Curriculum Statement - Drama
Drama is a thought provoking, challenging and creative subject at The Math. Delivery of this subject offers pupils opportunities to develop crucial transferable skills such as communication and cooperation as well as the chance to explore fundamentally what it means to be human.
Pupils are encouraged to make connections between and trace developments of theatrical practices between historical eras and to recognise their influences in contemporary performance.
Overall, the department aims to provide pupils with a broad range of topics through which to develop curiosity, empathy, communication and analytical skills. In teaching a breadth of genres, historical eras and topics, and using a wide variety of activities throughout the curriculum, the department aims to teach Drama as an academic subject which progressively builds pupils’ knowledge and understanding; through its practical delivery the parallel aim is to engage pupils with complex and significant topics while simultaneously developing in them self-confidence and self-knowledge to support their intellectual and social development.
The department aims to teach Drama progressively through and across the two key stages it is taught in, building upon previous learning. The department adopts the Arts Council recommendation that the three interrelated activities of creating, performing and responding provide a useful framework for identifying and assessing progression and achievement, which match similar categories in other arts subjects such as music: composing, performing and appraising. For the purposes of planning and assessment, creating, performing and responding are treated as separate strands, although they are frequently integrated in practice. Pupils improvising, for example, are simultaneously making, performing and responding. the emphasis placed on each can change across the key stages; KS4 for instance involves more frequent reflection on individual practice and increases the demand of written analysis and evaluation in the responding aspect. However, the aim is to include aspects of each activity in each scheme of work.
Creating encompasses the many processes and activities employed when exploring, devising, shaping and interpreting drama.
Performing covers the skills and knowledge displayed when enacting, presenting and producing dramas, including the use of theatre technology.
Responding incorporates reflecting on both emotional and intellectual reactions to the drama. This reflection is deepened as pupils gain a knowledge and understanding of how drama is created.
To ensure breadth of study during each key stage, pupils are taught the skills, knowledge and understanding required to create, perform and respond to drama through:
• a broad range of stimuli, including artefacts, literature, non-fiction and non-literary texts such as photographs and video clips
• working in groups of varying size and as a class
• performing to a range of audiences
• a range of genres and styles
• seeing a variety of live and recorded performances from different times and cultures
• using ICT to explore and record ideas, research themes and enhance their work
Drama is taught one lesson per fortnight.
Where possible, cross-curricular links are incorporated e.g. in three of the KS3 terms, the Drama topic complements what students study in the KS3 English curriculum (Shakespeare x2 and Curious Incident.)
The curriculum in KS3 builds from a baseline assessment and an introduction to transferable skills at the start of year 7, taking pupils through yr 7, 8 and 9 in the exploration of five distinct theatrical eras or genres, four historical events, two different Shakespeare plays, and culminates in more GCSE style topics in year 9 such as a devising project and the introduction to major theatrical practitioners such as Stanislavski and Brecht. The aims are that year 9 pupils are equipped with the necessary knowledge, understanding and experience to approach the option process with confidence should they wish to select GCSE Drama as an option, and that all pupils have a breadth of knowledge and understanding of the process of creating performance and a critical and cultural appreciation of the performing arts.
Drama is taught 4 lessons per fortnight.
The curriculum begins in term 6 of year 9. This is used as a foundation term to accelerate students into GCSE level work – focus is on acquiring subject specific vocabulary, assessing skill levels and introducing new dramatic devices.
In year 10 the aim is to introduce each of the three components of the GCSE and establish for the pupils how they complement one another; introduce the set text through practical workshops and performances, experience working in combination with other students, develop analytical and evaluative skills and vocabulary, interpret text, learn theatrical theory and explore the devising process. At the end of this year pupils complete Component One: Devising Theatre.
In year 11 Students revisit the set text and focus on examination skills for the written paper, as well as completing Component Two: Performing from a Text for an external examiner. A second theatre visit reconsolidates pupil learning in relation to evaluating live theatre ready for Component Three: Interpreting Theatre.
KS3 Current topics taught:
Year 7- Folk Tales ( Baseline), Serious Fun ( intro to Drama), Greek Theatre, Roald Dahl, Evacuees, Shakespeare ( The Tempest)
Year 8- Commedia Del ‘Arte, Urban Legends, War, Melodrama, Let ‘m ‘Ave it (miscarriage of justice), Shakespeare (Macbeth)
Year 9- How Theatre Works, Devising Project, Scripted performance (Stanislavski), Epic theatre (Brecht), Physical Theatre
KS4 Current syllabus
Yr 10 - Drama Toolkit, Live Theatre Evaluation, Set Text practical workshops (DNA), Responding to Stimulus Material, Devised Performance,
Yr 11- Live Theatre Evaluation, Scripted Performance, Set Text written analysis and revision.
To support progression in each key stage, pupils are able to:
• explore and research ideas, issues, plays and other texts such as diary entries, poems, photographs, films and paintings, using a variety of drama skills and techniques
• devise, improvise, shape and structure dramas of different kinds
• use drama skills and knowledge to interpret a range of texts, for example play-scripts, pictures or stories
• prepare and perform both scripted and devised dramas
• use and develop their knowledge of drama from different times and cultures, as well as classic and contemporary practice
• reflect on, evaluate and analyse the structure, meaning and impact of their work and the work of others as both participant and audience
In addition to this, every opportunity is taken in discussion, reflection and evaluation activities to explore the connections between topics, and revisit previous learning in order to consolidate, retain and apply knowledge and understanding acquired so far in the drama curriculum, as well as take note of cross-curricular links.
Students in KS3 are internally assessed in terms 1, 3 and 5 reflecting their progress across the three elements of creating, performing and responding. Feedback to students is passed on to them verbally in lessons throughout the key stage and recorded in written teacher notes. Pupils are given frequent feedback, and take and offer peer and self- assessment after performing their work. Work is modelled and analysed in lessons by teachers, and some lessons are delivered by teacher-in–role to demonstrate role play, characterisation and performance skills. The www and ebi system is used in verbal feedback and specific advice added to written reports.
The department has set up the ability for pupils to take LAMDA qualifications through private lessons in public speaking and acting, arranged with a visiting LAMDA teacher/examiner. Many pupils are consequently able to develop their skills and confidence during KS4 and KS5. This is a welcome opportunity given that drama is not a discreet subject offered at KS5. LAMDA qualifications at level 2 and 3 can earn pupils valuable UCAS points.
The department provides students with regular opportunities to take part in school productions (two per year), both as performers and crew, as a way to further their vocational interest in performance or develop skills. Additional performances are arranged in regular showcases, e.g. Sixth Form Drama Academy (enrichment programme) and LAMDA Showcases. Collaboration with the Music Department is a feature of the delivery of these extra-curricular activities.
Theatre trips and workshops with visiting arts organisations or experts are organised to complement and enhance engagement with the Drama curriculum. These include stage combat, performance poetry, and vocal coaching workshops as well as participation in National Theatre Connections Festival. GCSE pupils take part in two theatre trips during their course. Visits and productions are chosen, where possible and appropriate, to complement learning in other areas e.g. Classics (School production of Antigone) or English Literature. (GCSE Theatre trips to productions of Macbeth and Frankenstein).
The impact of the curriculum can be seen through a number of measures.
- Pupils are clearly engaged in lessons and enjoy their drama lessons, as shown through their focused and committed approach to activities
- Pupils have a wide base of knowledge by the end of Key Stage 3, which contributes to their understanding, and appreciation of theatre and performance as a cultural and commercial enterprise.
- Pupils have demonstrated empathy with and tolerance of others in their consideration of a variety of topics and in their ability to work in a team.
- Internal assessment processes demonstrate that pupils effectively progress in knowledge and skill that they can later apply and develop.
- Formative assessments of performance, particularly related to voice and interaction, show pupils’ ability to develop and apply skills.
- Students are able to communicate clearly and effectively any connections between different genres and eras of theatre taught.
- SEN and disadvantaged students achieve outcomes in line with their peers.
- Questioning and discussion are used to gauge and deepen pupil understanding – thinking skills are challenged and championed.
- Students develop a wide understanding of many aspects of fundamental British values along with a well-developed SMSC awareness and knowledge.
- Consistent uptake of Drama at GCSE, with consistently successful outcomes, indicates that students are enjoying the subject, have confidence in its delivery and are able to continue with their studies.
- Success of pupils in applications to study performing arts subjects post 18 who have studied drama at GCSE and participated in school productions shows them as well prepared as possible for the next step of their education.
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