Performing Arts

Drama at Key Stage 3

Drama is a vibrant part of the curriculum at the Academy. It is taught as a discrete subject in every year group and there are many exciting extra-curricular projects that are open to all students within the Academy. Drama is a life skill and a creative art form that enables pupils to explore, develop and express ideas and concepts which help them make sense of reality. It helps develop the ability to use voice, movement, gesture and facial expression, in acting, mime, dance drama and improvisation.

Students can express and manage their thoughts and feelings – shared and experienced – while working in a safe and controlled environment. The development of these skills encourages self-confidence and self-awareness. It promotes the development of the individual in a group context: roles and ideas are negotiated, problems solved and decisions made together.

Our programmes of learning in Year 7 focus on skills development and the exploration of many different theatrical genres. We begin with a scheme using the literature of Roald Dahl. Students have an opportunity to explore and develop their vocal and physical skills and gain an understanding of the importance of structure and clear characterisation. We explore the key techniques of Greek Theatre, through a scheme on Myths and Legends and in the spring we introduce students to Elizabethan Theatre and the plays of Shakespeare. During the Summer term of Year 7 students study the Italian style of theatre called Commedia dell’ Arte, developing their understanding of archetypes and physical comedy.

Our Year 8 students begin with a programme of learning exploring Gothic Horror. During the year we build on the Shakespeare work we completed in Year 7 by exploring the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and introduce the students to the work of Bertolt Brecht through a programme of learning inspired by the play ‘A Caucasian Chalk Circle’. In the summer term students have an opportunity to devise their own performance project to gain an insight into the demands of the GCSE Drama course in Key Stage 4. Our regularly revised schemes of work support transition from Key Stage 2 to 3 and facilitate progression to Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 where students can develop their skills at GCSE and A level.

GCSE in Drama

Why study this subject?

Drama is a vibrant, interesting and creative subject that helps you engage with the world in a variety of ways. GCSE Drama is the ideal subject if you enjoy expressing yourself in an active and exciting way; working in a group; contributing your ideas and taking on-board those of others; exploring ideas by putting yourself in other people’s shoes; playing many parts in different imaginary situations; creating your own drama work; looking at plays written by other people.

What will I learn?

You will develop your improvisation and acting skills to a higher level. You will also look at plays in more detail and at different ways of bringing a script to life on stage:

  • how drama is created, including all the acting and staging skills that are needed to put a piece of drama on to stage
  • how to create a character and play this character in a performance;
  • many skills that are highly valued in any walk of life including teamwork and confidently presenting yourself in public.

How will I be taught?

You will explore themes, ideas and plays through practical workshops and be assessed on your understanding and practical skills. You will undertake visits to local and national theatres and Arts venues to see live performance work to gain an insight into how performance is created and delivered across a range of genres.

How will I be assessed?

Your practical work and written coursework will be assessed regularly and you will be given feedback to ensure you know how to improve your work, and overall attainment.

What qualifications will I get at the end of the course?

You will receive a GCSE in Drama at the end of the course.

What can this qualification lead to afterwards?

After you have completed GCSE Drama you can go on to higher levels of study detailed below. A GCSE course in Drama develops the skills required for a diverse range of careers, including Arts Therapy, Journalism, Teaching and Arts management.

Post 16 Progression

GCSE Drama is essential if you wish to study Drama and Theatre Studies at A-Level or a Level 3 BTEC National Performing Arts (Acting). Some students may progress onto an Arts Apprenticeship or find employment in the Arts Industry. There is a wide variety of university courses available in Drama, Theatre, Film and Television, Media, and the Performing Arts.

Do I have to do any coursework?

You will be expected to keep a log of your practical work and undertake some independent study to support your practical work.

How much homework will I have to do?

Homework is an essential part of the course and often includes research and memorising script in preparation for assessment.

Where can I find out more about this qualification?

Speak to any member of the Drama Department or Performing Arts Faculty.


King Edward VI Academy Trust Birmingham is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered number 10654935. Registered office: Foundation Office, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, B15 2UD. Academy tel: 0121 464 4428.

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