Performing arts are uniquely positioned to bring together intellect and feeling, enabling personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of our culture, past and present, performing arts helps students to understand themselves, relate to others and develop their cultural understanding, forging important links between home, school and the wider world. Whilst performing arts are valuable in their own right, the study of them can enhance so much more: teaching transferable skills to develop well-rounded students.
At Derby Cathedral School, our drama curriculum is challenging, inspiring and engaging, building resilient, curious, tenacious and independent learners. We do this by providing quality first teaching to each and every student, teaching each scheme of learning through performance, devising and appraising ensuring a comprehensive approach that really cements each student’s learning.
In drama, students are given the opportunity to develop their understanding of drama practitioners and performance styles through evaluating and performing a diverse collection of dramatic texts, which span a range of genres. Imagination and creativity is developed even further as students are given opportunities for devising their own dramatic work. Students have the opportunity to watch professional and amateur productions of plays and musicals.
Ultimately, the curriculum meets the needs of all our learners through rigorous assessment and feedback, practical teaching in which students actively learn through independent learning activities, and is supported by learning outside of the classroom through our extensive extra-curricular programme and opportunities to perform within the community. All performing arts subjects promote an overall appreciation of the arts, both inside and outside the curriculum, developing discipline, control, focus and giving students ‘a voice’.
The performing arts departments are outward-facing, making links beyond the school community including the local community of Derby and the world of work and careers. Derby is a renowned centre of innovation in many sectors, and the creative arts is a burgeoning area. We believe our school should play an important part in developing the creative arts in Derby through opportunities to perform within the local community and experience live performances outside of the school context through our links with Derby Cathedral, Derby Theatre and Deda.
Our careers education informs students of possible careers within the arts, which raises aspirations and provides opportunities for students to develop their skills and experiences in these fields. We are working closely with a number of local providers as well as our cultural educational partnership to access local and national opportunities. Our work with our cultural partner (based at Derby Theatre) also provides opportunities for students to thrive in Derby city and to experience a variety of cultural experiences to develop their skills, life chances and fulfil their highest ambitions. Additionally, our students are engaging with pathways beyond key stage 4 and 5 through our collaboration with a number of universities.
Finally, our performing arts team are constantly researching new developments and teaching strategies within music and the performing arts to ensure students at Derby Cathedral School receive the best possible arts experiences matching the ‘vibrancy’ of Derby as a city centre, promoting self-worth, confidence, resilience and understanding of the world around them through a cultural and creative eye.
Ms A Wrampling – Head of Year 7 and teacher of drama
Homework is set each term to correlate with the scheme of learning students are studying. No more than once a fortnight at KS3 (though additional homework can be asked for) and weekly at KS4. Knowledge Organisers support the learning and homework. Students write their homework in their planners and in 2022 it is due to be placed on class charts as well.
Students received a lot of feedback whilst studying each scheme of learning. This takes the form of teacher verbal feedback, self-reflection and self and peer assessment. At KS4 GCSE assessment is broken down into three components for drama; 1. Devising (40%), 2. Performing (20%) and 3, Interpreting Theatre (40%). Teachers and students keep track of their individual progress against student targets, ensuring relevant and timely intervention is put into place, if needed.
Study skills & revision
In drama, we develop a range of physical skills and techniques. For example; movement, body language, posture, gesture, gait, co-ordination, stillness, timing, control; facial expression; eye contact, listening, expression of mood; spatial awareness; interaction with other performers; dance and choral movement.
We look at three areas of drama in both key stage 3 and 4:
Understanding drama (using stage directions, understanding terms, looking at the work of practitioners).
Performing drama (performing from a script)
Devising drama (creating your own drama)
The following link takes you to lots of websites that can support your understanding of drama and practitioners:
The performing arts department offers a wide range of opportunities for students to take part in dance, drama and music. These opportunities are available for both key stage 3 and 4 students. These range from drama workshops (focusing on drama practitioners and how their ideas can be interpreted in theatre) and school productions in which all performing arts students can take part. These opportunities allow students to gain further insight into performing arts and help them to gain confidence in performance roles. In the future we also hope to have ‘behind the scenes’ roles that are available, from support with lighting, sound, prompts and set design.
In lessons, we will use a variety of play scripts and stimuli (for devising drama). All lesson resources are developed by your teacher to ensure that you have the best information to support your learning and skill development in drama.
We will also be using a GCSE text book to support with the understanding drama aspect of the course at key stage 4.
The revision guide CGP GCSE Drama Grades 9-1 is a useful and concise resource.
Drama Online: This award-winning digital library has been created as a response to the need for a high-quality online research tool for drama and literature students, professors, and teachers. It is the only resource to combine exclusively available playtext content and scholarly publications with filmed live performances, film adaptations, and audio plays. Derby Cathedral School has access to both National Theatre Collection 1 and 2.
BBC Bitesize: A link to the GCSE revision pages of Eduqas Drama.