The Purpose of the Drama Curriculum
Theatre as an art form embraces the technical and intellectual skills of acting, using voice, physicality, space and collaboration. The most significant aspect of drama at The Compton is the ability for our students to see the world from someone else’s point of view and empathise with their situation. In our curriculum this is done through exploring texts, creating original theatre in response to a stimulus and analysing and evaluating the work of their peers and professional theatre makers. The texts and stimuli we teach in the curriculum are ambitious for our students and increase in challenge through all three key stages. We endeavour to bring a range of ‘voices’ into our classrooms through ensuring that our text and stimulus choices represent and reflect the makeup of our school community.
The sequencing of the curriculum (as seen in the long term planning documents) is accumulative and enables students to build their knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge steadily and with increasing depth as they revisit key concepts and theatrical styles and forms. The drama curriculum has a spaced rather than massed practice approach. When revisiting and consolidating prior knowledge, low stakes quizzes and retrieval practice activities are a feature of the lessons as one of the cognitive science approaches to ensure that key knowledge and concepts are embedded into students’ long term memories.
Drama at The Compton is taught weekly to all students in Year 7, 8 and 9 and is offered as a GCSE subject in KS4 and an A Level subject at KS5 (following the Edexcel syllabus).
Key Concepts that Underpin Drama
The three modes of activity of drama are:
Making Performing Responding
The five key strands of the The Compton Drama Curriculum are:
Characterisation and performance skills (performing)
Devising skills, including theatrical styles and genres (making and performing)
Exploration of text – page to stage (making, performing and responding)
Analysis and evaluation of live performance (responding)
Theatrical design elements including set, costume, lighting and sound (making and responding)
What will you see in Drama lessons
Drama at The Compton school is taught by subject specialist teachers in three purpose built black box studios with stage lighting and sound equipment.
Drama is an artistic and culturally exciting way of understanding humanity in which learners explore big questions and themes in active and engaging ways. At The Compton drama supports our students to build vital skills for their adult lives such as team-work, problem-solving, creativity, empathy, confidence and enhanced communication and listening skills.
Drama enables students to learn comprehensively through creative meaning-making, literacy and critical thinking skills. Vocabulary instruction is carefully planned in the drama curriculum, both in terms of pre-teaching challenging vocabulary in texts and in enabling mastery of the key subject specific terminology embedded into the lessons. Key terminology for each scheme of work is captured on the accompanying knowledge organiser. A love of reading in fostered through the exploration of engaging and challenging texts. We explicitly teach the students how to read like performers, directors and designers. The way each of these theatre makers interpret and explore text is different and so we teach our students what specific aspects of the text they should be focusing on to inform their staging decisions.
Our teachers carefully plan the groupings within drama lessons to ensure that students build confidence when working with a range of different learners. Drama teachers are responsive to students’ needs to ensure that higher attaining students are stretched and challenged and that students who face barriers to their learning are provided with the appropriate scaffolding and support to succeed.
Additional skills that we seek to develop in our learners to prepare them for next steps in their education and the world of work:
Oracy Skills - Drama helps develop the confidence that’s essential to speaking clearly, fluently, and thoughtfully. Acting prepares you to speak effectively in public. Collaborative experiences offer opportunities in developing clear, precise, and well-organised oracy skills.
Motivation and Commitment - Drama productions and lessons demand commitment and motivation. Theatre teaches students that success comes to those who are highly committed to the task at hand and who are willing to work together.
Creative thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking and advanced problem solving techniques are used as a foundation of Drama, particularly when creating devised theatre.
Collaboration and teamwork - Drama demands that anyone working on a project is an integral member of the team. The final product could never be successfully completed without every member working toward the same goal.
Respect for others - Team members can only be successful if they share a mutual respect for each other. This is explicitly taught to our students.
Adaptability - To be successful in drama you must be willing to try new ideas, accept new challenges, and have the ability to adapt to constantly changing situations and conditions.
Self-confidence - Drama allows you to develop confidence in yourself. Your accomplishments in drama show you that you can handle a variety of roles, pressures and responsibilities.
What Formative Assessment will you see in Drama
Assessment in drama is systematic, thorough and rigorous. Students’ practical work is the central purpose of Drama as a subject and ‘Take 1 – Take 2’ assessment systems have been developed to capture assessment and progress data. For NEA and exam preparation we use whole class feedback systems that allow us to be more streamlined in assessment as well as personalised feedback which students respond to in dedicated improvement and reflection time (DIRT). We use continuous assessment focusing on the making, performing and responding activities within the curriculum. Teachers provide verbal feedback every lesson and model how to use drama terminology to our students as part of this feedback. We assess how the students contribute to group work, how they know, understand and apply the key terminology and how they develop ideas for performance. We assess how they evaluate their performance in verbal and written evaluations, how they use key terminology to both describe the work they’ve done (or others have done) but also how they use that terminology to describe how to improve their own (and others) performance work.
There are some written elements to the KS3 drama curriculum, these are captured in booklets/folders along with the records of the Take 1/Take 2 assessments. KS4 students have drama books in which they complete activities and practice questions for Component 3. KS5 students have drama folders and are supported to organise their notes and assessments through regular folder checks.
What Extracurricular is available in Drama
An extensive and well-planned extracurricular provision enhances the taught curriculum through live theatre opportunities for all year groups, weekly drama clubs to build specific performance skills, workshops from a range of theatre professionals and an annual whole school production. These opportunities often form an integral part of our taught curriculum and also provide opportunities to build on students’ cultural capital.
Year 7 Opportunities
Year 8 Opportunities
Year 9 Opportunities
Year 10 Opportunities
Year 11 Opportunities
Year 12 Opportunities
Year 13 Opportunities