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


Exam Board: OCR


Subject Overview

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.

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.

GCSE Music

The Music GCSE focuses on three areas: performing, listening and composing. By the end of the year, 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. 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 assessment comprises three units:

Unit 1: Integrated Tasks, where students give one performance and one composition using their own instrument or voice.

Unit 2: Practical Portfolio, where students give a group performance and one composition or arrangement based on an area of study.

Unit 3: 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:

  • 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 Drama 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.