Performing Arts

The Faculty

Miss A Adams Head of Music
Mrs L Collins (Maternity Leave) Head of Drama and Performing Arts
Ms H Whalley (Maternity Cover) Teacher of Drama and Performing Arts

The Performing Arts department aims to inspire students by providing a range of experiences to enable students to fully connect with performance in both drama and music. The department seeks to develop a creative and disciplined approach to the study of the arts, through a combination of practical and written activities. Students gain a knowledge and understanding of both subjects as an art form, as well as developing skills in leadership, communication, time management, organisation, creativity and self-discipline; skills which will benefit them for future career development.  Students have the opportunity to develop their skills as individuals and collaboratively with their peers to create excellent performances. The department prides itself on creating a safe and friendly learning environment with a positive energy to promote creative thinking and give rich feedback to its learners. Students are able to thrive and develop as confident and articulate performers. 

There is a broad spectrum of co-curricular opportunities for students to develop their passion for the arts in a multitude of different ways such as our annual school musical, the SKAMPS Live Event, performing arts events, drama club, dance club, North Somerset dance festival opportunities and choir enrichment.


KS3 Drama Curriculum

In years 7-9 students are taught drama in mixed ability tutor groups or classes. Students follow a broad curriculum within drama studying a wide range of texts, stimuli and skills to enable them to create, devise and develop theatre in performance. Students will learn about the wider world through themes and ideas explored in play texts focusing on either social/cultural, political or historical context. Students are encouraged to work interdependently in groups with a strong emphasis on self motivation; creating onus and responsibility for their own work both collaboratively and as an individual. The drama curriculum aims to inspire conversation, empathy and broadening the minds of the students here at St Katherine’s school. The objective of the curriculum is to build confidence within our young people to have a voice, being subjective when discussing topics impacting them and the world in which they live. This will then enable learners to learn the basis of character and develop key physical and vocal skills to bring said characters to life. With a variety of genres, subject matter and themes; students are then ready to progress into GCSE as effective learners. Topics covered in KS3 include; mime, melodrama, Wolves, dark fairytales, stage combat, blood brothers, who is Michael Stewart? And many more.

KS4 WJEC Eduqas GCSE drama

In years 10 and 11 students have the opportunity to study drama at GCSE level. This course will enable learners to apply knowledge and understanding when creating, performing and responding to drama. Students will explore a variety of performance texts, understanding their social, cultural and historical context including the theatrical conventions of the period. Students will learn and develop skills with will enable them to work effectively both collaboratively and independently. Students are encouraged to be self reflective learners in order to refine and amend their theatrical works. It is a highly practical course with a solid grounding of theoretical study to help grow them as both performers and non performers; giving them the opportunity to work in a variety of jobs in later life. They will learn soft skills such as communication and presentation, time management and organisation with a primary focus on group work. There is a basic expectation of extra rehearsal outside of the classroom in order to be prepared prior to lessons and performance exams; emulating the real world of the theatre industry. 

The course is broken down into three components. Two are practical based looking at set texts and devising theatre. The third is a written exam.

  • Component 1: Devising Theatre
  • Component 2: Performing Theatre
  • Component 3: Interpreting Theatre

KS4 BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts

In year 10 and 11 students will have the opportunity to study BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts. The course enables students to develop their skills in singing, dancing and acting through our musical theatre pathway. Students not only get the chance to perform, but also develop valuable skills and techniques through a variety of disciplines. The course prepares students for work in the industry at all levels. Skills learnt over the 2 year course include; research and analysis, evaluation, communication, discipline, teamwork, confidence and self-reflection. This new course will help the students to gain insight into the many different roles that go into creating a musical production, as well as an understanding of their responsibilities. Students will be assessed theoretically and practically. This is evidenced via video footage of rehearsals and performances, logbooks and research journals.  There is a basic expectation of extra rehearsal outside of the classroom in order to be prepared prior to lessons and performance exams; emulating the real world of the theatre industry. 

The course is broken down into 3 components. Two of which are internally assessed and one which is externally assessed.

  • Component 1: Exploring the Arts
  • Component 2: Developing Skills and Techniques
  • Component 3: Performing to a Brief

Edexcel A Level Drama and Theatre

A level drama aims to engage students through encouraging creativity, focusing on practical work which reflects 21st-century theatre practice and developing skills that will support progression to further study of drama and a wide range of other subjects. The course focuses on the practical exploration of performance texts, including exploring them in light of the work of theatre practitioners. The performance texts that will be studied for the exam will require students to articulate how they would perform in certain roles, design for certain scenes and interpret a text for performance, putting practical work at the heart of the specification. Students will develop a multitude of skills, including collaboration, communication and an understanding of how to amend and refine work in order to make a smooth transition to their next level of study or employment. There is a basic expectation of extra rehearsal outside of the classroom in order to be prepared prior to lessons and performance exams; emulating the real world of the theatre industry. 

The course is broken down into three components. Two are practical based looking at set texts and devising theatre. The third is a written exam.

  • Component 1: Devising 
  • Component 2: Text in performance
  • Component 3: Theatre makers in performance



KS3 Curriculum

In years 7 – 9 all students study music and are taught within mixed ability tutor groups.  They receive 2 lessons per fortnight and follow a curriculum that covers a wide range of skills and musical genres.  Students have opportunities to listen, compose and perform.  They work as soloists but also have opportunities to work in pairs and larger groups.  Students are encouraged to use their voices as well as having access to a range of instruments such as glockenspiels, xylophones, keyboards, guitars, ukuleles and a wide range of percussion.  In Years 8 and 9 students also have the opportunity to use GarageBand on our suite of iMacs to help them with arranging and composing.   They learn how to use MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) to record and how to multi-track record to create larger scale compositions.  Topics covered in KS3 include Blues, bass lines, Gamelan, African music, a 3 chord project and film music.

KS4 Curriculum

In years 10 and 11 students have the option to study music at GCSE level.  We teach the AQA specification and pupils receive 5 lessons per fortnight.  The course requires pupils to develop their skills in performing, composing and listening, with lessons tailored to cover these areas.  Where possible, pupils learn about musical features and elements through practical activities.  The course is academic yet fun and allows students to work to their musical strengths.  The department has a suite of iMacs with both GarageBand and Logic available for KS4 students to complete their composition coursework.  Topics covered include; Western classical music from 1650 – 1910, Popular music, Traditional music and Western classical music from 1910 – present.  KS4 classes are small and allow for a more individualised, personalised approach to teaching.

Extra-curricular activities and instrumental lessons

We offer a range of musical extra-curricular activities with the main focus being the whole school show.  The department builds a chorus and coaches the lead singers for the musical every year.  We also have a small school orchestra, a year 7 and 8 choir, various student led bands and a new brass group launching in September 2016.  We hold a yearly concert called the SKAMPS Live Event along with other performance opportunities during the year.  SKAMPS is a registered charity that supports the work of the music department through various fund-raising events.  We also offer  instrumental lessons on a wide range of instruments in both individual and group sessions.  All instrumental lessons are provided by visiting teachers from North Somerset Music Service.

Useful websites