We seek to nurture, develop and enable students’ creativity and confidence with artistic and technical capability. Through performance and participation, they enhance skills in communication, co-operation and reflection whilst working towards a clear artistic intention.
The identity and purpose of Drama at Fernwood is tailored to our students and community. It is both a pedagogic approach (we teach through drama) and subject in its own right (we teach about drama.)
We believe that Drama should be practical, immediate and engage the emotions as well as the intellect. It is an inherently interactive mode of learning and therefore seeks to develop social skills and personal confidence skills which may be transferred to any subject or future profession. An infinite number of ideas can be taught using dramatic approaches and this impacts the wider school curriculum.
However, at Key Stage 4, our students will be assessed on drama as a craft and theatre as a profession for nationally recognised qualifications and many may wish to further pursue the study of performance. Therefore we must also endeavour to share with our students how to create, perform and respond to theatrical works as well as understand how professional theatre is created.
At Fernwood we believe that striking a balance between these two paradigms is key to provide students with a broad and balanced diet but that an emphasis may also be placed on one of these approaches over the other as students progress through the curriculum.
Aims of the Curriculum
The aims of the Drama curriculum are to ensure that students:
- Create and perform in original drama work, devised from engaging stimuli and using challenging published texts.
- Reflect on decisions made during the creation process, changing or adapting in order to hone skills or more successfully fulfil an artistic intention.
- Communicate effectively with others to achieve a common goal.
- Use drama to address relevant societal issues resulting in a deeper, more empathetic understanding of the world we live in and human relationships.
- Are given opportunities to experience theatre as a cultural event, developing skills to appreciate and critique performance whilst gaining an understanding of how larger scale productions are created and the career opportunities in this field.
All elements of the drama curriculum are supported by a broad extra-curricular offering. The absolute intention is that these work symbiotically, with each reinforcing the other, both in terms of specific understanding and in the development of wider performance skills.
What do students learn in drama?
In year 7 students will work in groups to produce their own original performances. They will develop teamwork skills whilst learning key techniques to make these performances clear and engaging. They will also learn how to reflect on their own rehearsal and evaluate the work of others. As students move through the school they will address more challenging themes in their drama work and begin to learn more about how professional theatre is made.
How often will students have drama?
In Year 7 and 8 students have drama for a single one hour lesson per week for the whole academic year. In year 9 drama runs once per week on a half-termly rotation with music. GCSE Drama groups benefit from increased teaching time and will attend one hour long lesson and one ninety minute lesson per week.
Is drama just practical or is there written work too?
The vast majority of lessons at Key Stage 3 are practical but these will also include lots of opportunity to discuss ideas, share opinions and reflect on performances. Evaluations are often set as homework tasks and completed online. GCSE Drama also includes lots of practical work but reflective portfolios and a written exam are also assessed.
What career pathways do Fernwood drama students follow?
The skills learned as a drama student can be applied to a huge number of further education courses and careers. The ability to work as part of a team to achieve a common goal, present confidently and have empathy for others are all desirable transferable skills. Our students go on to study Theatre Studies at A Level and University or attend top drama schools while others peruse careers which require excellent communication skills in areas such as law, journalism or education.
Do you put on shows?
Absolutely! We pride ourselves on a rich and varied extra-curricular calendar. There’s our biennial whole school musical, the annual variety show, drama showcase evenings, the Shakespeare Schools Festival, Key Stage 3 Drama Club and many more opportunities throughout the year. Our shows are also crewed by Fernwood students so if learning how to run lighting, sound or backstage are of interest then we provide plenty of opportunities to build and apply your skills.