Drama is taught to all pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 in two nine week units. In these years the course is designed to meet Attainment Target 1 (Speaking and Listening) in the National Curriculum for English (KS3), as well as for preparing pupils for the rigours of G.C.S.E. Drama.
In Year 7 the course begins with an introduction to the basic skills and conventions of Drama after which the pupils tackle a series of improvised pieces on which they are assessed. In the second unit they concentrate on Scripted Drama, which also forms part of their final assessment.
In Year 8 pupils work on a theme based project on 'Family', producing scripted and improvised pieces on which they are assessed. They also work on selected texts, utilising, and building on, the core skills introduced in Year 7. The work in this module is also assessed for their Record of Achievement.
In Year 9 the pupils study the monologue, poetry and more complex scripted drama, which introduces them to some of the skills and conventions and practical skills required for GCSE. The nature of the tasks set in Year 9 allow the pupils to demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to Drama if they intend to opt for it at GCSE.
At GCSE, students study the AQA exam syllabus. Sixty percent of the course is based on the assessment of practical skills, which include devised drama and scripted presentations. The coursework element also involves the production of a log booklet, where the pupils have to keep a written record of the practical devising process. The remaining forty percent of the course consists of a written examination, where pupils are assessed on their knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre. They are required to study a set play practically, and they have to visit the theatre at least four times over the course of the two years in order to prepare for the examination.
Students get the opportunity to present all their practical work to an audience, both in Year 10 and 11. These are always enjoyable occasions, which encourage the students to plan and prepare all the design, technical and performance aspects of a real production. It also helps them to improve their practical exam grades.
Regular theatre trips and works shops are organised by the department on a regular basis for GCSE students. Trips are also run for year 9 students annually.
Opportunities for performance in plays is also provided. A production is run annually, giving all interested pupils the opportunity to reveal their talents. The Drama and Music Departments work closely together, so there are always opportunities for aspiring performers.