CURRICULUM INTENT: VALUES AND VISION
‘Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to.’
The drama curriculum at Greenbank has been designed to be practical, engaging and creative. It provides opportunities to understand and create drama as a practical art form in which ideas and meaning are communicated to an audience through informed artistic choices. Students are encouraged to develop their individuality and to think and express themselves with flair and confidence. As a department, we aim to help pupils to discover and experience the world around them and begin to appreciate situations from more than one perspective, encouraging empathy and tolerance. The main purpose of our curriculum is to allow pupils to study the subject in an academic setting, interrogating this art form and applying their knowledge and understanding to the process of creating, developing and performing drama. It will prepare pupils for the study of A Level Drama and Theatre Studies or alternative Performing Arts courses such as the BTEC when leaving Greenbank, as well as developing those skills that are transferrable to other curriculum areas and to support the requirements of future employment.
At the heart of drama is the development of these skills in all young people; engagement, communication and oracy, creative imagination, clarity of expression, autonomy, leadership confidence and cooperation. There is more to drama than being able to perform on stage. Opportunities are embedded for students to be able to hone and develop performance talent but equally important is the ability to understand, analyse and evaluate the theatre we create. Methodologies of theatrical practitioners are introduced to enable students not only to ‘re-enact’ but to shape their own unique ideas with a greater understanding of the need for style, intention, theatrical form and to learn to celebrate individual and unique perspectives.
Our curriculum helps create independent learners, critical thinkers and effective decision makers – all personal attributes that can make them stand out as they progress through their education and into employment. Our schemes of learning provide a challenging curriculum to ignite and engage our pupils’ creativity, passion and interests. The non-written assessment allows pupils to explore their own interests and develop their skills in performance. It also provides freedom for pupils to experiment and take risks with their work while developing their own style. Our curriculum has been designed to ensure an inclusive approach, allowing all learners to achieve their potential. We have looked closely at creating assessments, including written outcomes, which stem from teaching and learning and the study of drama, ensuring that the focus is on what enables all learners to make the best possible progress in the subject.
DELIVERY OF THE CURRICULUM
Pupils are taught in mixed ability teaching groups throughout Key Stage 3 and 4.
Groups are taught in 1hour lessons fortnightly in Years 7 and 8. Schemes of work are based around a theme, but individual lessons are discrete due to the nature of the number of lessons on the timetable and relatively long gaps in between. Due to the fact that most pupils have generally experienced very little drama at Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 lessons introduce basic devising and performance skills, with the emphasis being on developing confidence and encouraging pupils to foster a sense of enjoyment in the art form. Lessons are tightly structured to ensure as much is covered in a short space of time, and pupils are given the opportunity to perform for their peers in the majority of lessons.
Key knowledge is embedded through regularly revisiting skills.
At Key Stage 3, pupils are assessed on their devising and performance skills regularly. Where possible, pupils are provided with verbal feedback when they have performed. One formal assessment takes place at the end of each scheme of work and pupils are provided with assessment criteria so it is clear what their aims are and the potential outcomes.
Key Stage 4 is taught from Year 9 twice weekly, and five times fortnightly in Year 11. Students are encouraged to meet outside lesson times when working in groups towards the devised performance work for Component 2 (moderated) and the scripted performance work for Component 3 (examined).
In Year 9, pupils revisit and study performance skills covered in Key Stage 3 in far more depth. They learn the content for Section A of Component 1. Following this, they cover a scheme of work on the practitioner Stanislavski (Naturalism) and apply their knowledge through practical exercises leading to a performance. Additionally, one digital or live production for Section C of Component 1 is studied and we start examining Act 1 of the set text for Section B of Component 1
In Year 10, pupils continue studying the set text for Section B of Component 1, then work on Component 2 which includes a devised performance and an accompanying 2500 written devising log. A second live production is studied.
In Year 11, the set text is revisited and completed in time for the Pre-Public Examinations in the first term. In the second term scripted pieces are performed to an examiner for Component 3.
At Key Stage 4 pupils are regularly given extended written tasks from Year 9 to prepare them for the demands of the written work in Year 10 and 11. They also regularly perform and are given verbal feedback afterwards.
GCSE work is assessed using AQA specification criteria.
All pupils have equality of access to the curriculum. Staff consistently promote an ethos of high expectations for all pupils and high quality written and performance work and full commitment is assumed. We recognise that for some pupils the thought of performing in front of their peers can be daunting, especially in Key Stage 3, and we always support students in building their self-esteem and confidence. We do not expect all students to be highly accomplished actors but we do expect and will guide each and every student to make progress in their communication skills.
Any individual support needed is identified and implemented. Individual pupil’s progress is tracked and any barriers to further progress identified. For instance, staff carefully consider the suitability of performance texts, particularly at GCSE level.
More able pupils are regularly grouped together so that they are able to devise and perform practical work to the highest standard. Equally important, mixed ability work groups are often encouraged, whereby more able pupils are able to take on a leadership role if they so wish, benefiting their own skills as well as those who are less able or who need encouragement or support.
Disadvantaged pupils are encouraged to participate in all lessons and we ensure that much support and praise is given. Those who are disadvantaged do not have to pay to participate in theatre trips or to buy set texts to ensure equality and access for all.
Since places in the annual school production are via audition (this has to be the case, as so many pupils -often 100 – want to take part), more able pupils are given the opportunity to participate, whilst those who are disadvantaged are encouraged to audition and individual circumstances are always considered when auditions take place.