“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
The Cape School Curriculum ensures that all our students have the opportunity for academic and personal development across a broad range of subjects and experiences. It combines equality of opportunity to our core learning with opportunities for students to make individual choices regarding their learning experiences. Acquisition of knowledge and transferable skills are the cornerstones of our student’s progress and we place a high value on building their understanding of community, place and social justice. Lessons and other learning experiences are sequenced to build on students’ prior knowledge, and to ensure that students deepen their understanding of each subject, and the interconnection between subjects and their global context.
Our Curriculum is the foundation to achieving our Core Principles:
- Students leave Cape with high value achievements and the life skills and resilience that provide a platform for future success and happiness.
- We are inspired to work together to research, design and implement highly effective and sustainable solutions to develop and maintain our thriving school community.
- Continuous improvement is achieved through a whole school culture of, and commitment to, creativity, engagement and professionalism.
What is Unique to the study of Drama?
‘Theatre is a form of knowledge, it should and can also be a means of transforming society.’ [Augusto Boal]. We study drama for two key purposes: to develop an understanding and love of the theatre and to develop ourselves as individuals and members of society, developing skills for the world of work and life in general.
Drama is predominantly a practical-based, artistic subject. It is a subject in its own right with its own discipline, history, theory, methods, language, influences and body of skills and knowledge.
It allows young people to be creative, learn key communication skills and unite with others. It develops techniques needed for effective collaboration and independent working, which can help students prepare for all future jobs or careers. Through regular participation in drama activity, pupils can develop creative thinking, self-control, perseverance, confidence and empathy – all character traits worthy of accolade.
Drama offers a safe environment in which young people can express themselves and voice their opinions without judgement; it can also provide some students with an outlet for emotions, thoughts and dreams that they might not otherwise have the means to express. Our pupils are invited to engage with Drama on their level, bringing to the studio their individual experiences and understanding of what it means to be human in order to better understand themselves and others.
Drama is the examination of the human character; it challenges our perceptions about the world, each other and about ourselves. Drama at Cape aims to stay true to this maxim by putting the art of dramatic storytelling at the heart of all that we do.
Throughout Key Stage 3, students are encouraged to create, perform and respond to (verbal and written) drama, the latter promoting: analytical, reflective and evaluative skills. Students are also taught subject-specific knowledge which they are expected to apply to their practical work on a regular basis, thus building up their foundation of understanding in preparation for GCSE Drama and beyond.
The Year 7 curriculum enquires: What is drama and theatre and how is it created? How can theatre be used as a vehicle for storytelling? Students are introduced to the idea of structuring stories and harnessing play through the application of exploratory drama strategies and techniques. Pupils are encouraged to place their mark on the communication of ideas and acknowledge the importance of creating artistic intentions linked to potential impacts on audiences. The concepts of genre and style (Pantomime and Shakespeare) are introduced and students use associated techniques and conventions to explore how these can be created and presented. Text work is explored to encourage the application of performance skills. At the end of Year 7, pupils experiment different stage layouts whilst applying their understanding of drama through the creation of their own piece of theatre inspired by a choice of stimuli.
The Year 8 curriculum enquires: How and why are different genres and styles created? What is their potential impact on an audience? Initially exploring naturalism to encourage more three-dimensional character portrayals, pupils move swiftly onto practitioner taster sessions where they learn about different performance styles and their impact on an audience in terms of what meaning is communicated. Pupils explore a traditional form of theatre (Commedia dell’arte) before learning how to approach a text as an actor. Different theatre roles are then introduced focusing on their influence and impact on the creative process. Throughout Year 8 pupils are encouraged to tell stories through the styles of theatre they learn about, culminating in the following performance brief being given in the Summer term: As a theatre company, create a piece of TIE (Theatre in Education) for a selected audience.
The Year 9 Curriculum enquires: How can we make theatrical storytelling more engaging for the audience? In Year 9 there is a subtle shift from Drama to Theatre. Students return to the playground whereby they explore selected genres and styles in more depth and detail and are given more extended opportunities to devise original work and perform text. Starting off with Physical Theatre, pupils experiment with different theatre companies’ approaches to this style of performance. They learn about the elements of drama in preparation for exploring text in performance. The communication of ideas is viewed through the eyes of the theatre designer and pupils are given the opportunity to consider how semiotics can created meaning for an audience. At the end of Year 9, pupils explore the genre of documentary theatre, focusing on Verbatim technique. This is a great opportunity for the Year 9s to apply their knowledge and understanding gleaned during Key Stage 3 Drama to a final devised performance piece.
GCSE Drama (OCR Examination Board) is the pathway offered as an option in KS4.
Drama at GCSE level continues to encourage our student to work imaginatively and creatively in a collaborative context. The emphasis is on personal development and growth as pupils have chosen to study the subject. They begin to apply their foundation of Drama and Theatre to the challenges of the course whilst also gaining new skills and broadening their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Drama and Theatre. Pupils actively engage in the process of dramatic study in order to develop as effective and independent learners, and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds. The students explore a set text as an actor, director and designer, create a devised performance based on given stimuli, present extracts from a set text and respond to live theatre. The written component mainly support practical exploration.
Throughout Key Stage 3 and 4, cultural capital opportunities are broadened as close links are formed with the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, from skills workshops to theatre visits; from in-house talks to pupils trying out their creative ideas on the Minack stage. The curriculum is also enhanced by our extra-curricular provision including a weekly drama club and the Arts Award at Bronze and Silver levels. Pupils can participate in an autumn term showcase or take part in a Summer production; opportunities are open to all years.
In Drama, our Key (or ‘Repeat’) Concepts are:
- Transferable skills