Performing Arts – Drama, Music & Dance

Performing Arts plays an important role in the life of the school. Students follow courses in Drama and Music throughout Key Stage 3. Dance, Drama and Music are optional at Key Stage 4.

Students can get involved in a variety of projects throughout the year. Our productions invite all students to get involved.  Each project has a different pattern to rehearsals and different levels of commitment are required. Students need to be sure that they can attend the rehearsals and performances before they get involved. Rehearsals can be at lunchtimes, after school and at weekends. 

This year’s students have been able to get involved in the following:

Junior Choir, Senior Choir, Chamber Choir, Percussion Ensemble, 

Junior Dance Group, Senior Dance Group, Junior Drama Club, an original school show and a Hootenanny.

We organise visits to see live performances and invite some companies in with professional shows.

Drama

Why we study Drama: 

Drama is a group activity. Individual and team work skills are developed. We place great emphasis on creating an environment in which all students are respected, valued and able to develop confidence. 

Students make Drama: exploring and devising through improvisation and scripting.

Students shape Drama: rehearsing and revising, polishing and perfecting.

Students perform Drama: within class and at times to other classes.

Students watch Drama: reflecting and evaluating on their own work and others’ work.

If the experience of Drama builds confidence and self respect, then it will have been a success; for others …….it may transform their lives.

Words and phrases that reveal the actions of a drama student:

Creating, making, shaping, researching, improvising, scripting, imagining, experimenting, generating, partnering, explaining, responding, risk taking, initiating, motivating, rehearsing, practising, revising, learning, remembering, persisting, extending, editing, trying, succeeding, surprising, acting, miming, performing, entertaining, characterising, role playing, expressing, moving, amusing, shocking, stunning, watching, realising, reacting, feeling, wondering, judging, enquiring, questioning, growing, caring, achieving, accepting, understanding, respecting, making your mark, finding your voice, being you at your best.

Our KS3 Curriculum in Drama

What we study:

YEAR 7  In year 7 we aim to get students to believe in themselves and in their prospects of becoming excellent.

1 Working with others and experimenting in different styles

2 A class play based on the Charles Causley poem, Timothy Winters

3 Drama Building Blocks

4 An experiential drama project as a family travelling as 19th century emigrants on The Oregon Trail

YEAR 8 In year 8 we aim to get students to develop skills as creators and performers

1 Absurd Comedy: using the comic poem The Lion and Albert as a starting point 

2 Holiday from Hell: devised drama concentrating on the structure of a play

3 Scripted Drama: how an actor approaches a text

4 Times Zones: an experiment with multiple lines of narrative

5 Comedy Sketches: a look at classic comedy and a creative project

6 How to Succeed In Secondary School: a creative challenge.

YEAR 9 In year 9 the projects have an eye to working expectations in Key Stage 4 and to the practitioners for later study

1 Court of Life: an exploration of a runaway approached with elements of Epic Theatre style

2 Building a Character: an approach to creating a role with an element of competition

3 Park Bench: a monologue scripting challenge

4 Naturalism and social drama

5 Risk: a creative task influenced by poetry and theatre extracts

6 Reality Time: a teamwork challenge 

Assessment:

Each of the projects has a natural end point when we can judge or reflect on what has been achieved. If a student has been able to work in a team, generate ideas, create a plan, rehearse effectively and then perform, then they will be an excellent student. Teacher feedback is usually oral and student feedback in the form of applause. Two projects operate like auditions and successful students are very clear of their success. 

What is assessed and when:

Year 7 Autumn

Can you listen

Can you share

Can you create

Can you perform

Spring

A whole class Performance

and

Evaluation

Summer

Extended Role Play

and

Creating a trailer

Year 8 Autumn

Absurd Comedy Performance

and 

Creating a play with multiple role playing

Spring

Creating a character from a script

and 

Auditioning

and 

Experimenting with multiple narratives

Summer

Performing Comedy Sketches

and

Creating a Play from a Brief

Year 9 Autumn

Performing in a Mock Trial

and 

Building a Character through Improvisation

and

Auditioning

Spring

Writing a Monologue

and 

Performing a Monologue

and 

Using Drama to Explore Issues

Summer

Experimenting on a Theme

and 

Teamwork Challenge

Competition

Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum in Drama:

At Key Stage 4 we deliver Drama through the BTEC Performing Arts Tech Award Level 1 and Level 2. Students are expected to create performances for real audiences. They work at devising, and performing repertoire. They explore the ideas of several key practitioners in theatre. This course will develop confidence, capability and maturity and it is open to all students capable of gaining a pass. It is designed to give insight into the professional world of Drama and Theatre and is an excellent stepping stone to those wanting to go on to further study and who aspire to work in the profession.

The content can change but we currently explore the ideas of the Brazilian practitioner, Augusto Boal and his Theatre of the Oppressed, the ideas and work of German playwright, Bertolt Brecht and Epic Theatre and the acting approach pioneered by The Russian Theatre director and actor Konstantin Stanislavski. 

The plays studied recently include The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Waiting for Godot, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, I and You, Blood Brothers, Happy Families, Top Girls, Kindertransport, The Bar Mitzvah Boy, Oh! What a Lovely War and The Curious Incident of the Boy in the Nighttime.

Assessment at Key Stage 4

Component 1 Exploring the Performing Arts

(Internal Assessment)

Observe and Perform Repertoire

Make a presentation/report on performance styles, techniques and roles and on how practitioners create and influence what is performed

Component 2  Developing Skills and Techniques

(Internal Assessment)

Gain Skills during workshops and classes

Apply Skills in performances

Reflect on Skills and how they have been developed, used and how they can be improved.

Component 3  Performing to a Brief

(External Assessment)

Use the Brief to Create Ideas

Choose Skills and techniques

Build on skills

Review your development

Perform to a target audience

Reflect on the performance

Music

KS3 Music

Music, as a subject, can be separated into three different components – Performing, Composing and Listening & Appraising. These are taught and developed together with the aim to build personal skills that students can draw upon to succeed, not only in music lessons, but in other subjects and also beyond school life and in future employment. The core principles that are developed include problem solving, perseverance, diligence, team work, time management, organisation, responsibility, cultural history, listening skills, confidence, social skills, self-evaluation, interpersonal skills and sense of achievement. 

The Key Stage 3 music curriculum is designed to build on what students have learnt at KS2; to develop their skills in performing, composing and appraising and prepare them for future study at KS4, should they choose it. At Key Stage 3, it is our intent to provide students with a broad, balanced and differentiated music curriculum, ensuring the progressive development of musical concepts, knowledge, creative thinking and practical skills. We teach music in an engaging and enjoyable way involving much experiential and practical activity. We also encourage students to participate in opportunities to demonstrate creativity and to showcase their skills. 

What we study:

Year 7 During Year 7, students explore the elements of music through a variety of styles and genres, using  various instruments. Students will learn to analyse and describe the music that they listen to using music specific vocabulary. They will compose and perform in groups with the focus on effective music making, developing knowledge and understanding of basic music theory and transferable skills. 

Autumn Term 1: What’s the time? Rhythm & Pulse. Notes values and time signatures. 

Autumn Term 2: Graphic Scores: Exploring the various musical elements. Graphic notation

Spring Term 1: Naming the Notes: Stave notation. Development of keyboard skills. Ensemble playing.

Spring Term 2: Chinese Music: Pentatonic Scale, Ostinato, Drones. 

Summer Term 1: Instruments of the Orchestra: Recognition of different instrumental sounds. History of the Orchestra. Developing Keyboard Skills

Summer Term 2: Ukulele Time: Introduction to Ukulele: basic technique and simple chords

Year 8  In Year 8, students will continue to develop their skills in performing, composing and listening & appraising. 

Autumn Term 1: Musical Theatre: Ensemble singing project based on Little Shop of Horrors

Autumn Term 2: The Four Chord Trick: Understanding how chords are constructed and how they are used in popular music. 

Spring Term 1: Renaissance Music: Developing understanding of Early Music. Development of keyboard skills and bass clef notation reading. 

Spring Term 2: African and Samba Drumming: Understanding concepts such as Polyrhythm; Cross-rhythm and Call and Response. Djembe drumming techniques. 

Summer Term 1: Music for Film: Performing film themes and composing character motifs. 

Summer Term 2: Folk Music with the Uke: Developing Ukulele technique including understanding of tablature. Performing Sea Shanties and Cornish folk songs

Year 9 In Year 9,  students build on knowledge, understanding and skills already acquired and are shown correlation between the tasks and skills at KS3 and those required at KS4.

Autumn Term 1: Singing the Blues: Exploring the origins of the Blues and it’s characteristics. Developing understanding of 12 Bar Blues structure.

Autumn Term 2: Snare Drumming: Developing a vaster understanding of rhythm and snare drumming technique. 

Spring Term 1: Music of The Caribbean: Reggae and Calypso music. 

Spring Term 2: The Romantic Period: Romantic Genres, including Programme Music; 

Opera and The Concerto

Summer Term: What Makes a Good Song? Culmination project involving songwriting, song arranging and performing: Students write and perform their own song in groups. 

KS4 Music

At Key Stage 4, music is about providing students with the skills to become an all round competent musician with a wide range of knowledge in various areas of music. It also naturally leads on to courses at Post-16 and beyond. Our aim at KS4 is to encourage students to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of musical styles from different cultures and contexts and reflect on how music is used in the expression of personal and collective identities. Through the OCR GCSE music course, students will:

  • Develop more advanced skills in music performance as both a soloist and ensemble player
  • Learn the technical skills needed to become an effective composer discuss and explain the use of musical elements with correct musical vocabulary
  • Develop skills in musical analysis and an ability to appraise music confidently, accurately and expressively. 

Students will be required to submit two compositions and two performances and will finish the course with a listening and appraising exam testing their understanding of western classical music, popular music, world music and music for film and video games.

What we study:

Year 10: OCR GCSE Music Course 
Autumn Term Performing: 

  • Developing solo performance skills. 
  • Short performing tasks to develop ensemble playing skills. 

Composing: 

  • Short composition tasks to develop understanding of compositional mediums and techniques.

Listening and Appraising: 

  • Recapping understanding of the Elements of Music and building on knowledge and understanding of music theory already acquired in KS3
  • Conventions of Pop
Spring Term Performing: 

  • Solo and ensemble performance practice

Composing: 

  • Composition 1: Free Composition

Listening and Appraising: 

  • The Concerto Through Time 
Summer Term Performing: 

  • Solo and ensemble performance practice

Composing: 

  • Completion of Composition 1

Listening and Appraising: 

  • Rhythms of the World 
Year 11 GCSE Music: OCR Board
Autumn Term Performing: 

  • Solo & Ensemble performance practice: preparation for performance mock

Composing: 

  • Composition 2: Composing to a Brief

Listening and Appraising: 

  • Music for Film and Video Games
Spring Term Performing: 

  • Solo & Ensemble preparation for performing exam

Composing: 

  • Completion of Composition 2

Listening and Appraising 

  • Revision of all Areas of Study in preparation for listening & appraising exam
Summer Term Listening and Appraising 

  • Revision of all Areas of Study in preparation for listening & appraising exam

Assessment At KS3

Each unit of learning leads to a practical assessment which is recorded and evaluated by both teacher and students. There will also be listening assessments each term testing students’ ability to aurally identify, analyse and evaluate a range of musical elements and stylistic features.

Year Autumn  Spring  Summer
Yr7  Polyrhythmic composition and performance 

Atmospheric composition and performance

Group performance of “Somebody that I used to know” 

Chinese group composition and performance

Paired ensemble performance of “Ode to Joy”

Ukulele performance assessment

Yr8 Class performance of Skid Row

Christmas Song/Rap composition and performance

Paired ensemble performance of a Renaissance Pavane

Group performance of Samba piece

Group composition of incidental music

Performance of Cornwall my Home  (Ukulele/Voice)

Yr9 Group composition and performance based on traditional Blues music

Snare drum performance assessment

Group performance of “Three Little Birds”

Group composition and performance based on Danse Macabre

Group composition and performance of a song in a popular style

Assessment At KS4

Students sit a listening and appraising exam in the final year of GCSE study, which equates to 40% of the GCSE. Students are assessed on their listening skills after completion of each area of study. Composing and performing work takes place over the duration of the course and is assessed at certain points throughout.

Year Autumn Spring Summer 
Yr10 Solo & Ensemble Performance Assessment

Listening & Appraising:

  • Conventions of Pop
Solo Performance Assessment

Listening & Appraising:

  • The Concerto Through Time
Submission of Composition 1

Ensemble Performance Assessment

Listening & Appraising: 

  • Rhythms of the World
Yr11 Solo & Ensemble Performance Mock Recording

Listening & Appraising:

  • Music for Film and Video Games
Solo & Ensemble Performance Recording

Submission of Composition 2

Listening & Appraising Exam

Dance

Our KS3 Curriculum in Dance

What we study:

KS3
7,8,9  In year 9, students can opt to take part in a 7 week unit of dance in their core PE lessons. Students that register their interest at this point are then invited to join an extra curriculum group in which their skills are developed further. This work forms a foundation of skills and understanding for those wishing to pursue Dance as a Level 2 study option in Key Stage 4.

Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum in Dance:

At Key Stage 4 we deliver Dance through the BTEC Performing Arts Tech Award Level 1 and Level 2. Students are expected to create performances for real audiences. They work at devising, and performing repertoire. They explore the ideas of several key practitioners in the historic and contemporary world of dance. This course will develop confidence, capability and maturity and it is open to all students capable of gaining a pass. It is designed to give insight into the professional world of Dance and Theatre and is an excellent stepping stone to those wanting to go on to further study and who aspire to work in the profession.

The content will change in response to the existing skills and interests of the group. This allows us to both showcase and challenge performance, technical and creative skills within the particular cohort that year.

Our study of professional dance is done holistically with a view to understanding processes and techniques in relation to other art forms. Students will consider a range of aspects,

  • music (structures/genres/styles/composition)
  • art (composition/subject/line/movement)
  • theatre (gesture/character/performance styles/space)
  • anatomy and physiology (safe practise/nutrition/fitness/)
  • production design (lighting/set design/costumes).

This in turn will help them gain a more vocational, real world understanding and appreciation of how dance is used in a range of professional vocational contexts.

Practically, we aim to develop the potential of students as performers and creators through encouraging individuality and self expression. Students often take the subject to improve their confidence and communication skills in addition to developing stronger skills as a technical dance performer. Although there is no requirement to bring existing technical skills to the course, it does help if the student has had some recent dance experiences.

Students perform in three to four shows per year providing an excellent opportunity to challenge and assess their performing skills.

The course provides an excellent foundation for studying Dance further at Level 3 either on a BTEC or A level course.

Assessment at Key Stage 4

Component 1 Exploring the Performing Arts

(Internal Assessment)

Observe and Perform Repertoire

Make a presentation/report on performance styles, techniques and roles and on how practitioners create and influence what is performed

Component 2  Developing Skills and Techniques

(Internal Assessment)

Gain Skills during workshops and classes

Apply Skills in performances

Reflect on Skills and how they have been developed, used and how they can be improved.

Component 3  Performing to a Brief

(External Assessment)

Use the Brief to Create Ideas

Choose Skills and techniques

Build on skills

Review your development

Perform to a target audience

Reflect on the performance

Extended Curriculum (Current 2021/22)

We are currently running the RSL Dance programme for current year 10 students to fulfill a need and desire within this year group to pursue Dance in key stage 4.

On this occasion it was not possible to provide a course within the usual curriculum structure. This cohort have their lesson at the end of the school day.

The RSL course provides the perfect structure to develop both practical and appreciation skills. It has parity with the BTEC course in being recognised as a suitable pathway from which to pursue a level 3 Dance or Performing Arts course.