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 make 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Drama Strategies: Mime, Still Image, Staging Theory, Evaluation, Role Play, Improvisation, Choral Speaking
(Introducing physical expression, skill acquisition and audience communication)• Drama
- Play: Classic & Modern
(Exploring storytelling and character motivation using strategies & devices; interpreting script for performance, developing spatial awareness & controlling audience focus)
• Drama Style & Theme
(Creating & developing 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 and cultures through the analysis of dramatic works and applying the devices identified within their own original presentations.
- Developing Drama: Mask, Improvisation and Shadow Theatre
(Developing character physicality; creating informative dialogue; audience interaction; exploring structure & sequencing; technique integration & the creative response.)
- Genre & Style
(Creating & sustaining extreme characters; genre & style analysis; sequencing action; exploring stylistic performance; creating tension & building to a climax.)
- Creating Script & TIE
(Endowing dialogue; analysis of style & narrative structure; writing for performance; exploring PSHE issues; performing to inform & educate; consolidate technique acquired)
In Year 9, students extend and deepen prior learning whilst being introduced to acting technique and more advanced staging applications, thereby providing a link with KS4. Students analyse and interpret dramatic works as well as both professional and amateur performances, applying devices identified within their own original presentations.
• Stagecraft & Physical Theatre
(Physical control & discipline; understanding theatre; audience manipulation; creative approaches; genre analysis; use of symbolism and creative physicality)
• The Devising Process & Issue Drama
(Exploring stimuli & topical issues; creating & developing drama; performing with impact; finding a voice & communicating opinion)
• Interpreting Plays: Modern & Classic
(Ensemble performance; stylistic approaches & script interpretation; understanding character motivation & alternative ways to create original scripts)
Details of assessment criteria for Key Stage 3 can be found here.
Key Stage 4 Drama Curriculum
Students in Years 10 and 11 follow the AQA Level 2 Technical Award: Performing Arts (3745) syllabus, a two-year course incorporating 120 guided learning hours culminating in a written examination. The AQA Level 2 Technical Award: Performing Arts encourages students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- a variety of performing arts genres and performance styles
- the ways in which performers and designers communicate meaning to an audience
- a range of stage and performance conventions
- appropriate performing arts terminology and how to use it
- how performances are constructed and realised via the study of professional work
- how to create, interpret and communicate a role, character or idea
- the performing arts 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:
- develop applied knowledge and practical skills in the performing arts
- use improvisation skills in a range of performing arts contexts
- apply performance and/or production skills
- select, synthesize and use ideas and skills to create performances
- acquire reflective and evaluative skills in response to a range of performances
- work collaboratively and creatively to achieve shared dramatic intentions
The TA specification is designed with both practical and theoretical elements, which will prepare students for further qualifications in performing arts, drama, dance, music, media studies, film studies and art and design. It has a 60% practical & written assessment and 40% written examination. Students complete three units of work as outlined below:
Unit 1: Unlocking Creativity Practical Work & Portfolio
30% of TA. Internally assessed and externally moderated. Students will create a performance idea based on a given brief and present a short extract of their performance idea. They will learn how to understand, plan and deliver the activities required to put on a successful performance including business planning and pitching. They will develop their ability to produce a portfolio of research, planning and ideas to enable them to put on a performance. They will acquire and practice effective techniques for pitching their ideas as a group to camera whilst refining their ability as a performer and designer.
Unit 2: The Production/Performance Practical Work & Log Book
30% of TA. Internally assessed and externally moderated. This unit builds on the skills acquired in Key Stage 3 by giving students the opportunity to work towards producing a performance to an audience based on a list of five briefs. They demonstrate their performance or production skills as they devise, rehearse and perform their work. They will choose either a performance role (acting, dancing, singing, instrumental musician, musical theatre, variety performance, pantomime, physical theatre and circus skills) or a production role (costume, set design, properties, make-up, lighting, sound, stage, original writing, directing, choreography, PR and film production.) Students demonstrate understanding of the performing arts process by completing a log book, which describes, analyses and evaluates the creation, development and performance of their work.
Unit 3: The Performing Arts Experience 1hr 30 min Written Paper.
40% of TA. Students will build up a body of knowledge and understanding from Units 1 and 2 as well as from research and analysis into: roles and responsibilities within the performing arts industry; the role of performing arts in society; approaches to rehearsal; working as a deviser/performer/director; marketing and public relations; health and safety; design and technical elements; reviewing performances. This unit allows students to respond to a range of questions designed to assess their knowledge across the performing arts.
In preparation for Units 1 and 2, students explore not only particular themes and stimuli in devising work but also the techniques by which the exploration takes place. 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 their work.
To prepare for Unit 3, the written examination, students undertake detailed analysis of their own work and the work of others from the perspective of practitioner and observer. They research the performing arts industry and how it works via case studies and guided learning tasks which will help them acquire knowledge and understanding of the terminology and processes 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 the performing arts as an Art form.
Key Stage 4 Drama Programme of Study
In Year 10 students:
- develop their knowledge and understanding of performing arts techniques and processes
- reflect on and evaluate their work in order to communicate understanding
- interpret and communicate scripts through the application of performance/production skills
- acquire & utilise performing arts terminology when commenting on their work
- acquire facility with transcribing practical skill use into short & long form written responses
- analyse & evaluate performance & production skill use in live & digital performances
In Year 11, students:
- complete TWO controlled assessments as either a performer or designer
– Sept – Dec Unit 1: Unlocking Creativity (Practical work and portfolio)
30% of TA. Preparation, rehearsal and production of Portfolio & Pitch Performance. Internally assessed and externally moderated.
– Jan – Mar Unit 2: The Production/Performance (Practical Work & Log Book)
30% of TA. Preparation, rehearsal and production of Performance/Production. Internally assessed and externally moderated.
- complete a final written examination
– May/June Unit 3: The Performing Arts Experience (1hr 30 min Written Paper)
40% of TA. Preparation, revision and sample question practice for Section A – Understanding the performing arts industry; Section B – Working in the performing arts industry; Section C – Working to a brief.
Unit 1 and 2 Assessment Options:
Performance – acting, dancing, singing, instrumental musician, musical theatre, variety performance, pantomime, physical theatre and circus skills
Production – costume, set design, properties, make-up, lighting, sound, stage, original writing, directing, choreography, PR and film production.
Key Stage 5 Drama and Theatre Programme of Study
A-level Drama and Theatre offers students the opportunity to explore drama as a practical art form, communicating ideas and meaning to an audience through choices of form, style and convention.
In Year 12, students:
- develop/refine knowledge and understanding of drama techniques and processes
- reflect on and evaluate their work in order to communicate their understanding
- acquire/extend and utilise drama terminology when commenting on their work in person or on paper
- acquire facility with transcribing practical skill use into long form written responses
- study Antigone by Sophocles & the context of Greek Theatre
- analyse & evaluate performer, director & designer skill use in live & digital theatre productions
- explore TWO extracts for performance from TWO contrasting texts
- develop knowledge and understanding of contrasting theatre practitioners through analysis, practical application and evaluation of their methodologies
- study Metamorphosis by Steven Berkoff & the context of 1960’s British Theatre
In Year 13, students:
- complete TWO controlled assessments as either a performer, director or designer
- Sept – Dec Component 3: Making Theatre 30% of A Level. Preparation, rehearsal and production of Practical Exploration Reflective Report & Theatrical Interpretation. Externally assessed by visiting examiner.
- Jan – Mar Component 2: Creating Original Drama 30% of A Level. Preparation, rehearsal and production of Devising Working Notebook & Performance. Internally assessed and externally moderated by postal moderator.
- complete a final written examination
- May/June Component 1: Written Examination: 3 hr Written Paper. Preparation, revision and sample question practice for Section A – Set Play: Drama through the ages; Section B – Set Play: 20th & 21st century drama; Section C – Live Theatre Production. 40% of A Level
- Lighting Designer
- Sound Designer
- Set Designer
- Costume Designer
- Puppet Designer
AQA A Level Drama and Theatre (7262) https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/drama/specifications/AQA-7262-SP-2016.PDF
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.
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 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
- 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 March 2021