The long-term aim of Drama teaching is to help students understand themselves and the world they live in. Young people are taught the skills to work together to explore things that matter to them, as well as gaining an appreciation of the contribution theatre makes to all our lives. The skills and attitudes learned in Drama facilitate success in other areas of the curriculum and in the world of work.
All students in the first two years at Sir Harry Smith Community College have one lesson of Performing Arts each week. In Year 7, the children are taught to work together as a group; laying the foundations for a new subject and creating a relaxed but safe working environment. During the second term they will be involved in a ‘Wild West’ competition. The Year 8 course develops an understanding of different genre and styles of performance as well as devising Drama from stimulus.
Year 9 students undertake a foundation year of GCSE which tackle collaboratively a series of projects based on a variety of stimuli within the English curriculum. Students also devise their own issue-based drama and experience further advanced dramatic techniques to help equip students for possible GCSE study.
GCSE Drama is a growth area at the college. The course will appeal to anyone who wants to understand the workings of the theatre. Students can study published play scripts and learn to act, direct and design performance. At this level, Drama is also a powerful way of developing self-confidence for students who specialise in other areas. Students follow the OCR syllabus culminating in a 10-hr practical examination based on a student devised performance.
Progression to Key Stage 5 opens the possibility to enrol on the Level 3 BTEC Performing Arts course, where students are given the opportunity to practically explore the three arts disciplines of Drama, Music and Dance. Students can approach certain modules from the perspective of an actor, a musician, a singer, a choreographer, a technician, a designer, a director, a stage manager or a producer. The modules covered at BTEC allow students to take on a role and responsibility for a major performance, devise their own performance piece and develop selected skills with a view to broadening a selected strength from the above options. Career paths from this chosen BTEC would enable students to go on to study Drama, Music or Dance at degree level. Many students have commented on the course’s ability to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, public speaking and teamwork skills, as well as broadening cultural experiences. Its deeply rooted practical assessment projects mean that students are not assessed by means of a written examination, rather written portfolio work and practical based assessments are preferred.
Other opportunities that the students can get involved with are the annual Christmas and Summer Expressive Arts productions and the Talent Show. Theatre trips are an essential part of both our GCSE and BTEC courses.