Drama at Brighouse High School has its own dedicated curriculum time and is an art form, a practical activity and an intellectual discipline. It encourages students’ artistic creativity and involves the understanding of form, genre and style as well as the creation of imagined characters and situations which are enacted within a designated space. Pupils can recreate situations using other perspectives and reach new conclusions. Doing that collaboratively, trusting others by sharing thoughts and being open – and in return being respectful through constructive criticism – is what makes drama so effective in developing the whole child and adolescent. While collaboration is the central principle where all involved share responsibility for the effectiveness of the finished piece in performance, it is exploration and curiosity that are at the heart of the playfulness that drama allows for.
It is also a means of communication through the interactions of Speaking and Listening and the reading and composition of scripted and improvised dramatic texts.
Nationally, Drama remains a subject included in the national curriculum, through English, where drama is acknowledged as an explicit strand. Drama is held in high regard at Brighouse High School and is taught as a subject in its own right as well as meeting the needs of the English curriculum.
The sharing of perspectives with other cultures, ages, genders, races and faiths leads to greater empathy and respect for difference and diversity. Thinking outside the box of our own prejudice or uncritical first responses is also what gives drama its power to liberate the mind.
During Year 7 pupils are taught in a carousel system with technology meaning that that they will work in four or five different areas across the year. Pupils have two one hour lessons a week and work within smaller mixed for groups.
In Year 8 the students received one hour of curriculum drama each week and are taught in their forms groups.
Year 9 take a ‘pre-options’ creative subject and if they opt for drama receive two hours of lessons a week.
Pupils begin the year getting to grips with the basic skills required for successful work in drama: co-operation in whole and small group work, concentration, commitment and mutual respect. Pupils are assessed throughout on their ability to use the key skills.
Assessment in Drama is split in to four areas, Creating, Performing, Responding and Appraising.
The assessment of learning takes place at the end of each scheme of work. The pupils are marked according to the whole school policy and levels are attained using the Arts Council’s Framework.
The department uses summative assessment throughout a unit when completing a performance or devising activity and we provide pupils with regular formative feedback through whole class discussions and through individual student conversations. Pupils are involved in the assessment process from the beginning of a unit. In the early stages of the unit, the pupils are informed on how they will be assessed and what they will be assessed on using a system based on bronze, silver and gold Oscars. Pupils set themselves targets based on regular feedback and make these a focus of their work within a unit.
As pupils progress through the year groups the expectations of meeting their target grade also develop. Our assessment grids are based on the key concepts of assessment for GCSE drama.
There is a wealth of extra-curricular activities happening each week in the Performing Arts Department. We have an annual production which has previously included Little Shop of Horrors, Annie, Oliver, Schools Will Rock You, Grease and School of Rock. A Drama club runs once a week which is currently open to Key Stage 3 students and actors are encouraged to take part in the Performing Arts Department Winter Soiree Event. Many students in school attend local acting academies and performing arts clubs.