Our aim at The Swanage School is to enable students to deliver exceptional performances in drama, dance and music.

Students studying the performing arts at The Swanage School are motivated to achieve vocational and academic excellence. There is a consistent approach to showcase students' skills in whatever discipline they choose and we ensure that students receive outstanding opportunities to do this. Our drama studio and music suite enable students to work in a stimulating environment where their creativity can be explored to produce exceptional work.

The Swanage School has a vibrant music department. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the individual instrumental lessons offered by our visiting peripatetic music specialists. We currently have guitar, bass, violin, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, flute, clarinet, saxophone, vocal, piano and drum lessons available. Students can use the dedicated practice rooms in their lunch breaks and after school.

We are fortunate to have close links with the Purbeck Instrument Loan scheme (PILS) and students have the possibility of borrowing one of the wide range of brass, woodwind and string instruments at a very reasonable cost.


Key Stage 3

Students are introduced to the fundamentals of music appreciation, composition and performance, learning about different genres of music, instruments and music notation. They have ample opportunities to learn on instruments such as keyboards and drums and are encouraged to take up an instrument or further their existing interests.

Key Stage 4

For those students who choose to continue their music studies at GCSE, there are three focus areas: performing, listening and composing. By the end of the course, students will perform both as an individual and as part of an ensemble. They will listen to a wide variety of music such as The Western Classical Tradition, Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries, Film Music and World Music. As part of the GCSE, students also compose two pieces of music themselves. The GCSE gives students the knowledge and understanding needed to make and create music individually and in groups, to develop a long-standing interest in music and to progress to further study.

The GCSE assessment comprises three units:

  • Integrated Tasks, where students give one performance and one composition using their own instrument or voice.
  • Practical Portfolio, where students give a group performance and one composition or arrangement based on an area of study.
  • Listening Test, a written examination at the end of Year 11.


There are a range of extra-curricular activities in the performing arts that may be offered, such as drama, music or dance clubs, choir, private instrumental tuition, event performances and the annual musical production at The Mowlem Theatre.

Community Links

The Swanage School works closely with the local community and The Mowlem Theatre to ensure that students can experience theatre and music within the heart of the community. We also have links with The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Swanage Rep Company and Bournemouth and Poole College. The Drama Department organises annual school trips to theatres in London’s West End and the Music Department organises visits to concerts and music events across the region.

Further information

Exam Board: OCR Music