The KS3 syllabus provides students with the opportunity to work creatively and collaboratively on a range of practical tasks. Through the exploration of key issues and strategies, the subject delivers an inclusive process where learning is accessed within a supportive framework.

Drama at KS3 establishes a framework for the GCSE curriculum as well as providing students with the opportunity to establish key learning skills that will benefit a range of subject options at KS4. Through the process of devising, presenting and evaluating students are taught progressively through a range of topics. To ensure progression students are regularly assessed on their ability to demostrate the following:

  • performance communicates intended purpose, and context effectively
  • an appropriate range of voice and movement is shown with the developed characterisation
  • use of appropriate drama elements and strategies
  • effective collaboration, rehearsal and refinement have improved the overall piece
  • ­­­­­­individual performance is sustained developed and has effective impact
  • individual performance demonstrates appropriate energy and enthusiasm
  • the performer is respectful of others and their audience and is a respectful audience member
  • the performance was well-planned and written
  • demonstrates an understanding of key terminology
  • self-evaluation/peer assessment through the creative process has been effective

How does this look within the classroom?

At the end of each topic group presentations are recorded and a range of skills are identified and evaluated. Students present aspects of the devising process for class evaluation and teacher led assessment. They are provided with workshop files at the beginning of each academic year that includes a section for recording personal target/tracking information (in line with the syllabus descriptors). Self/peer assessment is integrated into the process to support the evaluation process. 

What does expected progress look like?

Learning expectations are clearly defined and outlined on a grid at the front of the student's booklets. Each stage of the KS3 syllabus acts as a stepping stone to the work that follows, enabling students to access key skills within their own level of capability. Assessment is regular, inclusive and encouraging. Ingrained within the structure of the lessons is a work in progress philosophy that encourages and supports each student through clear target setting.

Why study Drama?

If you enjoy:

  • all aspects of the drama process
  • exploring issues from someone else’s perspective
  • working with a range of texts of different genres
  • writing your own scripts
  • playing a variety of roles in different social situations
  • watching, evaluating and reshaping performance
  • the thrill of the final performance

...then drama could be the course for you!

What areas would you study?

You will develop your understanding of the many mediums of drama such as costume, props, lighting and sound effects. Through the reshaping of performances you will gain awareness of drama elements such as climax, anti-climax, characterisation and symbols. These skills will allow you to develop a range of ideas which can be used to produce and perform original collaborative performances. You will also explore technical elements through reviewing live theatre productions.

How do you learn?

You will explore a range of resources which you will use to create devised performances. These could include play texts, music or poems. There will be opportunities to experience a range of strategies to produce pair, group and ensemble presentations. Through building on each other’s ideas in the class you will develop unique performances in a range of theatrical styles. You will work actively as part of a creative team.

How will you be assessed?

Component 1: Devising

40% of qualification
Coursework/devised performance

Component 2: Performance from Text

20% of qualification
Performance of two key extracts

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice

40% of qualification
Written examination 1hr 45mins
Section A Bringing texts to life
Section B Live theatre evaluation 

Where will this take me post-16?

Drama is an excellent foundation for A-level courses in drama and theatre arts or performing arts. These qualifications can lead to careers in the Arts e.g. theatre practitioner, technician and front of house. If you decide not to continue with this subject post-16, then the confidence gained and the skills developed will stand you in good stead for a wide range of occupations where communication, presentation, team decision-making and creative planning have a key role.

A-Level Drama & Theatre Studies

Examination Board: AQA

Introduction and Structure

Course summary

The A-level drama course focus is on the direction and performance of plays throughout history and the critical analysis of live theatre seen on stage. One of the main appeals of the subject is the emphasis on group activities, so the learning takes place through the shared experience of watching theatre and of making drama as part of a group.

Component 1: drama and theatre

Written three hour exam: 40% of the A-level/80 marks

  • Section A: one question from a choice on one of the set plays/25 marks
  • Section B: one two part question on a given extract from one of the set plays/25 marks
  • Section C: one question on the work of theatre makers in a single live performance/30 marks

Component 2: creating original drama

30% of the A-level: working notebook/40 marks; devised performance/20 marks

  • Process of creating devised drama
  • Performance of devised drama (students may contribute as performer, designer or director). Devised piece must be influenced by the work and methodologies of one prescribed practitioner.

Component 3: making theatre

30% of the A-level: performance of extract/40 marks; reflective report/20 marks

  • Practical exploration and interpretation of three extracts, to be performed as a final assessed piece (students may contribute as performer, designer or director). 
  • Reflective report analysing and evaluating theatrical interpretation of all three extracts

Careers and Progression

A‐level drama and theatre studies is useful for students considering Higher Education in any arts or humanities subject including English language and literature, journalism, dance, music, art and design, and media studies. Career opportunities for students who study A‐level drama and theatre studies include arts/theatre administration, arts journalism, director, actor, designer, playwright, stage management, theatre management, theatrical agent, technician, broadcasting, media presenting, education, drama therapy and scriptwriting.

Entrance Requirements

Minimum requirement: 6 GCSEs Grades 9-4 (or equivalent), including Grade 4 or above in English and maths

Strongly recommended: Grade 5 in English

Recommended: Grade 5 in drama



Working towards: attempts to work collaboratively in groups to explore a range of techniques and strategies for different purposes

On target: contributes creative ideas and implements them during the collaborative process and group work

Above target: is a key player in the implementation and staging process, supporting and steering group work


Working towards: attempts to develop credible characterisations with focus and sustained commitment and clear projection

On target: adds depth to the characterisation through the considered process of creating a back story and adding details through tone, gesture and movement

Above target: develops well-rounded characterisations through an assured and considered rehearsal process, building on the strategies explored in the devising process


Working towards: attempts to discuss the themes or issues in the drama and consider alternative ideas

On target: contributes to the analysis, the devising process, responding to the ideas of others

Above target: contributes key concepts to the collaboration process and reiterate the process during feedback



Working towards: attempts to understand how drama is constructed by exploring the medium and key elements

On target: breaks down the drama through the staging process shaping key aspects through the sustained exploration of the medium and key elements

Above target: improves and refines the construction process indicating how this impacts on implied meaning, through the exploration of the medium and key elements.


Working towards: attempts to organise a short presentation and performance reflecting a key dramatic purpose

On target: presents an assured, well-shaped production and coherent performance reflecting a key dramatic purpose

Above target: adds depth to the production through clever staging techniques or use of subtext to enhance the production and performance style


Working towards: attempts to compare different interpretations of the same text or concept by exploring the staging process

On target: analyses different interpretations reflecting on how key staging and performance elements can shape dramatic emphasis

Above target: uses key technical terms in context when comparing differing dramatic interpretations



Working towards: attempts to create performances for different audiences and purposes using various genres, styles and traditions

On target: explores a range of genres, styles and traditions that sit well in their dramatic context, reflecting this understanding through solid performances

Above target: contributes key staging and performance elements, adding details to enhance and adapt a range of genres, styles and traditions to devise a unique production


Working towards: ttempts to use appropriate theatrical devices and technical effects to establish atmosphere and enhance the form of the production

On target: recognises the work of a key practitioner and incorporates their performance style into the devising process

Above target: conveys a perceptive understanding of the work of a key practitioner and explore the dramatic relevance of their style through the devising process


Working towards: attempts to develop a piece of devised work and transcribe it into a scripted scene

On target: refines their work in rehearsal and develop a re-shaped scripted scene

Above target: annotates the transcribed work, exploring the purpose and meaning of the stage directions


Working towards: reflects on how key performances strategies enhance their understanding of the text or theme, using basic theatre language

On target: reflects with insight on how key performance strategies enhance their understanding of the text or theme, exploring their impact on the intent of the drama

Above target: reflects with insight on how the key performance strategies enhance their understanding of the text or theme and articulates core strengths and weaknesses in a piece of work, suggesting areas of improvement

Situated in the centre of the school the drama department enriches the curriculum by providing students with the opportunity to devise and implement the performance process far beyond the classroom experience. The drama club takes place in our studio on Monday lunchtimes when all year groups are encouraged to heighten their presentation skills through team building exercises and short creative projects. Actors’ workshops are provided to support and implement the KS4 and KS5 exam criteria and act as a stepping stone to the requirements facing them at university level. Theatre trips are an intrinsic part of the drama exploration process and the Shakespeare Festival enables students to experience performing in a live theatre atmosphere.