Performing Arts Curriculum Intent

Our department aims to deliver an outstanding curriculum which allows students of all backgrounds to experience high quality performing arts education whilst having numerous opportunities to experience live theatre and participate in exceptional extra-curricular opportunities. These experiences not only develop their performance skills and theoretical understanding but inspire and motivate students to pursue careers in the performing arts and enrich their time here at Fairfield providing life-long memories and friendships.

We are proud to have a strong careers focus where students experience professional workshops with outside agencies to expose them to numerous creative careers and also boast strong links with post-16 providers and performing arts companies.

Our curriculum recognises the diverse and vibrant community we have at Fairfield and aims to allow students to express themselves through a variety of styles and genres studied in order to proudly celebrate our cultural diversity. Our challenging lessons with a strong literacy focus prepare students for GCSE level and beyond whilst allowing students to explore a range of themes and stimuli such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the American Civil rights movement and LGBT+ rights to promote their wider emotional understanding and aiding them in becoming responsible global citizens.

General Information 

Students study Performing Arts for an hour a week in Years 7, 8 and 9 and rotate through exciting and challenging drama and dance curriculums taught by specialist teachers. The dance units develop a range of choreographic and performance skills whilst developing their knowledge of professional dance and dance from other cultures. The drama units explore influences from a range of practitioners and styles; have links to other cultures, along with topics covered on other curriculum areas; and explores different texts. All work has a direct link with the GCSE courses.


Year 7

Parkour: Students develop their knowledge and practical demonstration of physical skills such as strength, balance and extension whilst taking inspiration from Parkour. As students imagine they are balancing off buildings and travelling over obstacles, they improve both their expressive and technical skills.

Bollywood: Students develop an appreciation of Bollywood and Kathak dance through the analysis of key features and demonstration of the style. Students enjoy this light-hearted, energetic style whilst developing key skills in their physical and expressive ability.

Diversity: Students explore multiple view points including the Black Lives Matter movement through learning set phrases and creating their own powerful choreography. The first section of the dance uses professional repertoire from world renowned Hip-Hop Dance group Diversity and progresses into their own choreography where they can explore the use of props together with relationships and devices to create striking choreography. The final section uses emotive lyrics as a stimulus for movement material where the final position demonstrates all students holding their fists in the air in unison in support of anti-racism.

Year 8

The Car Man: Students learn a set phrase inspired by the professional dance The Car Man which challenges their physical and technical skills whilst appreciating the work of Matthew Bourne, a famous, openly gay choreographer. They choreograph their own phrases from the stimulus of working in a garage and develop the actions, dynamics, space and relationships to communicate this theme.

Carnival: This high energy, fun unit appreciates the work and lives of the Seven Saints of Saint Paul’s and their influence and creation of St Paul’s Carnival. Students physical ability in stamina, coordination and control is challenged as they learn a fast, physically demanding set phrase before choreographing their own carnival style sections.

Street Dance: Students develop an understanding and appreciation of the history of Street dance whilst developing their ability to demonstrate the style. From the ‘Harlem Shuffle’ to the ‘Scoobot’ students will learn key vocabulary and action content of this style and also develop their creative ability to incorporate a variety of props into choreography to communicate school life.

Year 9

The Hunger Games: The narrative of The Hunger Games is the stimulus for this unit. Students learn a GCSE level set phrase based on the well known book and film and develop their own choreographic skill to communicate the narrative of battle and survival. Their theoretical knowledge and practical application of performance skills develops as they choreograph a group piece for performance.

Emancipation of Expressionism: This professional Hip Hop dance is taught at GCSE level and students develop their knowledge of the work whilst learning and developing the repertoire for performance. They learn new styles such as popping, locking and animation whilst developing their knowledge of choreography.

Around the World in Time and Space: Students finish off the year with a variety of workshops in different styles from around the world and through the decades including Capoeira, Gumboots, African, Charleston, Jive, Rock n Roll/ This demanding choreography will challenge their expressive skills in focus, projection and musicality whilst consolidating their knowledge on all of the dance performance skills.

KS4 Dance

Students have the opportunity to study dance at GCSE and through the years, we have seen an increasing number of male dancers within the cohorts. No external club experience is necessary, students just need enthusiasm and a desire to work hard!

GCSE Dance is split into two components focussing on both the practical and theoretical understanding of dance and performance. Component 1 develops students’ physical skills in dance, as well as their performance and choreographical skill. All final performances are filmed by the teacher and sent to the exam board for moderation.

Component 2 develops students theoretical knowledge of dance and students enjoy learning a wide variety of professional dance in styles such as: contemporary, hip-hop, samba, ballet and contact dance. The course is suitable for any student with an interest in dance and those wanting to further their education in dance and/or theatre production.

We regularly enjoy trips to the theatre to inspire choreography and enjoy workshops led by professional companies including James Cousins company, Shadows Dance Theatre and Rise Youth Dance. All GCSE students are encouraged to be a member of the popular Senior Dance Company, Inertia, and perform in a variety of events across the year including our galas, annual productions and open evenings. Our dancers also lead workshops in the local primary schools.


Students are introduced to the key skills within the subject and work practically throughout Years 7 and 8 to build both physical and vocal skills in performance and develop confidence, empathy, collaboration and creative skills. Students will develop imagination by creating devised theatre using a stimulus and develop memory ability and stage discipline in scripted pieces. Students will work as part of an ensemble, in duologues and monologues throughout KS3 developing stage confidence and performance skills.

Year 7

Commedia Dell’Arte and Theatre History – 16th century Italian theatre. We explore and develop physical skills to create comedy using stock characters. Students work in duologues throughout the scheme playing a variety of different characters.

Mime and Slapstick – Students are introduced to Laurel and Hardy and use their work as inspiration to create their own slapstick comedy pieces. They are introduced to Archetype characters, physical skills including body language, facial expression, gestures and physical theatre.

The Titanic – Students explore and develop various key skills including Still Image, Thought Track, Cross Cut, Monologue, Physical and Vocal skills. Students are introduced to the story, research the time period and social classes of the time and work in groups to create devised pieces of theatre.

Year 8

Toy Story – In this scheme students develop their improvisation and devising ability to create short group pieces. Focus on attempting accents and larger than life physicality to reflect the well-known characters is encouraged. Students also work in duologues using scripts and homework is set to learn their lines.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Students continue to develop their scripted skills in this scheme with both a monologue and a group piece.

Our Day Out – students understand the narrative of this well-loved play and develop skills in scripted performance playing the characters of Mr Briggs and Carol. Their vocal and physical skills are challenged playing both characters whilst developing skills in staging and spacing throughout.

Year 9

Blood brothers – Students enjoy developing characterisation skills when playing younger children and exploring themes such as status, social classes and relationships. A variety of workshops help students understand how to use physical and vocal skills to suggest a variety of ages and social class with the unit culminating in a final scripted performance playing two of the most-loved characters from the play.

Devised group project – Students are given a stimulus to work from and introduced to practitioners Stanislavski and Brecht. Using various different exercises, students will then create a group devised project to be performed in front of an audience. They will then complete written lessons to write up their creative process. This is a mock project of Component 1 of the GCSE. Students explore the lives and influence of Rosa Parks and Rubin Carter as a stimulus and have the opportunity to create a piece on LGBT+ rights and awareness.

Set Text – Sparkleshark Students will have a mixture of both practical and written lessons exploring the key themes, characters and bringing the text to life on stage. This final scripted performance allows students to showcase the variety of skills they have developed at key stage 3 including physical, vocal, staging and process skills.

KS4 Drama

Students will be performing in various public performances including the Summer Gala.

The GCSE is split into 3 components:

Component 1 – Devised theatre (40%) In groups of 3-6 students will devise a short piece of theatre using a stimulus provided by the teacher. During their rehearsal process they will use all the performance and staging key skills learnt so far throughout the course and keep a working log. This piece will be performed in front of an invited audience and filmed for the exam board. They will then complete a written essay on their devised project and creative intentions. This component is finished by the end of year 10.

Component 2 – Scripted Performance (20%) Students will be cast in a play that best suits their ability and interest. They will work either with a monologue or in a duologue or group piece. They will use Stanislavski techniques to build truthful and believable characterisations and learn two extracts for public performance. This is marked by a visiting examiner.

Component 3 – Set Text / Live theatre Written Exam (40%) Students will study the set text, An Inspector Calls. They will study the play from the perspective of the performer, director and designer. Exam technique and practise questions will be regularly set throughout the course with a focus on key vocabulary.

Students will have been on at least two live theatre visits in KS4 to best prepare them for the written exam. Theatres visited include The Bristol Old Vic, Tobacco Factory, Wardrobe Theatre and Redgrave Theatre.

Extra-Curricular Performing Arts Opportunities

  • Generate Dance Company (Years 7 and 8)
  • Drama club (Years 7 and 8)
  • Inertia Senior Dance Company (Years 9 and 10)
  • Stages Dance Festival (All year groups)
  • Winter and Summer Gala Performances
  • The Annual Musical Production
  • GCSE Performance Evenings
  • Theatre trips and film screening