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


Exam board: Pearson Edexcel

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.

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

Students who pick Drama as a GCSE will further explore drama techniques and learn performance skills. They will have the opportunity to create their own work, and look at other people's plays. Issues and themes will be explored and students will learn about different ways of communicating these on stage.

There are three components to the GCSE:

Component 1: Devising, where students create and develop a devised piece of work from a stimulus and perform this to an audience. They create a portfolio to analyse and evaluate the devising process and the performance.

Component 2: Performance from text, where students perform in and/or design for two key extracts from a performance text.

Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice, where students study and explore one complete performance text and watch a live piece for theatre, for an exam.


There are many extracurricular activities in the performing arts of drama and music which 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 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.