Drama is an exciting subject. It provides an opportunity for pupils to learn more about themselves, their classmates and the world around them. It helps them to develop their confidence and learn lots of skills which will help them in everyday life: communication skills, problem-solving and working as part of a team. It is also a chance to express themselves as they learn how to perform on stage.
In Years 7 and 8 our aim is to encourage pupils to unlock their creativity and help them to become more confident performers.
At GCSE level (Years 9-11), pupils will have the opportunity to develop their skills further and produce Drama pieces that they have devised themselves as well as scripted work. These will be assessed as part of their final grade
Though we encourage our pupils to perform onstage where possible, our aim is not only to impart to pupils an awareness of the Performing Arts, but also to empower them with confidence and communication skills which will serve them both in their time at Greenbank and beyond.
Pupils are taught in mixed ability groups and have one Drama lesson per fortnight. Lessons are seen as a taster for pupils but are the main aims are to develop teamworking skills and confidence. Schemes of Work usually have a cross-curricular aspect and the themes are diverse, including historical subjects such as World War Two Evacuation, PSHCE issues such as Bullies and Victims and of course themes based around plays and other works of English Literature such as Shakespeare, Blood Brothers and First World War Poetry. These cross-curricular elements are really beneficial to pupils when studying their other subjects.
Drama is a thriving subject at GCSE and results are always excellent, as pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and development whilst being thoroughly supported at all times. The pupils who choose Drama as an option tend to be motivated and enthusiastic and the level of both practical and written work is very high. The GCSE course is taught during five lessons fortnightly(in Years 9 and 11) and four lessons fortnightly (in Year 10). Pupils follow the AQA Specification during their two year course.
60% of each pupil’s final grade is achieved through Controlled Assessment Tasks (examined practical work). Marks for two pieces of work must be submitted – these could be scripted or devised pieces. Usually we spend between half a term and a full term on each Controlled Assessment Task when pupils devise and rehearse their work in lessons.
There is one written exam paper which will be taken at the end of Year 11 (40% of the final grade). The written exam consists of two sections:
- Exploring how you have worked on devising your own piece of Drama in lessons
- Explaining, analysing and evaluating your contribution to a scripted piece that you have worked on in lessons
It is worth noting that there is a lot of acting involved in the course, and pupils will have to perform in front of other people, including an external moderator. This is not a subject for shrinking violets!
As well as Drama within the curriculum, there are often exciting projects happening beyond lesson time. For instance, our pupils have toured local primary schools with a short play about the transition to secondary school. Our high point of the year though is our annual school production. Greenbank has been producing large-scale musicals for a number of years and typically the productions involve around 80 pupils, both as performers and backstage. We think it is crucial that our pupils’ talents are nurtured and developed and the school production is a fantastic way of doing this.
Miss D Bloom - Subject Leader for Drama