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Performing Arts (Dance, Drama & Musical Theatre)

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Airedale Academy's Performing Arts Curriculum Intent Statement


Airedale Academy’s Performing Arts Curriculum Intent Statement

As a member of Northern Ambition Academies Trust, the department ensures that all students have the opportunity to explore their passion and talent for performing arts through an ambitious and engaging curriculum and extra-curricular activities.

Our curriculum is enriched and broad and it fosters the core values of the Trust’s values of Ambition, Bravery and Respect through an empathic understanding of expression and exploration in a multi-disciplinary approach.  A great emphasis is placed on curiosity and lifelong learning enveloping commitment, reliability, work ethic, self-discipline and teamwork. Self- confidence is core to progression as is the understanding of the students place in the cultural, historical and social continuum.

Performing Arts is offered in the curriculum at Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 and works in three strands - Drama, Dance and Musical Theatre. Each of these areas allow EVERY student the opportunity to creatively experiment and explore each discipline separately, whilst building self-confidence and fitness levels. The curriculum offers students the chance to explore their creative skills through rehearsal, performance and technique underpinned by theoretical practice. Performing Arts inspires and facilitates a student’s love for the arts and where necessary, prepares a student for further study at University/ Theatre School or working within the Performing Arts industry. The department works heavily with industry professionals, giving the students actual rather than hypothetical learning.

Airedale Academy’s Performing Arts curriculum:

●      offers a vehicle for experimentation in a secure and supportive environment through emotive and physical responses allowing every student an opportunity to find themselves through the arts disciplines of singing, dancing and acting. 

●      develops skills such as 'thinking outside the box', creativity and self-exploration.

●      cultivates an ethos of continual aspiration by allowing younger years to collaborate with dedicated KS4/5 Performing Arts students in high-end shows.

●      develops skills within dance, acting and musical theatre before allowing students to specialise in year 9 onwards.

●      is led by subject specialists who have worked within the industry.

●       nurtures individual talent.

●      gives access to an industry standard theatre and specialist dance and drama studios.

●      Encourages students to take risks and develop a considered social voice.

●      promotes opportunities across the curriculum for the development of good student health and well-being.

●      Develops an understanding of the creative process.

●      provides challenging learning opportunities for all students within the classroom and through extra-curricular activities such as performing arts classes, school productions, dance shows, and many other performance events throughout the year.

●      prepares students for the Performing Arts industry by constant contextualisation of the possible roles, their responsibilities and the pathways to achieve a career in this field through research and appreciation of professional works. Students are educated to see the big picture, not just their secondary school education.

●      strives to encourage and widen an interest for Performing Arts through theatre trips and experiences, increasing cultural capital and promoting what are  socially acceptable behaviours within differing situations.

●      provides engaging topics that are sequenced effectively, to enable students to build their knowledge and skills over time, scaffolded to meet the expectations of formal examinations at KS4 and 5. All topics build upon students’ abilities in dance, drama and musical theatre; developing skills, devising, choreographing, rehearsing and performing.

●      embeds knowledge and skills by promoting strategies, including: retrieval practice and independent rehearsal.

●      uses recall Do It Now tasks to embed topics and skills to allow students to link theory to practical work. Lessons are planned with time for reflection, checking understanding and working on individual targets.

●      exposes students to an enriched Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary and provides opportunities to embed and apply new vocabulary through the Vocabulary Vault in a sequence of lessons. Schemes of work encourage the use of performing arts vocabulary in every lesson.

●      provides opportunities to develop levels of literacy and numeracy required to access all areas of the curriculum via counting rhythms, reading script / lyrics out loud.

●      recognises the importance of digital literacy in written tasks and provides opportunities for the development of the IT skills within the performing arts curriculum.

●      encourages openness and communication that is nurtured within the department, supporting self-confidence and communication when presenting to groups, audiences and key people in a professional and socially acceptable manner.  Oracy is paramount to the Arts and a working knowledge of specialist terminology is embedded in the learning rather than stand alone. Written expression of self and reviews of others are encouraged to foster an empathic and sensitivity within students.

●      ensures that assessment is extremely clear but not restrictive in all key stages to allow learners to improve independently as well as through verbal feedback. Due to the numerous formal and informal learning conversations assessment is useful, practical and continuous. Formal assessment takes place once per topic and is focused on practical development and understanding. Effective formative assessment opportunities are used to check that knowledge and skills are embedded and mastered, prior to exposing students to new content and skills. Students receive regular verbal feedback and demonstrations of how to improve.


●       Teachers within the department are experienced as educators with a passion and enthusiasm for the subject, and many were also professionals in the Arts industry, allowing a clearer vision to be given to the students of what is required to succeed and how to achieve the standard.

●       Audition process allows students to develop skills in resilience, bravery and ambition.

●       Development and application of skills such as: practical and interpretative, audition, rehearsal and performance are achieved through consistent workshops, classes and performances. We provide vast opportunities to showcase talents to an audience and increase self confidence and skill.

●       Independent learning is promoted, praised, facilitated and expected, improving self and team skills, problem solving and time management.  We actively promote independence and the resilience and bravery that is paramount in the Arts Industry by ensuring that challenge is always present through task and outcome.

●       A collaborative approach throughout the Arts is a strength in the department and highlights creativity and multiple responses to task.

●       Social, moral, spiritual and cultural ethos through the teaching of all Performing Arts subjects are highlighted throughout teaching and learning and Theatre in Education allows for in depth responses to topical and relevant issues within the community, country and world as a whole. British values are incorporated in the teaching as an embodied social consciousness.

●       Our curriculum is underpinned by development of dance, drama and musical theatre knowledge and skills, the creative process, rehearsal, performance and analysis. Lessons are sequenced so that students learn or recap the fundamentals of technical skills, rehearsal techniques and processes, performance and expressive skills.

●       At Airedale we know that singing has social and health benefits therefore we aim to sing within musical theatre lessons from KS3. We follow the model music curriculum guidance by teaching correct technique. KS4 singing is compulsory in Musical Theatre and focuses on correct vocal technique and group harmonising.

●       Dance also has social and health benefits and therefore we ensure the students undergo a warm-up before dance lessons by teaching the correct technique and injury prevention.

●       Students in KS4 will be able to recognise their strengths and areas for improvement and develop these over the course.

●       We are working on our students’ abilities to appraise professional performances from a wide range of styles, genres and practitioners. We expect students to be able to use correct terminology to express their opinions on practitioners’ intentions, methods and collaborations.


●       The school values of Respect, Ambition and Bravery are the recipe for success within the Arts. Students become more self-confident, creative and healthier both physically and mentally. They have greater aspirations and wider geographical ambitions to achieve.

●       Improved mental and physical dexterity -The exercise of repetition and rehearsal when performing improves mental and physical dexterity. Repetition and progressive improvement heightens a cognitive approach of chunk learning and transition linking e.g. In Dance, Learning body movement and gestures helps children absorb ideas better and improves their ability to absorb and hold information.

●       Students are well aware of the demands of the Arts Industry as a future career and are well prepared to continue their studies in the area. Better understanding of Physical technical and expressive skills and appreciation of the arts. Consistent performing enables a high success rate at auditions to attend HE provisions and gain employment in the Entertainment Industry.

●       Students develop strong communicative skills and are confident and appropriate in social situations. Independent and lifelong learning increases the cultural capital in the community and improves the career choices of the student.

●       A creative outlook, 'thinking outside the box' and creativity fosters students who are risk takers and confident to experiment and re- work without fear. Better understanding of Physical technical and expressive skills and appreciation of the arts.

●       The KS3 topics ensure that students are KS4 ready. Due to the revised pathways leading to the BTEC qualification there is a clear transition between the key stages.

By the end of Key Stage 3 (Year 9), pupils will have:

●       developed skills and terminology in three areas of the performing arts including: Musical Theatre, Dance, Drama.

●       developed confidence when performing in front of others and working in groups.

●       gained knowledge of many styles, genres  and practitioners from the industry.

●       engaged with creative processes through devising / choreographic tasks,  working with script / libretto / music and will have taken part in rehearsals, responded to direction and applied appropriate rehearsal techniques to improve their work ready for performance.

●       built an understanding of how production components work together and explored this within a group production project.

●       described, explained or analysed their work using correct terminology.

●       devised or choreographed their own material, demonstrated understanding of the different roles within the industry and different components of a performance. 

●       performed confidently in front of a live audience.

●       developed an independent learning style.

By the end of Key Stage 4 (Year 11) students will have:

●       described, explained or analysed the key features of professional works they have studied.

recognised a range of styles and genres from different historical periods.

●       an understanding of the different roles within the performing arts industry and will have shown their understanding of how the roles interrelate.

●       recognised the different components of a performance and shown their understanding of how they interrelate within the whole production.

●       devised and performed group work using a wide range of techniques, drawing on techniques used by professional practitioners.

●       performed confidently as both a soloist and as part of a group in front of a live audience.

●       developed skills, set individual targets and used rehearsal techniques to improve performance.

●       described, explained and analysed their own development  in an ongoing log book.

●       devised, discussed and performed a group performance using a range of styles with expression, fluency and confidence.

●       studied three professional works and created a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate this.

●       an in-depth knowledge of their chosen area of study (Dance, Acting or Musical Theatre), be able to analyse their own work and the work of professionals and have the skills to create performances in many styles (in their chosen discipline).

By the End of Key stage 5 ( Year 13) students will have :

●       self-regulated, rigorous rehearsal and daily routine.

●       performed multiple roles to a live audience (including unfamiliar venues); playing a number of different roles in a range of styles and genres to a very good standard.

●       performed in all three disciplines of dance, acting and singing culminating in a triple threat performance - Musical Theatre.

●       an awareness of professional opportunities within the industry.

●       Self-awareness of professional requirements ie. physical and mental wellbeing, time keeping, independent learning, self presentation, audition technique.

●       confidence in performance, oration and personal, reflective analysis.

●       developed independent research and life-long learning skills which underpin competence and manifests as a thirst for knowledge.