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Queen Elizabeth School



The drama curriculum at Queen Elizabeth School has the power to develop fearlessness in our young people to help them navigate within our learning community, the wider world of work and their future lives.

The opportunity for students to study a broad and balanced drama curriculum is given to all students at QES, as we understand that the ability to communicate with others, listen, empathise and understand is an essential part of allowing students to succeed into adulthood. 

Students at QES study a broad range of curriculum embracing all of the arts. Within drama all students will be taught to be critically aware of themselves through exploration of key drama techniques including character, key skills and relationships. Students will be encouraged to show responsibility when mastering the different skills required in lessons, respectfulness when watching the performances of others and resilience to make mistakes, allowing them to be fearless in their discovery of skills that will help them in all possible futures.  Students should leave Key Stage 3 with the ability to speak confidently, express their own opinions and value the opinions of others.

The principle aim of drama is to allow young people to have a voice and explore different situations, experiences and the lives and emotions of people who are socially, culturally and historically different to themselves. Drama at QES gives students the opportunity to perform, evaluate and appreciate all forms of theatre. Students are actively encouraged to express their own opinions when creating their own work and taught how to critically appreciate the work of others. No child in drama will ever be told they are wrong, as their opinions are valued, especially as during discussions students are asked to share ‘what they think’.

All staff have high expectations of the students and this can be seen in the high-quality teaching and learning that takes place in lessons. The high expectations of all students is also reflected in our extra-curricular activities, including the Shakespeare Schools Festival, Key Stage 3 pantomime and an annual school production as well as the opportunities for GCSE students to perform exam work to their parents.

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum builds the foundation for GCSE study. Students are taught a variety of skills, both integral to performance and communication, each of which is not only needed at GCSE, but with regard to communication, is essential in all other aspects of study. Students are taught to think critically about their own and others' work and encouraged to fail spectacularly, in order to create interesting, innovative and imaginative pieces of drama.

The drama curriculum allows all students to thrive and achieve, as while we are creating and developing performance skills, we are also developing personal responses to the theatre that is developed and created. Students are encouraged to develop personal opinions as well as learn from others in order to create interesting pieces of theatre. 

key stage 3

At Key Stage 3 we are able to follow our own curriculum which builds on a foundation for GCSE. All students during Key Stage 3 will devise a variety of performances from a stimulus and all will perform extracts from at least one piece of text.

Year 7

Year 7 are introduced to key drama skills and terminology that will be used throughout the rest of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. Skills explored during Year 7 include: The Four Actors Tools, Still Images, Thought Tracks, Character, Sound Collage, Physical Theatre, Mime, Placards and many more.


  • Darkwood Manor – Devised Performance
  • Archie Dobsons War – Scripted Performance
  • Matilda – Scripted Performance
  • Silent Movies – Devised Performance

Year 8

Year 8 continue to build on the key drama skills they developed in Year 7 and extend their knowledge and understanding of these to create more complex pieces of theatre. On top of the skills explored during Year 7, students also look at: Stage Combat, Flashbacks/Flashforwards and several more.


  • Darkwood Manor*  Devised Performance
  • Warden X – Devised Performance
  • Treasure Island – Scripted Performance
  • Pantomime – Scripted Performance

*2021/2022 only

Year 9

Year 9 further develop their understanding of key drama skills developed throughout Years 7 and 8 and begin to apply these ideas, without teacher prompting to create their own individual, interesting and collaborative pieces of theatre. As well as the skills developed in Year 7 and 8, Year 9 also includes: Marking the Moment, Angel and Devil, and Cross Cutting.


  • Blackout – Scripted Performance
  • I Don’t Like Mondays – Devised Performance


Students are assessed at the end of each carousel on their:

  • Making
  • Performing
  • Responding.

Assessments are based on a modified version of the Key Stage 4 assessment criteria for devising texts in practice performances.

Key Stage 4:

At GCSE we study the AQA GCSE Drama Specification (8261). There are three components to this programme of study. 

  • Component 1 – Understanding Drama 40%
  • Component 2 – Devising Drama  40%
  • Component 3 – Texts in Practice 20%

Year 10

In Year 10 students are introduced to the practicalities of the course. Over the course of Year 10, all three components are covered to ensure students have a solid foundation of knowledge for Year 11. Students use knowledge developed during Key Stage 3 to help them to devise pieces of theatre and perform pieces of theatre. Units covered in Year 10 are:

  • Mock Devising – Environment (Component 2)
  • Mock Texts in Practice (Component 3)
  • Mock Written Exam (Component 1)
  • Devising – Social Media (Component 2)

Year 11

In Year 11 students build on the knowledge from Year 10 and Key Stage 3 to build on their exam pieces for performance. 

  • Devising – Internally assessed and Externally moderated (Component 2)
  • Mock Written Exam
  • Texts in Practice – Externally assessed (Component 3)
  • Written Exam – Externally assessed (Component 1)


Students are assessed throughout Year 10 using the GCSE mark schemes and past GCSE papers. In Year 11 the marks for coursework are sent to the exam board for moderation. All other assessment in Year 11 is external, except for the mock exam.


Students have the opportunity to take part in the following activities within the drama department.

  • Shakespeare Schools Festival
  • Film Skool
  • KS3 pantomime
  • Annual whole school production
  • Practical workshops
  • Theatre trips
  • GCSE Performances

Key Skills You will learn:

Drama is about more than just performing, it is about developing students' personal and transferable skills.

These skills include:

  • Effective communication
  • Open-mindedness
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Organisational
  • Empathy.

These skills are developed during our practical lessons, through rehearsal, team work, and discussion. Students in drama need to think critically about their own work, solve problems in rehearsal, be open-minded about other ideas, communicate effectively with members of their group when creating performances, work as part of a team to create work and to support the whole class in performance,. Students needs to be able to adapt quickly to different performance styles and organise their time effectively when rehearsing, empathising with the different themes/people that that we discuss.

Students also develop speaking and listening skills, essential for all future career paths.

Next steps:


  • A Level - theatre studies, law, psychology, English literature
  • BTEC – acting, performing arts, musical theatre
  • Degrees – With a drama qualification you can apply for many different courses, you are not just linked to arts courses.


The list of possible careers linked to drama is endless, here are just a few: 

  • Actor
  • Arts administrator
  • Barrister
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Cinematographer
  • Copywriter
  • Costume designer
  • Director
  • Doctor
  • Events co-ordinator
  • Fine Artist
  • Law
  • Lighting Designer
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Nurse
  • Primary school teacher
  • Proof reader
  • Production manager
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Set designer
  • Stage manager
  • Television presenter
  • TV/Film producer
  • Theatrical producer
  • Wedding planner
  • Writer
  • Youth and community worker

The arts industries in 2019 were worth £115.9billion and pre-pandemic were steadily growing.

The arts industry is one that is not going to be affected in the future by automation, as many of the skills needed require the human touch. A machine cannot apply a performers make up, build a set, operate a camera or perform for others in the same way as humans can. A career in the arts industries is one that will give you a strong future.

Recommended Websites:


 Head of Department: Mrs J McDonald - jmcdonald@qesluton.co.uk