Curriculum Information for Drama

Our aim in drama is to guide pupils to be able to perform in a range of genres, whether using scripts or devising pieces themselves, and to demonstrate a range of theatrical techniques to have an intended impact on an audience, and be able to successfully collaborate with other performers.

At Tottington High School we engage pupils and guide them to acquire their theatrical skills and understanding in year 7, then build on and develop this in year 8 and extend this in year 9.

For pupils who opt to study Drama beyond key stage three, we further extend and consolidate pupils’ skills, understanding, and theatrical skills to make them the best performers they can be.
Through our Drama curriculum, we provide learning opportunities that encompass the school’s Vision and Values:

Working Together

  • Collaboration: providing learning opportunities for pupils to work in pairs, small groups, and as a whole class, as well as using discussion activities.  
  • Communication: developing pupils’ understanding and use of drama terminology and developing their oracy skills through structured feedback and evaluations.

Aiming High

  • Resilience: giving pupils the opportunity to develop their confidence through performances and the challenges that they face whilst rehearsing for these.
  • Aspiration: providing challenge within the curriculum to build the aspirations of becoming competent actors across a range of challenging styles.

Achieving Success

  • Excellence: giving pupils varied opportunities to perform in the classroom, to the school, and within the local community.
  • Commitment: having extra-curricular opportunities for pupils to extend their drama skills outside the classroom.

Drama Learning Journeys

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The Drama Curriculum is designed to introduce pupils to a variety of theatre styles and techniques that they will consistently build upon with the use of a spiral curriculum, developing their knowledge and skills as they continue to revisit past concepts.

By the End of Year 7, pupils will:

  • Use a range of physical and vocal skills to create a range of characters for a performance
  • Identify and use a range of drama techniques to enhance a performance
  • Watch a range of examples of theatre from different genres
  • Use the correct vocabulary to describe the stage layout
  • Read a range of scripts and understand how to begin to stage them

By the End of Year 8, pupils will:

  • Use a range of physical and vocal skills to create a range of characters for a performance and the effect this has on the audience
  • Identify and use a range of drama techniques use within a range of practitioner's styles
  • Watch a range of examples of theatre from different genres and practitioner's
  • Use the correct vocabulary to describe the stage types
  • Read a range of scripts and understand how to stage them
  • Understand some of the roles within the theatre

By the End of Year 9, pupils will:

  • Understand the effect the decisions made whilst creating theatre have on the audience
  • Identify and use a range of drama techniques use within a range of practitioner's styles
  • Watch a range of examples of theatre from different genres and practitioner's
  • Use the correct vocabulary to describe the design elements of the theatre
  • Read a range of scripts and understand how to stage them
  • Describe the roles and responsibilities of the different roles within the theatre

Using characterisation skills will be fundamental throughout Drama and will continue to be revisited and built upon all through KS3 and into the KS4 curriculum.

There are also opportunities for links made with other subjects for example:

  • Drama is linked closely with musical learning due to the performance nature of both subjects.
  • Drama links with English through studying plays and developing their oracy skills.
  • Drama links with Design and Art when studying the wider elements of the theatre.

Drama lessons involve a series of steps within each lesson that begins with activating prior knowledge and leading to independent practice before ending in structured reflection. We use the THS Teaching and Learning Foci, as well as common pedagogical approaches specific to delivering a robust musical curriculum, many of which link to Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction.  

  • Informal and Non-Formal Teaching
  • Class Workshopping
  • Modelling and Guided Practice (I do, We do, You do)
  • Scaffolded Tasks
  • Retrieval Practice and Recall
  • Presenting New Information in Small Steps
  • Checking for Understanding
  • Responsive and Adaptive Teaching
  • Thinking Time
  • Teaching to the Top
  • Deliberate Vocabulary Development
  • Ensuring good Behaviour and Relationships
  • Support for SEND pupils
  • Teacher in role

In Drama, the aims of feedback and the key principles associated with assessing pupil progress are:

  • To give pupils specific, accurate, and clear information of how to progress and what they are doing correctly.
  • To not hinder the sequence of learning or constrain the time a teacher spends on planning effective lessons.
  • To ensure feedback encourages pupils to challenge themselves and strive for their best
  • To ensure students are encouraged to reflect and act upon feedback and are given opportunities to do so.

The vast majority of this feedback is conducted live throughout lessons, especially during deliberate practice, to challenge misconceptions, and provide further challenge and support; this is mostly done verbally and with teacher modelling.

Assessments in drama have a clear purpose and provide meaningful information about pupils’ capabilities.  These judgements are made in relation the Component Knowledge pupils are to acquire during the unit of study.

Formative assessment takes place regularly throughout units of work and include:

  • Verbal feedback, including questioning pupils on their understanding, ensuring common misconceptions and gaps in knowledge are addressed, and praising the good work pupils are doing.
  • Comparing pupils’ work to the Component Knowledge and setting personalised targets.
  • Peer to peer feedback during performances to check on pupils understanding and ability to identify the component knowledge.

Summative assessment is done at the end of units of study and is usually conducting in the following manner:

  • Pupils perform their work to the class.
  • Pupils peer assess the performances of their classmates.
  • Teacher assesses the performances and gives brief verbal and written feedback.
  • Pupils respond to teacher feedback in writing and create a self-assessment and set a target.

In our department we continually strive to give students as many opportunities to experience live theatre and related experiences that they would not otherwise receive just in the classroom. Pupils will gain a better understanding of performance techniques and can use their experiences within their own work.

Here at Tottington we offer:

  • Various theatre trips throughout the year are open to all students to increase pupils engagement.
  • Extra-Curricular opportunities are available to all students, working closely with the music department, and these often lead to performance opportunities.
  • Production companies are invited into school to do workshops with some students and in house performances that are used to enhance the curriculum.

By studying Drama and the Performing Arts BTEC pupils become competent actors and develop directorial and design skills. Pupils will have experienced a range of theatre styles whilst also understanding the theory behind the performance.
Increasingly, employers and universities are looking for young people who have skills that are learned through creative subjects: creative thinking, emotional intelligence, adaptability, communication and tenacity to name just a few. And universities are keen to attract students who have a well-rounded education and achieve good results, no matter what the subject.

Beyond being an actor or director, studying drama can lead to a variety of roles within the theatre industry including designers of lighting, stage and sound. There are also a range of roles that studying drama can lead to utilizing the transferable skills studied such as:

  • Teachers
  • Public speaker
  • Various jobs within the film, TV and media industry
  • Professions such as lawyers, sales.
  • Any pathway a student should choose to take.