They key priority for the Drama curriculum, is to provide all our learners with the opportunity to open their minds, explore diverse texts and challenge their views of the world around them from different perspectives. In essence the Drama curriculum is focused on both developing students interpersonal skills as well as giving students a detailed and thorough understanding of Theatre.
In Drama, we feel the development of the whole person is incredibly important as it helps our pupils develop the skills to;
- Communicate and express feelings
- Form opinions and viewpoints, whilst ensuring our school ethos of excellence and kindness is always at the heart of everything we do
- Improve oracy skills
- Be able to work as a team
Subject specific skills:
- Develop a knowledge and understanding of the characteristics of certain texts and contexts, whilst exploring interpretations
- Understand and use specific drama techniques.
- The ability to analyse and evaluate live Theatre
- Develop an understanding of the technical aspects of Theatre and their impact on an audience.
Whatever the future holds, GCSE Drama learners emerge with a toolkit of transferable skills, applicable both in further studies and in the workplace.
The National Curriculum
Drama is mentioned within the English National Curriculum. There are parts that can be associated with Drama including;
- Spoken language, cognitively, socially
- Speaking and listening
- Sharing own views and opinions
- Reading texts
What do we do well at?
Our high-quality Drama curriculum offers cross curricular learning and runs hand in hand with the PSHCE curriculum which we feel is essential at this current time, which has changed the lives of so many of our pupils. With strands of the PSHCE curriculum running throughout the Drama curriculum, pupils can get a better understanding of issues in the wider community which are explored through SEMH diverse texts, discussions, debate and performance. Our pupils can express themselves and learn about the world around them but also have the freedom and confidence to make mistakes.
As a Creative Faculty we have celebrated our ability to adapt to online learning and then into non specialist classrooms whilst consistently delivering outstanding teaching and learning with exemplary routines and consistency which has maintained high pupil engagement.
How is the curriculum sequenced to help pupils know more and remember more over time?
- Year 7 learn the basics in performance during their English lessons developing the confidence to speak in front of an audience, alongside practicing their oracy skills
- Year 8 and 9 with a 1 hour lesson per week
- GCSE Drama with 5 lessons per fortnight
The Drama curriculum is carefully structured so that there is a significant increase in challenge as the students progress. Lessons are scaffolded so that the core skills are revisited, in addition students are consistently asked to challenge what they know and are encouraged to experiment and adapt the use of the theatrical skills in different context. Building skills and subject knowledge towards the EDUQAS GCSE Drama assessment objectives:
- AO1: Create and develop ideas to communicate meaning for theatrical performance
- A02: Apply theatrical skills to realise artisitic intention in live performance
- A03: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how drama and theatre is developed and performed
- A04: Analyse and evaluate their own work and the work of others.
Establishing the basic foundations to perform and to broaden pupil’s horizons whilst addressing misconceptions and learnt behaviours in a safe non judgemental learning environment. These foundations that appear throughout each Scheme of work, preparing learners for GCSE include;
- Performance skills (facial expressions, body language and use of voice)
- Confidence to speak in front of others
- To be open minded when learning about new styles and a range of texts
- Learning how to respond to a stimulus
What pedagogical approaches are used to ensure high quality learning takes place?
- Ensuring cognitive load is taken into account when planning lessons for learners
- Lesson delivery through ‘I do, we do, you do’
- Modelling ideas with teacher demonstrations
- Scaffolding tasks whilst always teaching form the top
- Planning time for pupils to develop their independence by using their ideas and having time to see them creatively evolve
How do you ensure students remember this content in the long term?
- Learning questions to begin each lesson which are then revisited at the end of each lesson
- Scaffolded tasks
- Sequenced curriculum to develop knowledge and skills over time
- Knowledge retrieval tasks reflecting on key terminology and definitions at the beginning of each lesson to engage short and long term memory
- Contextualising learning through relatable curriculum to the PSHCE curriculum alongside the wider community and pupil’s lives
- Dual coded resources
- Use of the higher level questioning matrix
- Discussions and debates
- Reflections at the end of each lesson
How does your curriculum celebrate diversity including gender and BAME representation?
- Trips to see live theatre and promotion of theatre events in our region through ‘what’s on’ guide
- Online calls/meetings with a range of actors/theatre practitioners and to watch plays
- Collaboration with other schools and also research to ensure we’re on the right path. Documents such as Open Drama’s ‘Developing a representative Drama curriculum’ to support future development of text selection
- Extra-curricular projects linked with cultural diversity and migration linking with projects such as ‘The Walk’
- Exploring the work of Practitioners that celebrate diversity and challenge gender and BAME representation in their work such as Emma Rice, DV8
- Exploration of texts as stimulus that explore the world we live in, providing opportunities for discussions regarding race and gender.
- Diversity in visual resources allowing students of all backgrounds to see themselves in the learning.
- Open discussions about non-ethnically and non-gender specific casting with students and why this is important for equality and diversity in the entertainment industry.
How is greater depth achieved?
- Extra-curricular opportunities including ACTion theatre company (Y7&8) and ReACTion theatre company (Y9&GCSE)
- Speakers from the Drama community coming to talk about acting in the real world, linking with the Gatsby benchmarks
- Key texts that are relatable to pupil’s lives but also texts that challenge preconceptions and opinions
- Engaging Drama competitions that engage pupils with the subject
- Links with professional sound and lighting technicians. An ex-pupil who has set up his own sound & lighting company who delivers workshops to pupils alongside supporting any events or shows that we put on. A Year 11 has just secured an apprenticeship with Bailey Audio Systems which we are incredibly proud of and also supports current y10 students.
- Promotion of peer teaching and support during extra-curricular activities, drop down days and primary link projects to promote proficiency in skills and leadership.
How are you teaching literacy through your subject?
- Opportunity for oracy, reading and writing
- Use of KS2 data, GL assessment data and reading ages to see who should be supported and challenged.
- Effective use of text
- Verbal peer discussions
- Tier 3 words are planned, referenced and explored in lessons which are then set as a homework at the end of a half term.
- Use of questioning whilst asking pupils to try to structure their answers correctly
- Reading scripts out loud
- Misconceptions addressed and corrected
- Contextualising language.
- Vocabulary list on knowledge organisers and displayed in lessons for reference and revision.
How do you ensure the needs are ALL learners are met?
Drama schemes of work are accessible for all learners with stretch and challenge opportunities in every lesson. On the department tracker disadvantaged, vulnerable and SEND learners are highlighted to ensure they are fully supported during lessons. As a faculty we ensure that all learners are stretched regardless of their background or demographic.
- All subjects within the Creative faculty demonstrate high expectations with routines and consistency which allows pupils to learn in a safe learning environment where pupils thrive and are not afraid to try their best.
- Working closely with the SENCO ensures we are fully aware of who our pupils are and how we can fully support them with their learning. Teaching strategies often include; breaking down tasks into small chunks, repetition, overlays and visual reminders etc.
- Lessons are consistently taught from the top and teacher modelling is used frequently.
- Higher-level questioning based around the matrix allows the Creative Faculty to offer un-biased questioning.
- Positive reinforcement is used at every opportunity by praising in public and reprimanding in private. Our learning environments are that of celebrating success and promoting our ethos of excellence and kindness
Assessment and feedback
- Pupils are assessed at the end of each scheme of work on key skills related to that particular scheme of work
- Pupils take summative assessments three time a year, which require pupils to work independently with their performance skills and knowledge to apply to an assessment
- Formative low stakes testing include; knowledge drills, keyword homeworks and practical tasks to demonstrate how much they know and have remembered
- As a faculty we gather a combination of pupil voice and SMID assessment data to pinpoint those who are not making progress and identify groups such as boys and SEND pupils who receive interventions such as; extra lesson support, seating plans, revision sessions, revision guides and extracurricular activities
- In a practical subject such as Drama, verbal feedback is paramount to pupil progress as through teacher, self and peer feedback, pupils know what they must do to improve.
Homework is set once per fortnight via a self-marking Team’s forms quiz based around keywords their definitions, comprehension tasks and analysis and evaluation of performance/technical skills. Pupils who are unable to complete homework on Teams are able to access a paper version.
Homework set is extremely effective in improving pupil understanding and embedding key vocabulary.
As a Faculty we have found that learning keywords and concepts can often be the most difficult part of learning Drama and pupils responds very well to interactive form’s quizzes.
What opportunities are offered to enrich the cultural capital of ALL learners?
As a faculty we are incredibly proud of our cultural capital offer for our pupils.
Opportunities are mapped around the curriculum to support the content and to provide context. Pupils develop a better understanding when they can experience and be inspired by live theatre. This in turn allows pupils to engage more and be inquisitive surrounding their learning.
Extra-curricular activities are open to all pupils at Rudheath. These clubs will often lead to performance opportunities in assemblies, community projects and shows.
Throughout the year we offer trips, performance opportunities, visits from performers and theatre professionals, awards, competitions between pupils to increase pupil engagement.
How do you ensure the transition to KS4 is successful is a progressive model over 5 years?
Unfortunately, lockdown has proved quite challenging with pupils being unable to develop the confidence to act in front of one another and to learn the basic performance skills which had resulted in low pupil numbers at GCSE, but for September 2021 there has been a promising increase in the cohort. Promotion of Drama through competitions, inviting influential actors, planning trips and events and inviting prospective drama pupils to extracurricular activities.
The skills, knowledge and assessment criteria required at KS4 are watered down through KS3. KS3 schemes are structured to incorporate devised theatre, scripted performance/analysis and review/evaluation of theatre preparing students for this structure at GCSE.
Gatsby benchmark links are embedded into the curriculum particularly through the cultural capital offer.
What is the subject offer for blended learning?
We ensure to provide high quality learning in a COVID and non- COVID scenario. The remote learning policy can be found in the following place.
How do you ensure staff development in your curriculum area?
Staff development is at the forefront of everything we do.
On an individual level the Drama teacher has attended professional development including;
- Eduqas GCSE Webinars
- Place 2 Be – Mental Health Champions Foundation course
- Drama Matters- Various online Drama specific sessions with professionals.
- Secondary Partnership Mentor training
- National Drama- Q & A session with Matthew Nichols
- The National Theatre- Katie Mitchell on Naturalism and Mixed Media Theatre
- The National Theatre- Justin Audibert Actor’s on DNA by Dennis Kelly (GCSE SET TEXT)
In school training is offered through;
- Morning briefings
- Whole school CPD
- Coaching Programme offering peer coaching around teaching and learning
Occasionally an Associate teacher is invited from a university to train in the department which have been an invaluable resource to share subject developments and fresh ideas.
What impact is your curriculum approach having on pupil’s outcomes?
Pupil’s outcomes have been extremely positive in Drama with positive Progress 8 scores with each cohort, resulting in some of the best outcomes across school.
Pupils are starting to become much more confident in themselves and are able to express view points whilst developing a tolerance of other’s views.
What does Pupil achievement look like in your subject?
Pupil engagement and attitude to performance is essential to be successful in Drama. Pupils having the ability to articulate their views, the option to attend extra curricular groups, pupils achieving their targets and improved GCSE cohorts numbers are all signs of achievement.
Most importantly developing transferable skills to prepare them holistically for life after Rudheath.
Students studying Drama should demonstrate that;
- They are able to recognise, select and effectively use drama techniques within their work creatively
- They are able to use the drama terminology and language in their discussions and reflections
- They are able to develop and refine their skills through evaluation
The national picture and challenges
Based on 2019 data there was a national decline in entries for Drama we are continuing to overcome this through extra-curricular provision, engaging, broad curriculum offered, offering students experiences working with professionals and in professional theatre settings to enable them to gain knowledge of future potential career paths , links with further education providers to broaden students’ knowledge of potential courses linked to Drama and the Arts, sharing and highlighting the transferable and well sought after skills Drama promotes.
How will we know that our intent is being achieved?
Through pupil voice, feedback and assessments we are able to evaluate the success of what we are implementing through our day to day teaching as well as the formative and summative assessments.
The Head of Faculty also completes curriculum reviews, data analysis, questioning based around the School Improvement plan, pupil recordings and pupil voice to quality assure the curriculum intent and implementation.
A curriculum improvement plan is refined and adapted annually outlining the resources needed from the budget, to ensure learners have the necessary resources required to access the curriculum.