Performing Arts (Dance, Drama & Music)

Head of Performing Arts: Mrs C Duffy

Curriculum Intent

Our Vision

The Performing Arts are central to our school’s belief that every child has the right to achieve their full potential through a broad and diverse curriculum. All students will find success and growth as part of their Performing Arts education that will support their wider school life and beyond. Students will gain subject specific knowledge and skills in Dance, Drama and Music whilst developing their transferable skills such as teamwork, confidence, communication, creativity and problem solving.

All students have an equal opportunity to engage with the Performing Arts as part of their Key Stage (KS)3 curriculum and further this through a range of courses at KS4 and KS5. As part of their wider school life they have the opportunity to go beyond the curriculum through a wide range of extra curricular clubs, trips, projects and performance opportunities.

The overarching vision for the Performing Arts at Brakenhale is to engage all students in the Performing Arts, supporting their understanding of the Arts and Culture and developing well-rounded and creative learners.

The fundamental aim and purpose of the Performing Arts Curriculum is to enable our KS3 learners to build the basic skills and knowledge required to achieve at KS4 and KS5 in our subjects, through this they will gain transferrable skills and a wider understanding of the world and culture. Our KS4 curriculum aims to support all learners in developing their skills, knowledge and experience in the subject(s) and through this achieving the best possible outcomes and opportunity to progress to KS5. At KS5 we aim to prepare learners for further study or employment in the Performing Arts through developing them as practitioners and exploring their individual areas of interest as part of their qualification.

The Journey from KS3 to KS4

At KS2 students will have some exposure to the Performing Arts, this is very limited and will usually lack a subject specific practitioner. Some learners will have accessed Dance, Drama and/or Music outside of school through private lessons and classes but this will usually focus on one area of the subject e.g. learning how to play a particular instrument.

In response to this our Year 7 curriculum introduces each subject from the very start, building students understanding and knowledge from the ground up. Year 8 continues this journey, building more complex understanding and skills into Year 9 which continues to expand learners’ knowledge and prepare them for KS4. All topics and areas studied are part of a flight-path to enable students to access and achieve when they reach the KS4 curriculum. Topics are taught in a logical order that builds from one to the other, as students progress through the topics they recall and use their previous learning. For example, in Dance students need to learn about action content before they can use dynamic content to develop this. Each topic has its own place in the bigger picture as detailed in each individual Scheme of Work (SOW).

Dance: Throughout KS3 students will learn how to perform, choreograph and analyse Dance. In Year 7 students will learn the four basic elements of dance; action, dynamics, space and relationship. This will give them a basic underpinning knowledge that supports the rest of the curriculum moving forwards. They will explore style and gain context into how dance has developed. In Year 8 they will build upon this knowledge and start to explore more complex skills such as the use of contact work and using a stimulus and theme to choreograph. They will have the opportunity to explore different mediums such as music videos and musical theatre performance. In Year 9 students will start to explore more project based performance and choreography tasks that mirror assessment at KS4, this will draw together and build their skills and understanding from Year 7 and 8.

Drama: Through the KS3 curriculum students build confidence in creating, performing and responding to Drama through the development of performance skills and knowledge. We explore a range of styles, practitioners and technical theatre, providing a well-rounded, creative and engaging curriculum that is accessible to all. Schemes develop other important skills such as team work, communication, confidence, and evaluation. In addition to this, Drama at KS3 is used to explore, challenge and deepen students’ understanding of wider issues, always demonstrating respect and empathy. For students that have a real passion, the drama department offers the opportunity of a whole school show, along with enriching their learning through multiple theatre trips allowing students to contextualise their studies through seeing live theatre.

Music: Throughout KS3 students will perform, compose and develop their appreciation of Music. Throughout the year they will rotate between topics that focus on performing, composing and context, this is to enable them to build their skills and knowledge and start to identify crossover elements as they progress. In Year 7 they will learn basic instrumentation knowledge, note reading and theory that will allow them to progress. They will have the opportunity to start exploring performance technique and working in a group. In Year 8 they will build on this to explore more complex ideas such as constructing chords, using compositional devices and understanding how Music has developed. They will start to develop group work into working as a band. In Year 9 they will use the knowledge and skills learnt in Year 7 and 8 by applying it to topics that require more independence and creativity such as creating covers, film music and rehearsing a set as a band.

Each subject has its own flight-path that shows the journey through KS3, mapping the skills and knowledge or building blocks that will be transferred over to KS4. This includes a structure of levels that refer to the skill and knowledge in both BTEC and GCSE specifications, together with a general guide as to how students should progress in relation to the levels and how this is then converted into the Bronze, Silver and Gold grading. Everything we do in terms of content at KS3 builds into the KS4 courses we offer in each subject.

At KS4 and KS5 we offer a variety of courses in Dance, Drama and Music including GCSE, BTEC and A Level qualifications. Our KS3 curriculum focuses on preparing learners for all these courses allowing them to pick the most suitable option for them. Our KS4 and KS5 curriculums are built around the qualifications, requirements and assessments. Depending on the requirements of the qualification students might be completing coursework units throughout the two years or spend the first year building skills and knowledge to enable the completion of assessment in the second year of study.

Teaching & Learning

We believe that due to the nature of our subjects the majority of the lesson should be about learners working in a practical and independent way – in Music students should spend time communicating using Music, not writing about it. Lessons follow the ‘explain, model, practise and check’ approach. Teachers should be developing the students’ understanding and skills to enable independent practice that can be developed through feedback as much as possible.

In Dance, Drama and Music we feel very strongly that verbal feedback is the most successful way to support and challenge our students to make the best possible progress, particularly at KS3. Students will receive feedback EVERY lesson, it’s constantly happening on either an individual or class level. Feedback will be recorded at different points in the topic/term and uploaded to students’ individual Google Drive folders so this can be accessed and reflected upon (see our Feedback and Marking Policy).

In Dance, Drama and Music we are not simply interested in the ‘final product’ – yes, that is important but equally so is the process. Skills such as creativity and teamwork are just as important as technical performance skills. Feedback will identify this by not just focusing on the final product but when possible the process and the progress of students.

In some year groups and classes students could be completing work towards their Arts Award qualifications, we are continuing to embed this into our curriculum each year as our capacity grows. Students will complete written tasks that will form part of a portfolio of evidence, this is an optional element that allows learners to gain extra qualifications and recognition whilst complimenting what they are already completing in lessons. Students can gain Bronze, Silver and Gold qualifications; the Gold award is worth UCAS points and is offered as an extra timetabled lesson at P16 to all learners.

Dance Image Gallery


School Shows and Performances

2019: Schools Will Rock You

“Wow, what an amazing show!” – audience feedback

Students from across Year 7 to 13 performed together and showcased their musical and theatrical talent. They were absolutely brilliant and we honestly cannot praise them enough! Lunchtimes, after schools, weekends and half term were consumed with all things SWRY and without their dedication putting on this production would have not been possible.


2018: School of Rock

2018: School of Rock

Student of the week: Keir Buist – for being the most incredible lead in School of Rock and for inspiring the rest of the cast

Congratulations to the cast of School of Rock for their amazing performances. The students performed to over 300 primary school children from the local area on before their two evening performances to parents, staff and students. The energy was fantastic and the commitment since September amazing.
Thank you to everyone who came to support the show and all the staff who contributed to its success.