Protecting Training Schemes in the Cultural and Creative Sector

Submitting Institution

University of Warwick

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Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Medical and Health Sciences: Public Health and Health Services
Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy, Specialist Studies In Education

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Summary of the impact

Research conducted by Warwick's Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR) provided vital supporting evidence for the continuation of funding for two Government sponsored educational schemes: the Dance and Drama Award scheme run by the Department for Education (DfE) and subsequently the Learning and Skills Council and the Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) Learning and Performance Network. Performing arts colleges and their students, as well as the wider creative economy, have benefitted from CEDAR's recommendation to the Government to continue the DaDA Scheme, resulting in a £14m per annum investment in the performing arts sector, whilst the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) commissioned CEDAR to evaluate the impact of the RSC's Learning and Performance Network (LPN) on teachers and learners, resulting in a successful bid by the RSC for funding to continue the LPN. The research also fed into the development of a collaborative practitioner training programme with the RSC, Teaching Shakespeare, launched in 2012.

Underpinning research

a) The Review of the Dance and Drama Awards Scheme (DaDA); commissioned by the DFE/LSC. DaDA: 07-12 2009: Jonothan Neelands, Geoff Lindsay, Robert Lindley, Joseph Winston and Sheila Galloway, all based at Warwick for the duration of the research.

The DaDA Scheme was a Government intervention in the independent training market for the performing arts. A series of research studies was commissioned by the DfE over the period 2000- 09 [1-4]. Their purpose was to provide Ministers with a high level strategic review of the scheme's benefits and to determine the likely impact on the performing arts if the scheme were closed. The earlier studies included examination of the characteristics of the students in receipt of Awards, including their academic achievement and disabilities, e.g. [9, 10]. From 2007-2009 research included site visits to all 31 schools in the DaDA Scheme, and interviews with stakeholders and industry representatives. The researchers undertook rigorous analysis of destination data, employability and employers' perspectives on the DaDA Scheme. This included identifying the training backgrounds of performers in 22 West End and touring musicals, five year employment records from the RSC and National Theatre, a week of the Radio Times and over 4,000 films to identify the visibility of DaDA graduates in the labour market.

The research demonstrated that the DaDA Scheme was integral to the ecology of the training and employment markets in the professional performing arts and that closing the scheme would have a disastrous effect on the industry and therefore on the economy [11,12]. This was achieved by identifying the percentages of DaDA graduates active in the industry in a given period and quantifying the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the performing arts as whole and performing artists individually to the London and National economy. We also developed economic, cultural and social policy arguments for DaDA through consultations with industry stakeholders and cross referencing to other policy objectives and imperatives. The Review also found that DaDA was more successful than other training schemes in terms of subsequent employment of students: 41% of leads and 66% of ensembles working in the West End during the Review were trained on DaDA courses as opposed to 10% and 1% from Conservatoire for Dance and Drama courses.

b) Impact of the Evaluation of the Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) Learning and Performance Network (LPN); commissioned by the Teacher Development Agency (TDA). RSC/LPN: 01-04 2009 Jonothan Neelands; Sheila Galloway and Geoff Lindsay all based at Warwick for the duration of the project.

This study was one component of an on-going research collaboration between Creative Partnerships, the previous government's flagship cultural education project, and the RSC, between 2007 and 2009. Its aim was to provide a real-time observational study and evaluation of the success of the LPN in terms of its impact upon teachers and educational methods, and its ability to engage students with Shakespeare. The LPN scheme was designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning through the use of drama techniques and by creating a partnership between third sectors, HEI and schools [5-8].

Performance indicators for success of the LPN included embedding working practices to enhance the teaching of Shakespeare, the spirit of ensemble, and attitudes to Shakespeare. These provided shape for the baseline questionnaires and surveys, and established a focus for the two research MA students at Warwick, sponsored by the RSC. We surveyed 300 teachers against baseline measures to establish how successfully the indicators had become embedded in practice. In addition, the research was designed to make best use of other sources of data undertaken by Creative Partnerships including external evaluations of a PG Award in Teaching Shakespeare, offered by Warwick to LPN teachers, the work of the MA students, and 35 action research based case studies produced by teachers for the PG Award. We also conducted ethnographic study of the workings of the cluster and lead school model in the LPN and a survey of lead teachers (27) and cluster teachers (300) including; demographics; self-assessment against negotiated performance indicators; relevant prior experiences and reasons for joining the LPN; and strengths and weaknesses of the partnership with RSC and University of Warwick.

The study included a student survey, an evaluation of teachers' practice, and a reflection upon the processes of the Network and its evolution. Our research demonstrated a positive change in attitudes to Shakespeare, including a significant reduction in those who find Shakespeare difficult to understand and changes in teaching practices to make the experience of learning Shakespeare more active, by bringing Shakespeare into drama lessons and acting out scenes from Shakespeare plays [13-15].

References to the research

Research Awards:

1. Dance and drama awards evaluation. Lindsay, G. & Neelands, J. DfEE, £276,055. 2000-03.

2. Dance and drama awards evaluation. Neelands, J., Lindsay, G., Galloway, S., Freakley, V., Band, S., Lindley, R., & Davies, R. DfES, £346,900. 2003-06.

3. Supplement - Mapping Entrances and Exits into Training and Employment in the Performing Arts. Neelands, J. LSC, £85,700. 2006.

4. Review of the Dance and Drama Award Scheme. Neelands, J., Galloway, S., Lindsay, G., Lindley, R., & Winston, J. LSC, £63,550. 2009.

5. Evaluation of the RSC's Learning Network. Galloway, S. Royal Shakespeare Company, £29,952. 2007.

6. The impact of the Royal Shakespeare Company's learning and performance network. Neelands, J., Galloway, S., & Lindsay, G. TDA, £50,000. 2009.

7. Attitude to Shakespeare and Comparison to Initial LPN Evaluation. Strand, S. Royal Shakespeare Company. £9,500, 2010.

8. Why start Shakespeare young? Winston, J. RSC, £8,000, 2010.


9. Neelands, J., Lindsay, G., Freakley, V., Galloway, S., Lindley, R., & Davies, R. (2006). Dance and Drama Award Scheme Evaluation project Phase II. Final Report. Coventry: University of Warwick, CEDAR.

10. Band, S., Lindsay, G., Neelands, J., & Freakley, V. (2011). Disabled students in the performing arts - are we setting them up to succeed? International Journal of Inclusive Education. 15((9), 891-908.


11. Neelands, J., Lindley, R., Lindsay, G., Winston, J. and Galloway, S. with I. Kellgren and M. Morris (2009) Dance and Drama Award Strategic Review, 2009: Final Report. Coventry: University of Warwick, CEDAR and IER. [Commercial - In confidence to LSC]

12. Neelands, J., Freakley, V., and Lindsay, G. (2006), Things can only get better: A study of social-market interventions in the shaping of the field of cultural production, International Journal of Cultural Policy, 12 (1), 93-109.


13. Neelands, J. and O'Hanlon, J. (2011). There is Some Soul of Good: An Action-Centred Approach to Teaching Shakespeare in Schools, Shakespeare Survey. 1st ed. Vol. 64. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 240-250. Shakespeare Survey Online. Web. 23 September 2013.


14. Neelands, J., Galloway, S. & Lindsay, G. (2009) Stand up for Shakespeare: The Royal Shakespeare Company Learning & Performance Network 2006-2009 [Report to the Training and Development Agency for Schools] Coventry: University of Warwick, CEDAR.

15. Neelands, J. (2010) The wheel is come full circle; learning to play with Shakespeare in Monk, N. Rutter, C. Neelands, J. Heron H. Open-space Learning: A Study in Transdisciplinary Pedagogy London: Bloomsbury. [peer reviewed monograph]


Details of the impact

The research has had wide ranging impact across the creative and cultural education sector, bringing benefits to students, teachers, policy-makers, education providers, and the wider economy. These impacts were achieved by providing robust evidence for decision-makers, enabling arts organisations to win further funding, and through the provision of improved teacher training courses.

DaDA Review

Impact on Government Policy

The most significant impact that emerged from this research was the use of our research to inform and influence policy on the creative and cultural education sector. At the outset, closure was a viable option for the scheme due to changes in and support for the sector since the scheme's inception in 1999: the DfE needed advice on the potential impact of this course of action. Our recommendations were communicated directly to Ministers at a seminar in January 2010. The pivotal point in the review recommendation, `that the DaDA Awards continue to be allocated at similar levels and numbers until alternative arrangements are in place in order to minimise what key employers see as a serious threat to the performing arts sector', prompted the government to continue funding the DaDA Scheme until the next comprehensive spending review. Subsequently, the new administration has also accepted the findings and agreed to continue the scheme.

Recommendations from the Review were particularly influential on Government, and the future direction of the DaDA Scheme. Most notably, the Review recommended that the scheme should target students who could not otherwise afford to undertake the training, which led to an emphasis on equality of opportunity and access in the Scheme, including implementing the recommendation that access courses should be provided for students with disabilities. The key recommendations of CEDAR's Review were later incorporated into the Henley Review of Cultural Education, commissioned by DfE and DCMS [i] and endorsed in the Secretary of State for Education's Response [ii].This Review investigated support for cultural and creative education, and as a result the Government introduced many new initiatives to improve dance and drama teaching, e.g. the creation of Drama UK, a quality assurance and standards authority for vocational drama courses at leading conservatoires. As a result of his expertise and research into the DaDA Scheme, Neelands was appointed as an independent Director of Drama UK. Moreover, Drama UK uses the methodology developed from the Report to underpin its ranking of drama schools [iii].

Impact on the Economy and Performing Arts Sector

Through its cogent argument for the continuation of the DaDA scheme, the Review secured an investment of £14m per annum, benefiting performing arts students, the national economy, and the providers of creative and cultural education. If our research had failed to convince the government to continue funding DaDA there would have been substantial negative consequences for the sector. The Scheme provides a significant proportion of the talent required by the performing arts industry which has a GVA of £4.45b nationally and £1.6b to the London economy. Leading industry figures including Arlene Phillips, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Bill Kenwright and André Ptaszynski, Chief Executive of Lord Lloyd-Weber's Really Useful Group interviewed for the Review emphasised the importance of DaDA to their own and other businesses. In the employers' view, there would be a potentially catastrophic effect on the performing arts industry if the DaDA Scheme was closed before the establishment of any alternative means of ensuring a continuous supply of high quality performers to the industry. The research also highlighted the financial dependence of many training providers on the DaDA funding and was able to demonstrate that withdrawal of funding would lead to fees at a level that only the very rich could afford, the reduction of teaching hours, larger teaching groups, less qualified professional trainers and in some cases possible closure. This would then impact on the intensity and quality of training across the sector that provides much of the talent the industry depends on [iii-vi].

LPN Review

Our research has had a significant impact on the provision of creative and cultural education by providing the RSC with the necessary evidence to lobby for further financial support. The successful £320k bid (2012) by the RSC to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for a new three year funding programme for the LPN was based upon our research [vii, viii]. This funding has established a new network linking 120 schools and 10 local theatres and encourages active and theatre based approaches to the teaching of Shakespeare. The impact of the LPN on teachers' approaches indicates a highly positive experience for teachers, as expressed by a Lead Teacher; "It was the best quality training I have ever had in 25 years of teaching. The expertise of the RSC supported by Warwick has been second to none." [viii,ix] In order to continue the impact of the research, Neelands is now a member of the RSC Education Advisory Board and advises on the RSC's on-going research and evaluation programme.

Impact on teacher training provision

The significance of the Warwick PGCE and the LPN was supported by a review by Thompson et al. [x]. A major impact on training provision was the launch of the Teaching Shakespeare programme in 2012; a ground-breaking partnership between the RSC and the University of Warwick that evolved out of the commission's research findings. By offering online and residential courses, our findings were fed into the pedagogical approach of the new courses and resources. The programme offers an MA and a PG Award in Teaching Shakespeare to teachers and actors. Since its launch in September 2012, 55 students have enrolled on Teaching Shakespeare courses and 150 site licenses have been sold to schools. 60 teachers and 18 theatre practitioners will be funded to complete the PG Award, leading to direct and indirect benefits to 72,000 pupils. These courses are having an international impact on teaching practice with students from Europe, Asia, Australia and North America enrolled on the online qualification and summer intensive courses in Stratford Upon Avon. In 2013 Neelands ran a five day intensive course in Singapore attended by representatives from the Ministry of Education and Teaching Shakespeare was a finalist at the Bett Awards for technology in education, considered to be the most prestigious within the education sector, in recognition of the quality of the programme.

Impact on pupils

The research has impacted upon pupils directly, through involvement in the LPN and indirectly by benefitting from the innovative pedagogical techniques taught to teachers on the Teaching Shakespeare programme. The commission's student survey, completed by over 1000 pupils in 2007 and then again in 2009, demonstrated a significant change in attitudes towards Shakespeare as a result of the LPN. There was an increase in pupils believing Shakespeare to be fun and they were less likely to say that Shakespeare was difficult to understand [15]. Resulting from the commission, pedagogical frameworks for teachers were developed which had demonstrated a highly positive effect upon pupil confidence and active learning. The RSC Shakespeare Toolkit has now been placed by the DfE in every secondary school in England and acknowledges the influence of Neelands and Winston [xi].

Sources to corroborate the impact

Impact of DaDA Review

i) DCMS (2012) Cultural Education in England — an independent review by Darren Henley [This report adopts the recommendations made by the DaDA review]

ii) DCMS (2012) Cultural Education in England - the government's response to the independent review by Darren Henley [This document demonstrates how recommendations from DaDA review and Henley Review led to creation of Drama UK]

iii) Drama UK [can corroborate Neelands' work as Director of Drama UK].

iv) Director of Council for Dance Education and Training.

v) General Secretary of Equity.

vi) Council for Dance Education and Training (2010) `The Dance and Drama Awards: Ten Years of Success'[This is a brochure produced by CDET to promote the DaDAs, which draws on the research].

Impact of LPN Review

vii) Royal Shakespeare Company

viii)Headteacher, Queensbridge School.

ix) Lead teacher statement, (2009, pg. 26)

x) Thomson, P., Hall, C., Thomas, D., Jones, K. and Franks, A. (2010) A study of the Learning Performance Network, an education programme of the Royal Shakespeare Company (Newcastle: Creativity, Culture and Education) [This evaluation demonstrates the value of the Warwick PG Cert and the LPN as it evolved following our research].

xi) RSC (2010) Shakespeare Toolkit Methuen Drama; London.