Head of Department - Mrs L Wilkinson
Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact in Drama
Introduction to subject
Drama is studied as a subject at Key Stage 3 in two, one hour lessons per fortnight. There is breadth to the curriculum studied that includes; genres of theatre, theatre practitioners and plays from ancient Greek to modern day. The use of drama skills to explore current affairs and modern historical events are also used in topics such as war and evacuees and social media.
At Key Stage 4, we follow the Edexcel GCSE Drama syllabus which provides students with opportunities to devise original theatre, perform scripted work and explore the work of theatre makers including playwrights, directors and designers. Students also gain an appreciation of theatre through experiences as an audience member.
At Key Stage 5, we offer the Edexcel syllabus; A-level Drama and Theatre. This provides a more analytical approach to the three areas of devising, scripted performance and theatre makers already explored at GCSE. A-level students have further opportunity to explore the work of practitioners, playwrights and theatre makers coupled with an appreciation of the social, cultural and historical aspects that have shaped theatre.
Extra curricular opportunities are offered for all year groups. LAMDA tuition for the acting graded examinations is available for year 7 through to year 13 with year 11 and above working towards the medal examinations which carry UCAS points.
Two school productions per year give all students the opportunity to take part, with a lower school (KS3) production in the summer term and an upper school (KS4&5) production in the spring term. There is also opportunity to be part of the A/V team, production band and crew.
Why is the study of Drama important?
The study of Drama develops an appreciation of theatre (both classic and modern) and the history and development of theatre and drama. Modern entertainment has its roots in classic theatre and the skills developed in lessons and in the extra-curricular opportunities help build this understanding.
Theatre can have a profound effect on an audience. It can educate us and evoke powerful emotions. It can shine a light on humanity and make us see the world through a different lens.
Studying Drama provides opportunities to explore different cultures, areas of society and historical events through which students build empathy and a cultural capital.
How does the study of Drama develop your skills, knowledge and understanding?
In Drama lessons we are constantly developing the key skills needed for the future set out in the school’s vision; THRIVE (teamwork, honesty, resilience, independence, versatility and empathy) as well as self-confidence, presentation skills, creativity and problem solving.
Every lesson requires learners to reflect on their progress, work as an effective team member, support their peers and be empathetic towards the topic explored.
How are students assessed in Drama?
At Key Stage 3, students are assessed on the GCSE 1 – 9 pathway in two main areas; process and performance.
This is broken down further; Process includes focus during rehearsals, positive relationships, leadership skills and working towards the success criteria; Performance includes vocal skills, movement skills, theatrical skills. Each of these areas is linked to an element of the school’s vision; THRIVE.
At Key stage 4 and 5, students are assessed in the three components; Devising, Scripted Performance and Theatre Makers in Practice. Both the GCSE and A-level courses are made up of 30% practical and 70% written assessment.
The Assessment objectives are:
AO1 Create and develop ideas to communicate meaning as part of the theatre-making process, making connections between dramatic theory and practice
AO2 Apply theatrical skills to realise artistic intentions in live performance
AO3 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre is developed and performed
AO4 Analysing and evaluating their own work and the work of others.
How does Drama support learning in other areas of the curriculum?
Drama is a big champion of the school’s vision THRIVE. Our lessons are built around, and include activities based on, these core principles, regularly requiring teamwork, resilience, versatility and empathy as well as supporting students’ personal wellbeing and self-esteem. These transferable skills can be utilised in other subjects across the school.
Within our curriculum, we support English and literacy through the use of script work in every year group, and History through the delivery of topics on historical genres of theatre.
We work closely with Music in the Performing Arts department and share similar policies and practices across KS3. We also have common subject specific vocabulary and topics such as Film and TV which support learning in each subject.
How can students extend and deepen their knowledge in Drama?
We offer an extensive extracurricular programme including LAMDA exam tuition for all year groups, two school musical productions a year and at least one theatre visit per year group, per year. Tuition and rehearsals take place at lunch times and after school.
We have industry professionals, including alumni, come to St Martin’s to deliver specialist workshops for our students, leading workshops on theatre practitioners, and student aspirations for the future such as audition prep workshops.
How does Drama link to the world of work?
Performing Arts Industry: Our curriculum covers not only the academic and acting sides of Drama, but also the technical and design areas of theatre. We offer an Audio/Visual club run by our Performing Arts technician, opportunities to experiment with the design side of the theatre and regular backstage tours to see a theatre in action. Visits from alumni working in the industry, offer insights into the world of work and useful advice for students.
Business and Law:
“Developing my public speaking and improvisation skills in Drama and Theatre helped me prepare for the real life drama of the criminal courts.” University of Cambridge Law graduate
“The skills you gain from Drama are critical if you want to have an impact in a business environment.” Dina Domett – Executive Director at London Business School
General: A qualification in Drama can provide relevant transferable skills for use in working life. Employers want people who can think for themselves, can work in a team, who can listen to others, who know how to negotiate, who know how to create an outcome. These are all skills developed throughout KS3 and beyond.
How does Drama link to the three strands of our core values?
The Drama curriculum and opportunities we offer beyond the classroom are designed to develop students’ appreciation for the Performing Arts, understanding of career opportunities in this industry, own creativity, presentation skills and self-confidence to help them thrive. THRIVE, part of the school’s vision and ethos, is embedded within the Drama curriculum and extra-curricular offers, to equip students with skills that will support them throughout their lives.
Traditional Values in Drama
Learning for the Future in Drama
Outstanding Personal Achievement in Drama
Students are encouraged to appreciate, respect and value the Performing Arts, as a taught subject and its place in modern culture.
Students learn theatre etiquette through watching performances, both in lesson time and through theatre visits to local and London theatres.
Students develop a cultural capital through visits to the theatre and exposure to a variety of live performances at such venues as the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford Upon Avon and the Royal National Theatre in London.
Through the curriculum and theatre visits, students develop empathy as we explore different cultures, historical times and social groups.
At GCSE and A-level, students are encouraged to create work that impacts an audience through the topic of political theatre.
Routines and expectations in Drama ensure that all students participate and perform in lessons, helping to develop their teamwork, confidence and self esteem.
Students are encouraged to take pride in their work and be reflective learners. They can give honest but constructive feedback to one another and receive feedback to improve their learning.
GCSE and A-level students are role models to younger years, often performing exam work to them, supporting them in lessons or running Drama clubs.
Students have the opportunity to be audience members of GCSE and A-level performance work, showcasing the expectations in Drama at exam level.
GCSE and post-16 students learn about and work with professional theatre companies and practitioners as well as attending backstage theatre tours where they gain insight into careers in the theatre industry.
Students learn to be versatile as the exam curriculums require them to take the roles of performers, directors and designers. They learn what skills are needed and practically explore this as part of their GCSE and A-level course.
Performance skills developed in drama such as characterisation and multirole, help to build confidence and public speaking in other areas of their school life.
Students are encouraged to be independent learners as they navigate coursework deadlines, revision plans and organising rehearsals with their group for exam performances.
Students understand the career opportunities within the theatre business; year 9 explore roles within the film industry such as Foley artist and how transferable skills from Drama can benefit other professions such as Law.
An alumni board is displayed in the Drama corridor showcasing past students and their current careers both in and out of the Performing Arts industry.
Drama helps students of all abilities to thrive. At KS3, lessons have at their core, the strands of THRIVE, building self esteem, confidence, self reflection and teamwork.
Students have the chance to discover an interest in the technical, design or directing side of Drama and Theatre which can be developed through extracurricular A/V club and at exam level.
Drama allows self expression and encourages students’ independence to develop their own personal preferences in performance style, genre and form.
Students take ownership at GCSE and A-level in the devised component. They can explore topics that impact them and develop empathy in their performance style.
Extra-curricular LAMDA classes allow students to explore plays and characters from different historical, cultural and political eras. This develops their cultural capital as they research and rehearse theatrical works that are outside their own cultural sphere, developing both independence and empathy.
Annual school productions allow them a personal achievement in the Performing Arts beyond what is measured in the classroom. Students learn the value of punctuality and attendance to rehearsals, team work, taking direction, independent learning of script and songs, pride in performance during show week and an appreciation of how a show is produced.
A breadth to our curriculum that includes genres of theatre, theatre practitioners and plays from ancient Greek to modern day ensures that students at St Martin’s School are exposed to a range of cultures, styles and theatre practices. The school’s shared language for learning supports students in their exploration of Drama and Theatre and students use a broad range of drama skills to explore current affairs and modern historical events. Drama specialist teachers regularly evaluate and make changes to the curriculum, to keep up to date with changes in Drama education and new works by playwrights, practitioners and theatre companies. Upper school Drama students are ambassadors for Drama by regularly sharing best practice in performance with Key Stage 3 students. KS5 Drama and Theatre students also support in KS3 lessons and extra curricular activities, acting as role models and sharing their creative ideas to challenge and inspire the younger years. Students can elect to study GCSE Drama where there are opportunities to explore theatre makers such as directors and designers, as well as the traditional acting pathway. We offer a broad extracurricular programme in which students are offered a theatre visit every year, as well as an overseas trip every two years. They can take on backstage roles and responsibilities as part of the A/V tech team, prepare for LAMDA graded examinations in acting and be part of a full scale musical production.
The Drama curriculum leads to high student attainment at GCSE Drama and A-level Drama and Theatre as well as a strong desire for year 11 students to stay at St Martin’s to study A-level Drama and Theatre rather than go elsewhere. We have increased numbers participating in extracurricular activities including LAMDA, drama clubs and productions. Students demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of Drama and Theatre and have developed a cultural capital through the topics, live theatre and productions that are on offer. Past students have used their Drama A-level to take them to a variety of higher education and job opportunities including Guilford School of Acting, Mountview, Royal Scottish Academy of Dramatic Art, Radio, TV and film roles, producing and tour management.