Where relationships are at the heart of the school and
the school is at the heart of the community

Performing Arts and Music

Exam Board: AQA


Subject Overview

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

Students studying 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.

Key Stage 3 Years 7 and 8

In Key stage 3 students take part in four Performing Arts lessons over the two week timetable. There is a focus on performance skills through drama and students are taught the necessary drama techniques that will enable them to devise performances and evaluate their and others' work. We explore topics including: current affairs, adaptations, 911, physical theatre, musical theatre and 'Blood Brothers'. This diverse range of topics ensures that a rounded experience of the Performing Arts is delivered where creativity is at its heart.

Key Stage 3 Year 9

In Year 9 students work as a whole year group and form their own production company, ‘The 9th Degree’. Students work collaboratively to produce three productions over the course of the year, these being: Pantomime, a short film (written by themselves) and a musical theatre concert. Students take responsibility for every aspect of the production from set design to marketing and PR. There are opportunities for all students to decide their role and responsibility in each production enabling them to build a diverse range of skills that will prepare them for the GCSE course.

Key Stage 4 Performing Arts

We follow the AQA Technical Award in Performing Arts course for GCSE. Students are expected to complete 3 Units of study to be awarded Level 2 in this GCSE.

Unit 1 – Unlocking Creativity

Unit 2 – The Performance

Unit 3 – The Performing Arts experience.

Students who pick Performing Arts will navigate through the course either as an actor, musician, dancer, creative designer or part of the technical team. The three units will require students to present ‘a pitch’ to camera about an intended performance, take part in a performance showcase and take a written exam. Students will have opportunities to explore and strengthen the skills learnt in Key Stage 3 that will then, in turn, prepare them for further study in the creative arts.


  • Whole school production at The Mowlem Theatre.
  • Drama Club
  • Purbeck Arts Week
  • Choir
  • Private instrumental tuition
  • Termly performances in Drama and Music
  • Dance Club

In Addition

The Swanage School works closely with the local community and The Mowlem Theatre to ensure that students can experience theatre 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 Performing Arts Department also organise annual school trips to theatres in London’s West End and the Music Department organises regular visits to concerts and music events across the region.


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.

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.

There are lots of opportunities for participation in solo and choir singing, instrumental groups, bands and rock groups and concerts, both in school, Purbeck and beyond.