Curriculum Intent

At the Dorcan Academy we aim for all Drama students to develop the self-confidence and exceptional communication skills, to enable them to challenge perceptions about the world and about themselves; students explore who they are and where they fit into society. Our curriculum is knowledge-rich, informing the development of skills and enabling students to build the foundations required to be successful in the BTEC specification, further education and in life.

Students are exposed to a variety of styles within the performing arts, including physical theatre, commedia dell’art, abstract and musical theatre; they develop an understanding of how dance and drama are connected and learn to create movement through choreographing their own movements in workshops and rehearsals, improving and developing their drama skills and technique.

In Year 7 students are introduced to basic drama skills such as still image and thought tracking. These skills are skilfully sequenced throughout KS3, in order to prepare students fully for the KS4 curriculum. As well as these key skills students learn about character development through analysis – for example, asking the questions ‘How, What, Why, When and Where’ as they learn to observe and embody different characters. In Year 9, students study the History of Theatre, learn about theatre practitioners and those who have influenced the development of drama skills, for example, Stanislaviski and Brecht; and analyse drama works. Students learn how mood and atmosphere is created; for example, how to create tension.

The Drama curriculum allows for the exploration of topical issues and events; at KS3 this includes the themes of anti-bullying and stereotypes. As students’ progress into Year 9 they explore LBGTQ issues and Racism – and related events, such as the London Riots. For example, students learn about Nelson Mandela and his imprisonment, how it changed him and what it did to the world – developing students’ empathetic understanding through drama forms. Students develop the confidence to form judgements about the rights and wrongs in society and participate in informed debate, developing their oracy skills. Students learn to evaluate professional works and give their opinion as well as make informed judgements.

The BTEC qualification for Performing Arts assesses students on the evaluation of professional works, and their ability to contribute to a spectrum of workshops as well as to respond to a brief in both a practical and written form.

Throughout the drama curriculum students have many opportunities to explore the Dorcan values and virtues; in particular, they will develop and build on the virtues of courage (including confidence) and resilience through performance and evaluation. Students develop team working skills and are challenged to take on personal responsibilities within the team. The Performing Arts requires personal commitment, and self-discipline, for example, when learning lines or practising steps, as well as thoughtfulness and consideration of others they are working with, in order that everyone achieves their very best and can flourish.


In Drama last year, 85% of students achieved grades L2D* to L2M; and 100% achieved grades L2D* to L2P.

What we study – Topic Overview

 Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5Term 6
Year 7Drama basics (7.1)  Drama basics (7.1)Physical Theatre (7.2)Physical Theatre (7.2)Puppetry (7.3)  Puppetry (7.3)
Year 8Tension (8.1)                        Tension (8.1)Haunted Mansion (8.2)Haunted Mansion (8.2)Mime (8.3) ComedyMime (8.3) Comedy
Year 9Introduction to Drama and History of Theatre (9.1)  Hamilton Musical Theatre (9.2)  Practitioners and Stage Design (9.3)  Devising Drama using a stimulus (9.4)  Exploring Verbatim and Documentary Theatre (9.5)  Script Writing (9.6)  
Year 10Introduction to BTECToo Much Punch for Judy (C1)War Horse (C1)Blood Brothers (C1)Component 2 Exploration (C2)Component 2 Recordings (C2)
Year 11Component 3 Mock (C3)Component 3 Mock (C3)  Component 3 Released end of January (C3)Component 3 40% (C3)    

How we assess

Key Stage 3:

Students are assessed through performing, devising and evaluating at KS3/KS4.

Students develop ensemble skills through devising, working with scripts and producing their own work in groups. They have performance opportunities which require them to work well in a team, develop their working memory and choreograph movement to be used in both dance and drama.

  • Students will learn about drama techniques and drama genres
  • Drama discipline e.g. theatre etiquette
  • Drama and technology e.g. sound and lighting
  • Working independently and as part of an ensemble
  • Exploration and development of key skills
  • Improvising, devising, performing and evaluating

Key Stage 4:

What does the qualification cover? The Award gives learners the opportunity to develop sector-specific knowledge and skills in a practical learning environment.

The focus is on four areas of equal importance, which cover the:

• Development of key skills that prove your aptitude in Performing Arts such as reproducing repertoire or responding to stimuli

• Process that underpins effective ways of working in the Performing Arts, such as development of ideas, rehearsal, and performance

• Attitudes that are considered most important in the Performing Arts, including personal management and communication

• Knowledge that underpins effective use of skills, process, and attitudes in the sector such as roles, responsibilities, performance disciplines and styles.

Meet the team

Mr Aiden Roke – Drama Teacher

Mrs Lucy Hodges – Head of Performing Arts

Curriculum Allocation

All students will study Drama throughout Years 7 and 8 at The Dorcan Academy and may choose to continue to follow through to GCSE.  

In Year 7 and 8, all students have 1 lesson a fortnight. In Year 9 students, that have selected to specialise in Drama will receive 4 lessons a fortnight.

Students in Year 10 and 11 that select Drama as an option subject will receive 5 lessons a fortnight.

Enrichment Opportunities

Dance and Drama are highly regarded and popular subjects at The Dorcan Academy. Both subjects are taught in year 7 and year 8 and offered as an options subject in year 9 and for GCSE. At KS4 students can follow the BTEC pathway in either Dance or Drama if they chose to do so.

During the school year, students are offered the opportunity to audition to perform in various shows, including the Christmas showcase and the summer production. Students are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the rehearsal, production and technical elements of running a show. The shows are highlights in the school calendar, tickets sell out fast and is a strong demonstration and reflection of the values and culture at The Dorcan Academy.

The Dorcan Academy
St. Paul’s Drive
Covingham, Swindon
Wiltshire SN3 5DA
Switchboard: 01793 525231
Fax: 01793 431461
Email: enquiries@dorcan.co.uk
The Dorcan Academy is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales under company number 07831414. The registered office is St. Paul’s Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN3 5DA.