Department for Education responds to parliamentary questions on Theatre for Every Child

On 22 April 2024, Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East and a named supporter of the Theatre for Every Child campaign, tabled two written questions for the Department for Education on the aims of our campaign. The first asked whether the Secretary of State for Education would “take steps to ensure every (a) primary and (b) secondary pupil in England can visit the theatre at least once in their school career”. The second probed the Government on their plans to “ensure that pupils from low income families are able to participate in school visits to theatres”.

Asking questions in Parliament is a key way to elicit further information from the Government or press for action on a particular topic. That is why we have been working to grow political support across the House of Commons and House of Lords and all political parties.

Responses to these questions came from the Rt Hon. Damian Hinds MP, Minister for Schools. You can read the full responses via the link above, but we have summarised the main points made across both:

  • Schools in England must provide a broad and balanced curriculum that includes creative subjects (alongside ‘core’ subjects).
  • The Government is committed to ensuring access to creative education.
  • Drama is not a standalone subject in the National Curriculum and teachers should “use their professional judgement as to how and when […] opportunities are created.”
  • In 2017, the department updated GSCE and A Level Drama content to include the “entitlement to experience live theatre”.
  • Advice to schools on charging for activities states no child should miss out on a visit because a parent is unable or unwilling to pay.
  • Lastly, the minister points to an increase in Pupil Premium funding, which “schools are able to use […] to fund extracurricular activities, including school trips to theatres.”

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) & UK Theatre thank the minister for his commitment to creative education and for any work that boosts access for pupils to drama inside and outside school. However, the Government’s response demonstrates why SOLT & UK Theatre are calling on the Government to provide ring-fenced funding to ensure all children can attend the theatre before they leave school. We know that many parents are prepared to contribute, and many schools already take part in our members’ excellent access schemes, and yet schools and parents still report a decline in school visits. Existing education funds that are targeted at the most disadvantaged, and are already in high demand to support core education provision, are not the answer to ensuring every child can access the magic of performing arts.

You can read more about the Theatre for Every Child campaign at

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