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Performing Arts

  • Performing Arts
  • Dance
  • Music

Year 9:

In Drama students are introduced in Year 9 to fundamental drama techniques that are used to devise short, classroom-based performances.  Week by week these allow students to develop a range of acting, devising, presentation and group skills.  The aim of the course is to develop students' empathy and understanding of different situations and characters.


Year 10 & Year 11:

Drama - Course Leader: Mr MacBride-Stewart

Course Description

As well as teaching you current theory and practice in drama training, this course is unique for using your ideas in assessed performance.  Through this course you will also improve your memory and develop your presentation and communication skills. 

In the UK, 2014 and 2015 the creative industries outperformed all other industry sectors, generating £71.4 billion per annum.  This is largely because our education system values the importance culture of play and script writing, performance and the creative process. The GCSE Drama course teaches the creative process: idea generation, research, development, performance and evaluation. Recent government changes to GCSE means more marks are generated from writing than before, but performing, active learning and experimenting with ideas are characteristics of this subject. 

Of course the GCSE Drama course will also teach you essential acting skills: you learn how to devise a performance from scratch, how to prepare a published play as if you are a director or actor. It is a great course to choose with a very high student satisfaction rating. It is both challenging and fun at the same time.


The course is examined in three components.

Component One: Devising Theatre (40% of the qualification)

In groups of 2-5 you create a performance based on a stimulus given by the exam board. This is at the start of Year 11. First you respond to the stimulus, then you choose your performance style and finally you devise, rehearse and evaluate. You are assessed individually through your performance and through your portfolio of supporting evidence to show the process you took to devise your performance. There is a practice assessment in Year 10 to prepare you for this.

Component Two: Performing from a text (20% of your qualification)

In groups of 2-4 you study two short extracts from one suggested play. You perform an extract from the play, then create and perform a monologue or dialogue based on a character in the extract. These are performed together in front of a visiting examiner. You are marked individually by him or her and your contribution to the rehearsal process as assessed by your teacher and included in the overall mark. 

Component Three: Interpreting Theatre (40% of your qualification)

This written exam is on a set text studied through the course. You answer a series of longer questions as if you are an actor preparing for the role and as a director explaining the design you have for the play. Again, there will be practice assessments for this text through the course. Section B of the exam asks about live theatre seen through the course. 
This GCSE will be graded using the new 9-1 scale.  We trust you will enjoy the course.

Year 9:

In Music in Year 9 students study topics and skills taken from a broad range of musical contexts including jazz, folk, film music, pop songs and dance music.  Within these topics students learn keyboard, guitar, vocal and music technology skills.  Those who play musical instruments will also have the opportunity  to use their skills.


Year 10 & Year 11:

Music GCSE - Course Leader: Mr Baxter

Course Description

GCSE Music is a varied and interesting course that combines creative and social skills with academic rigour and practical expertise.  If you can play an instrument of any type, or sing, GCSE music allows you the opportunity to use and improve your skills. 

Performing on an instrument or singing is a vital part of the course. 

To help you decide whether to take GCSE music or not it is important to know that the standard of your instrumental or vocal performance is a key factor.  Experience has shown, for example, that someone who can play at approximately Grade 3 standard or above at the start of the course is more likely to achieve a good GCSE grade.

If you would like help to work out what your current standard is, or have any questions about this, ask your music teacher for help before deciding.

Component 1: Understanding Music

You will study a wide variety of music ranging from popular, jazz and classical to traditional music from around the world. You will develop your listening skills and be taught to identify instrumental sounds, styles and structures. You will learn the basics of music notation and understand the context in which music is composed and performed. The final exam (1 ½ hours) will be based on the set works you have studied as well as some unfamiliar pieces from the same areas of study. The questions will be based on extracts you listen to on a CD.

Component 2: Performing

You will practise and perform in groups and individually during the course. You will be encouraged to take part in the musical life of the school, either in established groups (fusion band, choir, strings etc. run by music and visiting teachers) or in informal groups (for example, rock bands). In the final year of the course you will record a solo and an ensemble which must add up to 4 minutes duration. You can also opt to use music technology to produce this. This will be assessed by your teacher then sent for moderation by the exam board. 

Component 3: Composing

You will learn how to write your own music using music software to help.  You must create two compositions: the first is a free composition in any style you choose (rock, classical, jazz etc.); the second will be from a choice set by the exam board in the final year (e.g. writing film music for a given scene, using a photograph or image, setting some lyrics to a song). Your compositions will be assessed by your teacher then sent to the exam board for moderation.


This course is exciting and challenging if you have an open mind and want to improve your performance and general musical skills.  Activities can vary enormously and the areas covered allow you lots of personal creative choice.  As well as possibly preparing the way for AS or A2 Music, your listening skills will enhance the aural perception needed in language examinations and your performing skills will give you confidence in playing to an audience – useful if you intend to pursue, for example, drama or law.  GCSE Music is a stimulating and rewarding course to choose.

With this new GCSE specification, you will be graded on the new 9-1 scale.

In Dance at Key Stage 4 students explore performance and choreography and learn different ways to develop skills in both.  The course encourages students to find their own style and identify areas of strength in their performance.  Students gain confidence through performing in class and to audiences.  Practical work is supported by analysing choreographers and dance practitioners.

Dance GCSE - Course Leader: Mrs Foster

Course Description

This is a course designed to further your knowledge through practical exploration. You will learn all of the different elements that come together to create a healthy dancer, such as diet and health and safety.  As performers you will develop confidence and self-esteem. You will develop self and body awareness as well as sensitivity to others and team-working skills.  As choreographers you will use problem-solving skills, creativity and imagination. 


Component 1: Performance & Choreography

Performance is worth 30% of the GCSE, with two practical performances:

  • Set phrases through solo performance (15 marks)
  • Duet/trio performance (25 marks)

Choreography is worth 30% of the GCSE, with one practical performance:

  • Solo or group choreography (40 marks)

All choreography and performance pieces will be internally marked and externally moderated.
Component 2: Dance Appreciation

A 1 ½ hour exam worth 40% of the GCSE (80 marks)

What is assessed:

Knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performance skills
Critical appreciation of your own work
Critical appreciation of professional works

Further Comments

An interest in dance is essential, although previous dance experience is not always necessary. The course is 60% practical and requires a high level of energy and stamina throughout the full two years.  This reformed GCSE will be graded on the new 9-1 scale.