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The Performing Arts department is a vibrant, energetic and creative area of the academy. The curriculum enhances the imagination of the students through the variety and creativity of Drama, Music and Dance. The Performing Arts department has been recognised in numerous national and local events, competitions and awards and is a popular and thriving department within Park Academy.
Key Stage 3
All students within Years 7 and 8 are taught Drama once a week. Students study a range of Drama genres, topics and acting techniques/styles over the two years. Some of the Schemes of Work that students study during Key Stage 3 are Pantomime, stimulus, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and scripts. Students will learn all of the key Drama skills needed to succeed in performances, which can also be used in other subjects. Some of the softer skills that students develop include confidence, presenting, teamwork, focus and determination.
Each lesson in Key Stage 3 develops the understanding of Drama with a practical approach. Script reading and a variety of subject knowledge is incorporated within the lessons to broaden students' creative ideas. Students enjoy their Drama lessons and make excellent progress in preparation for Key Stage 4.
Students are rewarded for outstanding performances with ‘Drama Student of the Week’, Merit stickers, badges, postcards and telephone calls home and invitations to extra-curricular trips. The Performing Arts department runs theatre trips during the school year which Key Stage 3 students are able to attend.
All students study a range of music styles, from classical notation and serialism through to the popular music of the blues, R&B and world traditions. Each lesson develops the understanding of musical written notations and theory with a highly technical practical approach. Students have the option to develop their vocal, guitar, keyboard and percussion skills in every lesson. This is enhanced with private instrumental lessons, if required, and from trips and visits to the Academy from a range of professional performers and ensembles.
Key Stage 4
Students who choose OCR GCSE Drama as one of their options will complete a three-year course. This course explores a variety of aspects of Drama from design to directing, but with a sole focus on being a performer.
The course is split into three components. For Devising Drama students research and explore a stimulus, work collaboratively and create their own devised drama. They complete a portfolio of evidence during the devising process, give a final performance of their drama, and write an evaluation of their own work. For the Presenting and Performing Texts component, students develop and apply theatrical skills in acting or design by presenting a showcase of two extracts from a performance text lasting a total of around 10 minutes. Students will study the text in detail, exploring dialogue, characterisation, plot/subplot and playwright intentions. The final component is a written exam entitled Performance and Response, where students explore practically a whole performance text such as Blood Brothers, and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of how drama is developed, performed and responded to. They also analyse and evaluate a live theatre performance which they have seen in Year 10 or 11.
It is without doubt that the GCSE course is engaging, creative and challenging, and allows students the opportunity to let their imagination come to life on the stage. It is vital that students choose GCSE Drama if they have a real passion for performing on stage in front of an audience.
Students are rewarded for hard work and outstanding performances with badges, postcards and telephone calls home. As a department we think it’s incredibly important that students get to experience professional performances and we run GCSE theatre trips throughout the year which students are encouraged to attend.
The BTEC Level 2 First Award in Music and GCSE Music are popular practical courses within the Academy. The main emphasis of the courses is on music technology within the industry. The units covered across the three years are; solo and ensemble performance, careers and personal development within the music industry, computer hardware and software for musicians and studio recording.
The courses are made up of unit assignments of both written and practical performance tasks. This gives the students the opportunity to perform and work in a variety of groups, musical styles and performance spaces within the Academy.
Students are trained to use and develop their music technology interest through working within the recording studio, using the high specification Cubase computer software and incorporating other curriculum areas within their units. For example, creating music sampling and a live band recording for a music video using the department’s green screen and recording studio.
The BTEC Level 2 First Award in Dance and GCSE Dance are practical courses for those who enjoy dancing and want to broaden their knowledge by learning a range of different dance styles. Over three years students complete three different units in which they are required to perform, choreograph and continually evaluate their work. Students are mainly assessed through practical tasks both in class and by attending extra rehearsals. They are also required to keep a log book of their progress and research for their assignment.
The courses are very enjoyable and students not only develop their skills as dancers and choreographers, but also a range of life skills. In order to achieve in this course it is vital students are organised and committed as they plan their own rehearsals and work with others to share ideas and explore new movement.
Key Stage 5
In Key Stage 5, students study the BTEC Level 3 National in Performing Arts (Extended Certificate), which is equivalent to 1 A Level.
This subject links directly to the skills and techniques explored in Key Stage 4. It develops student’s confidence and interest in performance further and in greater detail.
Students will study 4 Units over the 2 year course, 3 of which are mandatory and the other is selected by the students/teachers. There will be 2 externally assessed Units, and 2 internally moderated Units. The externally assessed Units are 'Investigating Practitioners Work' and 'Group Performance Workshop', whilst the 2 internally moderated Units are 'Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance' and 'Improvisation'. It is vital that students are dedicated to this course, as it will require rehearsals outside of lesson time, and also independent study of completing logs, journals and essays.
Students will explore several texts ranging from 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane to Metamorphosis by Stephen Berkoff, whilst using practitioners such as Artaud and his Theatre of Cruelty, and Stanislavski with naturalism. Through developing characterisation, emotions and storylines, students engage and stimulate audiences of all ages.
The Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Music Technology (Production) is a 60-credit and 360-guided learning hour (GLH) qualification that consists of two core units plus four specialist units. The course is equivalent to one A level BTEC. This is a practical course looking in depth at the following unit areas:
Unit 25: Music Production Techniques
Unit 35: Sound Creation and Manipulation
Unit 2: Audio Engineering Principles
Unit 5: Backline Technical Management
Unit 14: Listening Skills for Music Technologists
Unit 26: Music Technology in Performance.
The intention of the course is to prepare students for music college, university and apprenticeships within the music industry. The course prepares students for practical roadie work and instrument building. It also prepares students for working within the music industry either producing, signing artists or publicity.
The Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Dance is a 60-credit and 360-guided learning hour (GLH) qualification that consists of two core units and four specialist units. The course is equivalent to one A level.
This is a practical course which allows students to explore a range of different dance styles. Students will look at different dance techniques and will be required to participate in dance classes and after school rehearsals in order to improve their ability as dancers. They will also be set a number of research tasks to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the key gestures of these styles. Students will also keep a log book recording their ongoing progress and continually evaluate their work. Students will have opportunities in which to perform dances and choreograph different pieces.
There are a range of Performing Arts extra-curricular groups, clubs and events that students across the Academy can become involved in depending upon their interests. These are free and are either run by outside agencies or specialist staff within the Performing Arts department.
Each year students are invited to take part in a whole school production involving all three performing arts disciplines. It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to meet new friends outside of their lessons, improve skills such as communication and teamwork skills and moreover develop their confidence and self-esteem.