“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ― Oscar Wilde
At Heathfield we provide our students with a broad and ambitious Drama curriculum, rich with skills and knowledge that aim to immerse our students in a range of styles and genres. We follow a structured spiral curriculum across three strands, creating, performance and appreciation. Through this we consistently challenge our students, building on their skills, knowledge and understanding. Methodologies of theatrical practitioners are introduced throughout the key stages to enable students not only to ‘re-enact’ but to shape their own ideas with a greater understanding of the need for style, genre, target audience, intention, and to learn to accept and appreciate different perspectives using empathy.
Regular exposure to drama raises self-esteem and self-confidence. Central to this is the notion that young people with strong feelings of self-worth are more likely to achieve their full potential. With the high aspirations and expectations demanded by performance, drama opens the door to students achieving ambitious standards across many subject areas. The process of performance is very much based on problem-solving within a group, where ideas are shared, shifted, and collated to create a solution. This method of group work is driven by intent and purpose can be applied to an entire range of learning environments. The performance model also requires students to respect each other’s work, opinions, and ideas and in this way contributes to the overall ethos of the school where mutual respect and support is key.
We firmly believe learning is an active process and for this to happen, students must be engaged. Learning should be inclusive as those who are active participants learn much more easily and effectively. Using a curriculum that develops understanding, we aim to promote values and to encourage each student not to only to strive for academic success, but also to aspire to be the best they can be and develop into kind, confident, empathetic, and responsible members of society.
In Key Stage 3, students at Heathfield are introduced to the world of drama and develop their skills in creating, performing, and appreciating theatrical works. Year 7 begins with an introduction to drama, exploring the three strands: creating, performance, and appreciation. Students then delve into the conventions of pantomime, focusing on characterisation through stock characters and exaggeration. The term continues with an introduction to Shakespeare, where students embark on a journey through key themes, characters, and plot devices in his plays. Moving on to Year 8, students explore physical theatre, utilising the techniques of Frantic Assembly and engaging in devising exercises. They also delve into the world of melodrama, understanding its conventions and studying stock characters. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is studied, focusing on the feuding families and main characters. Year 8 concludes with a study of Stanislavski's techniques and a performance highlighting the impact of bullying. Year 9 takes a deeper dive into practitioners such as Brecht and Berkoff, exploring techniques like alienation and devised performance. Students also study the play Blood Brothers by Willy Russell, performing key extracts and analysing plot and characters. The year concludes with a script work unit, exploring different script styles and focusing on performance skills. Throughout Key Stage 3, students develop their acting, physicality, and vocal skills while exploring a wide range of theatrical styles and techniques.
In Key Stage 4, students at Heathfield continue their drama studies and begin working towards the BTEC Acting qualification. Year 10 starts with an introduction to BTEC Acting, where students explore various styles and creative methods. They study professional works for Component 1 and engage with professional repertoire for Component 2. They develop their performance skills through practical exploration of these works. In the second term, students continue their exploration and preparation for Components 1 and 2. By the end of the term, they have a solid understanding of the professional works and their practical and theoretical aspects. The focus of Term 3 is on completing the internal assessment for Component 1, which includes a written theory assessment based on a set theme. This is followed by a resubmission opportunity for those wishing to improve their coursework. Term 4 concludes the internal assessment for Component 1 and provides further time for resubmissions. Students also begin rehearsing their Component 2 repertoire and explore the art of devising. In Year 11, students complete the internal assessment for Component 2 using one of the pieces from the professional repertoire. They also have the opportunity for resubmission. Term 5 focuses on the external Component 3, where students work in groups to create a dance piece based on an assignment brief. They complete a written task and perform for the practical assessment. Year 11 concludes with the completion of the Component 3 external assessment, including written tasks and practical performance.