield, Woodlands, Shaw Wood, West Road, Long Toft and Kirton Lane.

Of the nine, only Edlington Hill Top has reading levels above the national average.

A report before Doncaster Council's cabinet stated: "Teacher in Role is a method of teaching that utilises techniques of drama to facilitate education. It is a holistic teaching method designed to integrate critical thought, examination of emotion and moral values and factual data to broaden the learning experience of and make it more relevant to everyday life situations."

Each school will have a drama teacher in residents for one day a week for three half terms. They will show the school's own staff how to do the sessions. The teachers are then expected to pass the scheme on to other schools locally.

Experts at Doncaster Council will track what effect the scheme has on pupils' reading and writing standards.

The council's director of education, Damien Allen, said the scheme was to raise aspiration and achievement. He said: "It is using proven techniques on reading and writing skills with a drama teacher in residence model."

Mayor Ros Jones gave her backing to the scheme.

She said: "This is very welcome because it is about raising attainment, and that is one of our primary objectives."

The council said an example of the sort of work that may be done would be the drama teacher taking the tole of an aspiring firework maker Lila, from Philip Pullman's book The Firework Maker's Daughter, and ancouraging the children to become 'quest makers' whose job it is to design Lila a successful mission.

They would then do linked follow-up work,