Because we are "we all come together to learn", there is a strong universal element to our curriculum: we give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
We believe Drama offers students a unique opportunity to develop their communication skills and self-confidence, allowing them to come across as competent and assured in their daily lives. Our subject's skills enable them to be even more ambitious in "who they could become".
We intend all students should understand theatrical performance skills and develop the self-belief to put them into practice live on stage.
Drawing on their reading, and performances, of the work of 20th Century (and other) playwrights, students will develop a deeper understand of how drama mirrors life, and will use that knowledge and their imaginations to devise drama around various themes and topics.
Drama can make a potent contribution to the pastoral curriculum (eg students' learning about bullying/antisocial behaviour). We exploit this.
The Drama curriculum is structured specifically around eight key performance skills that run through every topic and script covered. Scripts and devised tasks get gradually harder and allow pupils to challenge themselves in a number of different ways; with each new task.
Topics are taught in a varied pattern, graduating to become more challenging (from a characterisation perspective) towards the end of the year when pupils have matured and skills sets are well established. The subject-matter is chosen in line with the intent above – eg looking at duologues in Lord of the Flies in Year 7, and scripted performance (in 'Bullying') and devised drama (in 'Antisocial Behaviour') in Year 8
Drama's place within the English Department facilitates obvious cross-curricular links and strengthens our provision for reading.
Extra-curricular work is a core component of our work. A flourishing Drama Club supplements regular whole-school productions and mini show-cases; theatre visits (subsidised for disadvantaged students) are also a key way of engaging students and enhancing their cultural capital.
Students are evaluated by their peers and their teacher throughout the developmental and rehearsal process on a lesson-by-lesson basis. Groups and pairs are asked to share their work most lessons and allow for whole-class feedback and verbal teacher evaluation of individual progress – which in turn affords opportunities for regular evaluation of the impact of our provision against its stated intent (above).
The number of students opting to take GCSE Drama, and their outcomes, allow for a longer-term evaluation of the impact of our provision.
St Margaret's alumni are reputedly confident and articulate. As Drama embeds into the curriculum, this will become even more apparent. Author: T Mulligan