There are 11 discrete subjects in the primary curriculum and we have 25 hours per week to teach them all. It’s nowhere near enough to teach most of the subjects properly so there’s pressure to try and find ways to reduce the overloaded curriculum to make it easier for teachers to teach the full curriculum.
English and Maths take up a good proportion of these hours (rightly) but then you have a situation where SPHE, arguably becoming more and more important, has to be covered in 30 minutes per week – which initially included Stay Safe, RSE and Walktall, but increasingly is being used for things like Internet Safety, Mental Health, Well Being, Mindfulness, Circle Time, and so on. It’s impossible to fit these into the allocated time slot. There’s the emotive subjects: religion and Irish, which between them cover 25-28% of the entire week. Then there’s drama, which is supposed to get about an hour a week.
Being perfectly honest, I wonder how many teachers really teach the drama curriculum, without integrating it into another subject? How many teachers stick it in their Cuntas Miosuil when they are preparing Christmas Plays or End of Year concerts? Unless the teacher is a drama queen (or king) themselves, most of drama can be integrated nicely into the new Primary Language Curriculum.
Yes, it’s the lowest hanging fruit, and it kills me to suggest scrapping an arts subject. However, as long as it is integrated properly into the language curriculum, I can see it being taught better than it is now. People seem to take the English Language curriculum more seriously than the current Drama one.
Put it this way, I’ve never heard a teacher say they have to ensure they get their drama class taught before some big event, but I have heard them say, we’ll get the core subjects in before the event. If drama is scrapped but integrated well into the English/Irish curriculum, it could be its saviour.