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Curriculum Intent Statement


The curriculum ambition is to provide an academic Drama curriculum that develops knowledge, skills and cultural capital. The coherent planning is sequenced towards pupils collaborating creatively to confidently present their ideas for an audience through live performance. We aim to develop pupils’ interpersonal skills and to stimulate their imaginations to explore issues beyond their own experience, in a safe and supportive environment.

The rationale for Drama in Years 7, 8 and 9 is skill driven and aims to build personal competences which can be relied upon to succeed, not only in drama lessons, but beyond school life and in future employment. Drama promotes self-esteem and provides all pupils with a sense of achievement regardless of academic ability. The Drama curriculum is successfully adapted and developed to be as ambitious as possible, and to meet the needs of SEND pupils. It centres on social and communication skills which enable pupils to enjoy and achieve. Drama is the inspiring, rigorous and practical subject which prepares all young people to live and work with confidence in the wider world.

Drama places unique demands upon the critical thinking and emotional engagement of participants. It challenges pupils to move from a superficial response to texts and situations, to a more sophisticated response. When pupils are emotional engaged they experience for themselves roles, tensions and dilemmas while being able to step outside a text or situation to gain an additional perspective. Developing this ability to participate and observe means that, given a new situation, text or dilemma, pupils are able to transfer their analytical skills to them.

We intend for pupils at Priory Academy to explore, experiment and express themselves in a safe and non-judgmental environment. In Drama pupils can expand their thought processes and learn to articulate their ideas, opinions and feelings. Because of the variety of options within the subject (performance, design, director, writer) all pupils have the opportunity to thrive.


In Drama, pupils in Key Stage 3 partake in one 50-minute lesson a week.

At Key Stage 4 pupils work towards a GCSE qualification and study for 3 hours a week in Year 10 and 3 hours a week in Year 11. Cohort size is variable with current KS4 classes of 10 and 25 pupils.

At Key Stage 3 the Drama curriculum is taught through project-based schemes. The teaching is integrated with timely assessments and projected end points. Pupils have the opportunity to experiment with script interpretation and characterisation, devise original drama, explore the technical and design sides of performance and theatrical techniques. They will develop confidence, presentation and teamwork skills.

Pupils cultivate reading publicly through script work, but also private reading opportunities are presented to extend pupils’ understanding and enhance their creative response. A range of texts and media from classic to contemporary are used, including Shakespeare. A variety of performance styles and genres are introduced alongside technical, IT and design resources to inspire pupils and enable them to realise their creative ideas in performance.

A range of teaching and learning strategies are employed to ensure lessons are stimulating. Practical approaches are blended with theory so that research and analysis can be put into practice. Inclusive approaches are used in all lessons to enable even reluctant speakers and performers to develop the confidence to engage and enjoy Drama. During the course of a project pupils are offered teacher formative assessment and clear success criteria to self and peer assess. DIRT time is then used to improve performances. Each project is formally assessed through a final practical performance which is filmed to enable pupil reflection on performance and assessment. Grading is recorded in department internal tracking records. This approach at KS3 prepares those pupils who choose to opt for Drama GCSE. Teachers are passionate about creating a professional performance atmosphere and this enthusiasm captures the imagination and interest of our pupils.

At KS4 the Edexcel GCSE course is followed. CPD is completed to keep up to date with the specification. Links with other schools’ Drama Departments studying the same course are constantly developed through social media groups and meeting to standardize both written and practical work.

The curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulative knowledge and skills for the future.


By the end of Year 9 all pupils have actively employed the skills they have honed throughout years 7, 8 and 9. This is a wholly inclusive project enabling disadvantaged and SEND pupils equal performance opportunities. The standard of these performances showcases the progress and achievement across the key stage.

Pupils continue to achieve well in Drama at GCSE. Current uptake for Drama has steadily increased over the last three years, despite the impact of the EBACC progress measure.

Pupils enjoy and achieve in Drama across the Key Stages (evidenced by final performance standards and GCSE results).

Many pupils continue their studies after Priory Academy with some past pupils graduating to prestigious acting schools and industry jobs.

Recording of performances enables pupils to reflect on progress and to demonstrate how assessment is made. High quality exemplars are used to bench mark and inspire. Pupils are keen to watch each other perform and enjoy analysing and assessing performance (evidenced by engagement in lessons)

Departmental networking and cross moderation with other schools and colleges ensures that high standards of provision are maintained.

The Drama curriculum at Priory Academy encourages pupils to read widely and often, to attend the theatre, and fosters an appreciation of the arts and culture

The Purpose of Knowledge Organisers
A knowledge organiser sets out the important, useful and powerful knowledge on a topic. For students to succeed in Drama, they must have a foundation of factual knowledge, understand those facts and be able to apply them to a specific context. We at Priory Academy believe that the use of knowledge organisers can enhance and further students’ learning, therefore we are building them into our curriculum and are encouraging the use of them at home for home learning purposes and for revision. Please click on the correct year group and term for the current knowledge organiser being used.

Key Stage 3

Drama is not a National Curriculum subject; however, the Arts Council offer guidance on areas of study. The Assessment Objectives are developed from the skills required at GCSE in the new 9-1 specification. Throughout KS3, students will develop the essential skills of organisation and communication in both oral and written work. Drama enables pupils to negotiate situations both in and out of role. By engaging in a range of dramatic activities, they develop their understanding of the world. Using creative and imaginative role play situations, pupils can explore their own and others’ feelings about a range of cultural and human issues. They learn to employ the strategies of hot seating, tableau, still-image, thought tracking and conscience alley. By exploring voice, movement, gesture and facial expression, they develop their dramatic skills. All work is completed on iPads and OneNote.

Key Stage 3 Curriculum Overview

Key Stage 4

Year 10 and Year 11

Exam board: Edexcel

Students have three lessons a weeks at GCSE in year 10 and year 11. During their GCSE Drama course students will undertake three assessed components. The course emphasises and assesses the drama process as well as the final product.

Component 1: Devising

This component deals with devising, which is an exciting and challenging opportunity to work collaboratively with others to explore a range of stimuli in order to create an original performance piece.

Devising is essential for the development of new theatre and performance; it allows for personal development and exploration. It allows both performer and designer the opportunity to stretch the limits of their creativity and imagination, while exploring a theme or topic of interest to them and their intended audience.

Students will develop skills in group work, research and negotiation, while also developing creativity, performance and design skills. Students will consider the impact that they can make on an audience, as they develop the ideas that they want to communicate.

Coursework: 40% of the qualification (60 marks)

Content overview

  • Create and develop a devised piece from a stimulus (free choice for centre).
  • Performance of this devised piece or design realisation for this performance.
  • Analyse and evaluate the devising process and performance.
  • Performer or designer routes available.

Assessment overview

  • AO1, AO2 and AO4 are assessed.
  • Internally assessed and externally moderated.

There are two parts to the assessment:

1) a portfolio covering the creating and developing process and analysis and evaluation of this process (45 marks, 30 marks assessing AO1 and 15 marks assessing AO4).

The portfolio submission recommendations are:

  • can be handwritten/typed evidence between 1500–2000 words, or
  • can be recorded/verbal evidence between 8–10 minutes, or
  • can be a combination of handwritten/typed evidence (between 750–1000 words) and recorded/verbal evidence (between 4–5 minutes)

2) a devised performance/design realisation (15 marks, assessing AO2).

Component 2: Performance from Text

Performance texts have been at the core of drama since the inception of theatre. The need to hand down stories has been fundamental to human development and for thousands of years, people have written, performed, watched and enjoyed innumerable plays.

Understanding a performance text is fundamental to the subject, as this provides students with opportunities to explore plot, structure, narrative and stories from around the world and from different time periods. It encourages them to develop empathy skills, as they consider different characters and develop methods of communicating ideas and themes.

This component deals with developing knowledge, understanding and skills in exploring and performing from a performance text. Students will interpret this text and rehearse and refine two key extracts, leading to a final performance. They will demonstrate and use a wide range of acting and/or design skills to communicate their interpretation in performance.

Coursework: 20% of the qualification (48 marks)

Content overview

  • Students will either perform in and/or design for two key extracts from a performance text.
  • Centre choice of performance text.
  • Performer or designer routes available.

Assessment overview

  • AO2 is assessed.
  • Externally assessed by visiting examiner.
  • Centres are free to cover the performance/designing of the two key extracts in any way.
  • This freedom caters for centres with different cohort sizes and allows them to choose group, solo and/or partner-based routes for assessment.
  • Performance/design realisation covering both key extracts is worth 48 marks.
  • If two separate performances are done covering two key extracts, then each performance/design realisation is worth 24 marks.

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice

This component focuses on the work of theatre makers and the theatrical choices that are made by crucial members of the creative and production team in order to communicate ideas to an audience. As theatre makers, students will be develop their knowledge and understanding of the ways in which drama can create meaning for an audience through performance.

Students will explore practically how a complete performance text might be interpreted and realised from ‘page to stage’. This exploration will give students an insight into how texts may be brought to life for an audience and the creative roles within this process.

Students will also analyse and evaluate their experience of a live theatre performance as informed members of the audience. They will develop skills to recognise the meaning created in the theatre space in order to communicate ideas to an audience. This will give them a more critical and varied approach to their own work as theatre makers.

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes – 40% of the qualification (60 marks)

Content overview

  • Practical exploration and study of one complete performance text.
  • Choice of eight performance texts.
  • Live theatre evaluation – free choice of production.

Assessment overview

Section A: Bringing Texts to Life

  • 45 marks, assessing AO3.
  • This section consists of one question broken into six parts (short and extended responses) based on an unseen extract from the chosen performance text.
  • Performance texts are not allowed in the examination as the extracts will be provided.

Section B: Live Theatre Evaluation

  • 15 marks, assessing AO4.
  • This section consists of two questions requiring students to analyse and evaluate a live theatre performance they have seen.
  • Students are allowed to bring in theatre evaluation notes of up to a maximum of 500 words.

Assessment objectives:

AO1: Create and develop ideas to communicate meaning for theatrical performance.
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: Analyse and evaluate their own work and the work of others.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Overview

Edexcel GCSE Drama Specification

GCSE Drama Glossary

Other Information

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