Intent and Aims to Learning in Drama

The Drama Department makes an important contribution to students’ progress in Sexey’s School. Through active involvement in making drama, performing drama and responding to drama, it offers students the opportunity to:

  • use the unique process of drama to explore, represent and reflect upon their own experience and the lives of others
  • experience theatre, one of the most accessible and significant artistic forms through which people makes sense of the world.

The Drama Department at Sexey’s School works towards furnishing a richness of opportunity and a quality of learning that encourages each individual to achieve their potential by providing:

  • equal access for all students through a range of dramatic experiences
  • balanced schemes of work that allow for progression and self-evaluation
  • a purposeful, creative environment encouraging expression and imagination.
    • opportunities and experiences that encourage self-confidence.

Within Drama lessons at Sexey’s School, students will have opportunities to:

  • develop positive group dynamics and cooperative attitudes when working with others
  • enhance social contact and develop negotiation, listening, speaking and evaluation skills
  • develop fine control skills through their use of movement and voice.
  • incorporate knowledge from other curriculum areas.
  • experience drama from different cultures and times.
  • understand key concepts and working methods involved in drama.
  • expand their dramatic and theatrical vocabulary.
  • articulate views imaginatively and expressively through personal and creative responses.

Key Stage 3 Drama Curriculum

Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 follow the Drama Department syllabus, a three-year course based on a conventional approach, which encourages the development of basic Drama skills.

This course has two main functions:

  1. The development of the individual and his/her understanding of him/herself and his/her environment. Throughout the course of study, both student and teacher will explore and evaluate a series of simulated experiences, which are designed to stimulate personal responses and assist in the formulation and appropriate expression of individual opinions.
  2. The development of the individual’s understanding of and familiarity with the dramatic process. The course encourages the students to become fully conversant with the language and movement of Drama, the tools by which they explore situations and their attitudes towards them.

Students are assessed against Drama Department Criteria as defined on the Key Stage 3 Drama Assessment sheet. These criteria relate to requirements for drama in the English National Curriculum in order to bring a consistent assessment approach across the key stage and cover the skills of Discussion, Imagination, Collaboration, Skills Acquisition, Presentation and Evaluation.

The overall aim of this course is to encourage students to communicate and work with others in a productive and supportive manner, skills required in all occupations. Students will be able to draw upon these school experiences in whatever future working environment or social situation they may find themselves.

Key Stage 3 Drama Programme of Study

In Year 7, students are introduced to the basic drama techniques and practical skills needed to create and sustain a role as well as the disciplines required in presenting work for an audience. Students analyse and interpret dramatic works, applying the devices identified within their own original presentations.Students amidst the smoke in King Lear

  • Drama Strategies: Mime, Role Play, Still Image, Thought Track
    (Introducing physical expression, skill acquisition and audience communication)
  • Shakespeare – The Tempest
    (Exploring storytelling and character motivation using strategies & devices)
  • Africa and Racism
    (Creating a role; sequencing action; developing and expressing opinion)

In Year 8, students build on the skills learnt in Year 7 and learn how to create more developed characters using more involved presentation techniques. Students also develop a practical knowledge of drama from different times through the analysis of dramatic works from those periods and applying the devices identified within their own original presentations.

  • Developing Drama: Mask & Improvisation
    (Developing character physicality; creating informative dialogue & audience interaction)
  • Melodrama & Silent Movie
    (Creating & sustaining extreme characters; genre analysis; sequencing action)
  • Script
    (Endowing Dialogue; analysis of narrative structure; writing for performance)

King Lear on stageIn Year 9, students extend and deepen prior learning whilst being introduced to acting technique and more advanced staging applications, thereby providing a link with GCSE. Students analyse and interpret dramatic works as well as both professional and amateur performances, applying devices identified within their own original presentations.

  • Stagecraft: Directing, Acting, Design & Combat
    (Physical control & discipline; understanding theatre; audience manipulation)
  • Physical Theatre
    (Creative approaches; genre analysis; use of symbolism and creative physicality; genre analysis)
  • Shakespeare – Hamlet
    (Understanding character motivation; Script Interpretation; alternative ways to create original scripts)

Key Stage 4 Drama Curriculum: GCSE

Students in Years 10 and 11 follow the AQA GCSE in Drama (8261) syllabus, a two year course which culminates in a written examination.

The AQA GCSE in Drama encourages students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • different genres and performance styles
  • the ways in which performers and designers communicate meaning to an audience
  • a range of stage and performance conventions
  • appropriate drama terminology and how to use it
  • how plays are constructed and realised through the study of at least one substantial play
  • how to create, interpret and communicate a role or character
  • drama within its social, cultural and historical context, identifying and establishing how this might impact on any performance.

Students are given opportunities to develop the ability to:

  • use improvisation skills in a range of drama contexts
  • apply performance and/or production skills
  • select, synthesize and use ideas and skills to create drama
  • acquire reflective and evaluative skills in response to a range of dramatic texts
  • work collaboratively and creatively to achieve shared dramatic intentions

The GCSE specification has a 60% practical assessment (performance and devising log) and 40% written examination. Students study three performance texts plus devised drama as outlined below:

Component 1: Understanding Drama 1 hr 45min Written Paper
40% of GCSE
This component focuses on developing knowledge and understanding of dramatic theory, theatrical terminology and their practical application. Students learn how to interpret ONE play from a performance perspective as well as analyse and evaluate live theatre. They undertake practical study of a play from a prescribed list in order to develop a theatrical overview that will allow them to respond as a performer and designer. Students study ONE play that they will have an opportunity to see as a live or digital production, in order to analyse and evaluate how theatre practitioners have applied their skills to communicate effectively with an audience.

Component 2: Devising Drama Devising Log & Performance
40% of GCSE. Internally assessed and externally moderated by postal moderator.
This component builds on the skills acquired in Key Stage 3 by giving students the opportunity to create an original devised drama for an audience based on an agreed stimulus from a selection provided. They demonstrate their performing or design skills as they devise, rehearse and perform their work. Students demonstrate understanding of the devising process by producing a devising log, which describes, analyses and evaluates the creation, development and performance of their work.

Component 3: Texts in Practice Theatrical Interpretation of TWO extracts
20% of GCSE. Externally assessed by visiting examiner.
This component gives students an opportunity to demonstrate performing or design skills as they practically explore and theatrically interpret TWO extracts from ONE published play, which is dramatically different to the set text studied for Component 1. They are assessed as a performer or designer for this unit.

In devised work, students explore not only particular themes and stimuli but also the techniques by which the exploration takes place in preparation for Component 2. This is a natural development from Key Stage 3 although techniques are obviously analysed in greater depth. Scripted Performance and Theatre Arts are studied to give students a greater understanding of the skills involved as well as the effects they have on the presentation of the work in preparation for Component 3.

To prepare for Component 1, the written examination, students undertake detailed analysis of their own work and the work of others from the perspective of practitioner and observer. They study ONE play (The 39 Steps) from the perspective of performer and designer and research the terminology of theatre. Students are also presented with opportunities to attend live & digital theatre productions.

The overall aim of this course is to ensure students are best equipped to handle the coursework assignments and the written examination. It could also stimulate an appreciation of Drama and Theatre as an Art form.

Key Stage 4 Drama Programme of Study

In Year 10 students:

  • develop their knowledge and understanding of drama techniques and processes
  • reflect on and evaluate their work in order to communicate their understanding
  • interpret and communicate scripts through the application of performer/designer skills
  • acquire facility with transcribing practical skill use into short and long form written responses
  • study The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow and the context of 1930s Britain
  • analyse and evaluate performer and designer skill use in live and digital theatre productions
  • acquire and utilise drama terminology when commenting on their work in person or on paper
    Little Shop of Horrors student close up


In Year 11, students:

  • complete TWO controlled assessments as either a performer or designer
    –  Sept – Dec Component 2: Devising drama (practical)
    40% of GCSE. Devising Log & Performance. Internally assessed and externally moderated.
    –  Jan – Mar Component 3: Texts in practice (practical)
    20% of GCSE. Performance of TWO extracts. Internally assessed and externally moderated.
  • complete a final written examination
    –  May/June Component 1: Written Examination: 1hr 45 min Written Paper.
    Section A – Theatre Theory; Section B – Set Play; Section C – Live Theatre Production. 40% of GCSE. Controlled Assessment Options: Performer; Lighting Designer; Sound Designer; Set Designer; Costume Designer; Puppet Designer

Assessment Options: Performer; Lighting Designer; Sound Designer; Set Designer; Costume Designer; Puppet Designer.

Examination Board


Spiritual, Moral, Social or Cultural Opportunities

Attitudes and approaches adopted within the work of the Drama Department at Sexey’s School contribute towards the general development of students. Moral and social issues, personal relationships and group dynamics are very much a part of the Drama classroom where students work together to explore the spiritual experiences, social issues, moral questions and cultural touchstones surrounding the characters they create when devising and interpreting script. The engendering of commitment and cooperation, as well as a sense of communal purpose and spirit rises from the wide range of dramatic performances, opportunities and activities available to students across each Key Stage. Above all, Drama involves the whole person, intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Extra-curricular Drama

The Drama Department regularly enriches the drama curriculum with the use of live theatre, student performances and workshop activities. A balance is evident as activities occur across all Key Stages.

Theatre Visits
Theatre visits are arranged regularly, and where possible, the department hosts theatre companies at the school. As well as enriching the drama curriculum, this provides links with the community and opportunities for primary school liaison.

The Drama Department believes that school productions provide
valuable opportunity for students to broaden their knowledge and
develop a sense of responsibility and community. Whole school
productions provide opportunities for cross-curricular links as do
departmental performances of student work and published plays.
Students have opportunities to get involved in the organisation and
performance of:

  • Whole School Musicals
  • Key Stage 3 Productions
  • Examination Performance Evenings
  • Showcases of Student Work

For recent productions, please see here.

Trinity Guildhall Acting and Speaking Graded Examination Tuition
The Drama Department provides individual tuition in Trinity Guildhall Acting and Speaking Grade examinations. Trinity Guildhall Grade examinations encourage students to engage with as wide a variety of performance activities as possible while developing their skills within an integrated framework of assessment. Examinations are available for individuals, pairs or groups of three or more and classes run according to the requirement of the student’s examination.

Most Able Opportunities and Support

Most Able students have equal access to all Extra-curricular Drama activities and experiences. In addition, the Drama Department provides opportunities for Most Able students to develop their abilities by:

  • displaying performance opportunities within the wider community
  • coaching and preparing students for The Cranmer Awards
  • coaching and preparing students for scholarship, further education and professional auditions
  • notifying talented drama students about relevant workshop, competition and audition opportunities as they occur via school email and displays within the drama studio.

SEND Opportunities and Support

SEND students have equal access to all Extra-curricular Drama activities and experiences. In addition, Drama by its nature provides equal access for all students to a variety of dramatic experiences. Strategies employed by the Drama Department for special needs provision include, but are not restricted to those embraced within Quality First Teaching:

  • highly focused lessons based on clear objectives that are shared with students and revisited
  • process frameworks displayed in the room to promote independent student learning
  • scaffolds for sequencing practical work and structuring long form written responses to support independent student learning
  • high demands of student involvement and engagement with their learning
  • high levels of interaction for all students.
  • appropriate use of teacher questioning, modelling and explaining
  • careful explanation and re-visitation of new vocabulary and opportunities for its use in student reflection of work
  • an emphasis on learning through dialogue, with regular opportunities for students to talk both individually and in groups
  • an expectation that students will accept responsibility for their own learning and work independently
  • lively and interactive teaching strategies that make maximum use of visual, kinaesthetic and auditory/verbal learning
  • regular use of encouragement and authentic praise to engage and motivate students.

Drama Department Staff

Head of Department: W Kiddell

Trinity Drama Specialist: S Scannell

Useful revision website links




Updated September 2019