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Leading an outstanding Drama Department

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These are exciting and challenging times to lead in Drama. This course will consider what excellence in a Drama department looks like, and the role of the Head of Drama in helping to achieve and maintain such excellence. It will examine strategies for successful recruitment of students, for optimizing teaching and learning, for managing teachers experienced and inexperienced, and for establishing and maintaining a position for Drama within a school. It will conclude with an overview of what the working year of a Head of Drama involves, and of the opportunities and challenges the job presents at various stages in its life cycle. Finally, the course will offer constructive, pragmatic advice derived from experience, and will aim to incorporate lively discussion and question-and-answer sessions. Delegates will leave equipped with effective practical strategies and ideas. This course is designed for current Heads of Drama and for anyone interested in holding such a position or in contributing to the leadership of Drama in school.


  • Consider what makes a Drama department excellent, and the role of the Head of Drama in achieving excellence
  • Look at a range of strategies for improving and maintaining recruitment of students
  • Look at ways in which a Head of Drama can develop and improve teaching and learning within the department
  • Enhance their ability to lead, support and nurture teachers in the department
  • Examined the yearly workload of a Head of Drama and the life cycle of the job
  • Reflect on strategies for dealing with the challenges and making the most of the opportunities presented by a Head of Drama position


What is a successful Drama department?

10.00 – 10.30am
  • The position of Drama within a school: variables, challenges and opportunities
  • The quality of teaching and learning
  • Managing, inspiring and leading your staff to happiness and fulfilment
  • Expectations and outcomes: senior leadership, the intellectual environment, public exams and progression to higher education
  • How to evaluate your department effectively and use this as a tool for improvement

Student recruitment

10.30 – 11.30am
  • Key Stage 3: curricula to attract and retain students
  • Engaging interest in theatre written work at GCSE
  • Engaging interest in practical work at GCSE
  • Stretch and challenge without intimidation
  • Developing the department as a physical space
  • Beyond the classroom and the curriculum: educational visits and trips
  • Promotion and advertisement using traditional and new media


Morning Break

11.30 – 11.45pm

Leading outstanding Teaching and Learning in Drama

11.45 – 12.30pm
  • Implementing effective strategies to ensure a consistent and effective experience for all learners in light of recent curriculum changes
  • How a Head of Drama can model outstanding teaching and learning
  • Developing curricula and schemes of work
  • Making effective use of assessment and assessment data
  • Understanding when to be restrictive and when to allow creative autonomy
  • Using a range of monitoring tools to track performance, recognise underachievement and motivate learners in order that they meet the needs of the new curriculum
  • Selecting appropriate pathways for learners: recognising exceptional circumstances and balancing the needs of the student and school/college



12.30 – 1.30pm

Staff Development: How to support and develop your staff.

1.30 – 2.40pm
  • Strategies for managing your staff, from experienced to inexperienced teachers and NQTs
  • Making observation and appraisal processes as effective as possible
  • Involving others in decision-making, planning and delivery
  • Making the most of departmental meetings
  • How to introduce change: reducing resistance and addressing concerns
  • Developing curriculum expertise in your department
  • Strategies for maintaining the highest quality of teaching and student performances over time
  • Making the right appointments and coaching for successful performance
  • Professional development: what type, how and who?
  • Implementing and managing departmental systems and paperwork


Afternoon Tea

2.40 – 2.45pm

How it works: the Head of Drama

2.45 – 3.40pm
  • Managing one’s time and workload: variables and the work-life balance
  • The pros and cons of delegation
  • Planning ahead and finding time to do so
  • Preparing for Inspections
  • Department evaluation – driving up improvements to enhance performance
  • Maintaining freshness and enthusiasm: professional and intellectual development
  • Peaks, troughs and the long run: responding to success and failure
  • Working with the SLT; the confidence to champion and compromise





London | Thursday 23 November 2023

Please select your preferred date

London | Thursday 23 November 2023

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Natalie Maher is a successful and experienced Director of Drama currently in her sixth year at a leading London Independent School. Promoted to Head of Drama at the end of her NQT year, she has over 20 years as Secondary Head of Drama, Head of Arts Faculty, Gifted & Talented Co-ordinator, School Governor. Her Drama teaching experience extends across a variety of school settings in both mainstream and independent schools across London, Essex and Hertfordshire. Shas previously been a visiting A-Level examiner for Pearson and examined independently on The Bedales Assessed Course (BACS) for GCSE for a number of years. She has led teams to achieve consistently outstanding results with high value added scores, which are above the national average. Prior to qualifying as a drama teacher Natalie trained as a professional actor and has performed at The Criterion, The Bloomsbury, The Arts Theatre, Riverside Studios, The Royal Albert Hall, The Peacock and The Young Vic in London’s West End and has BBC TV credits. She has taught LAMDA and coached students into prestigious drama schools and the National Youth Theatre. She currently has students past and present performing in the West End, in film and TV. Natalie created Theatre Audience Podcast in 2019 where she presents and has interviewed West End Actors and does a monthly round up discussing and reviewing the latest must see theatre.


  • Heads of Drama Departments
  • Aspiring Heads of Drama Departments
  • Heads of Drama Faculties
  • Senior Leaders responsible for the Performing Arts


  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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