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The North School

Performing Arts

Subject Overview

The aim of the Performing Arts is to provide students with a grounding in the different disciplines so they learn to respond creatively and imaginatively; thereby developing skills and confidence in creating, performing and appreciating a variety of styles and influences in dance, drama and music. Studying Performing Arts enables students to learn and develop lifelong skills that will enable them to become more reflective and independent learners as well as confident adults.



Students will learn how to perform set phrases and apply technical, performance and mental skills to develop their abilities. They will learn how to perform in contact safely and develop an awareness of safe practice. Students will also be taught how to develop and choreograph their own phrases so that they can explore their own creative style. 

Over the course of KS3, students will study a range of units and skills  including; 
  • Basic Body Actions
  • Choreographic Devices
  • Contact
  • Street Dance
  • Cultural Dance
  • Appreciation of Professional Works


The course objectives for Dance at KS4 are to enable students to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of dance as choreographer, performer and critic. The course is split into two components: Performance and Choreography, and Dance Appreciation.

Component 1 - Performance & Choreography 


  • A trio based on the set phrases (approximately 3 and a half minutes). 
  • Two set phrases are learned and performed as a solo (approximately 1 minute). 
  • 30% Overall Grade


  • Either a solo or group choreography of between three to three and a half minutes, choreographed in response to a range of stimuli chosen by the examination board. 
  • 30% Overall Grade

Component 2: Dance Appreciation 

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes 

  • Knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills.
  • Critical appreciation of own work.
  • Critical appreciation of professional works. The questions in the written paper are based on students' own practice in performance and choreography and the GCSE Dance Anthology. 
  • 40% Overall Grade



At Key Stage 3, students will experience Drama through skills based workshops, reading and performing scripts, and devising projects.Throughout the lessons they will develop their creativity and performance skills. 

Over the course of KS3, students will study a range of units and skills  including; 

  • Storytelling 
  • Working with a Script
  • Shakespeare 
  • Mime
  • Devising Theatre


Drama at Key Stage 4 will follow the Eduqas Level 2 Vocational Award in Performing Arts and includes units in Performing, Creating and Performing Arts in Practice. Each unit requires practical performance and written coursework, so students must be prepared to perform to an audience as well as support their practical activities with written work.

Unit 1:  Performing 

  • Students will learn the skills and techniques needed to produce a successful performance of an existing work. 

Unit 2:  Creating

  • Students will learn how to create and refine their own original work in performing arts.

Unit 3:  Performing Arts in Practice

  • Students will learn about areas of the performing arts industry that need to be considered when responding to a commission, and will consider those when coming up with and pitching their own idea. 

Higher Education Links and Career Opportunities



Music is offered throughout KS3 in years 7, 8 and 9, where the main focus of lessons is on the practical application of key musical elements whilst developing ensemble performance and composition skills. Each unit of work culminates in a final class performance and is assessed on a combination of students' practical ability and participation in music making activities, as well as their ability to reflect on their practice and appraise various music styles. 

Over the course of KS3, students will study a range of units and skills  including; 

  • Musical Elements and Ensemble Communication
  • Composition
  • Performance Skills
  • Music in Film & Media
  • Developing Vocal Skills
  • Songwriting


Music is offered as an option to KS4 students, where they will follow the Eduqas GCSE in Music. This course is split into three key musical disciplines;

  • Performing (30%)
  • Composition (30%)
  • Music Appreciation and Appraisal (40%). 

The course aims to develop key musical performance and composition skills and develop students personal management, confidence and communication skills. The table below shows a summary of the areas covered over the two year course for each of the three disciplines: 

Performing (30%)

  • A minimum of two pieces, lasting a total of 4-6 minutes, recorded in the year of assessment: 
    • One piece must be an ensemble (group piece) lasting at least one minute 
    • One piece linked to an Area of Study(see below) 
  • Grade 3 music is the standard level and can score full marks if played perfectly. You can use any instrument or voice, or choose a technology option.

Composing (30%)

  • Two pieces: 
    • One in response to a brief set by WJEC – there are 4 to choose from each year. 
    • One free composition – ANY style you want to write in.

Appraising (40%) 

  • Listening examination: 8 questions, 2 on each area of study: 
    • AoS 1 Musical Forms and Devices (including a set work*) 
    • AoS 2 Music for Ensemble 
    • AoS 3 Film Music 
    • AoS 4 Popular Music (including a set work*)

The course is delivered through a series of performance based workshops, therefore basic performance ability on an instrument or voice is necessary in order to complete this course. 


At KS5 we offer the RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma as a study option to our students, allowing students to progress perfectly from the foundations set during our KS4 course. 

Throughout this course, students have the option to study a variety of specialised performance units, including Music Events Management, Composing Music, Improving Instrumental Practice, Lead Performer and Auditioning for Music, which allows us to maximise student progress through a selection of units that play to student strengths. 

Much like the Level 2 course, the Subsidiary Diploma is largely based on coursework, where students build a portfolio of evidence over time to support their musical progress. 

Students must either have completed a Level 2 Music qualification or be able to demonstrate equivalent musical performance ability to be considered for this course. 

Higher Education Links and Career Opportunities