The performing arts are for everyone at King James and our ambition is to foster a lifelong interest and engagement in the arts with our students. We aim to create an inspiring learning environment to develop creativity, communication, collaboration, and a sense of community. We recognise that the path to excellence in performing arts is highly personalised and that students draw inspiration from other musicians and theatre makers, and their work. This could be their peers or a previous cohort or from listening to and performing music from great composers and musicians and plays from great playwrights and theatre makers.
In music classes students perform, listen to, review and evaluate a wide range of music including the works of great composers and musicians. All our students learn to sing and to use their voices, to create music on their own and with others, to play instruments and to use technology appropriately. In drama classes students perform, devise, watch, review and evaluate a wide range of performance texts including works from great playwrights and theatre practitioners. All our students learn acting skills, how to devise their own performances with others, to perform scripts and how to design for a production. This knowledge and these skills allow students to progress to the next level of creative excellence.
Our curriculum repertoire follows the philosophy that students will study a range of great composers and playwrights, influential performance styles and genres and engaging new works. We strive to offer a breadth of repertoire which is representative of the global majority and celebrates the diversity of multicultural Britain.
We follow a spiral curriculum where we revisit concepts and skills allowing for greater depth as students' progress. This allows students to improve proficiency as well as make links between distinct types of music and drama. Through the depth built into the curriculum, it provides appropriate choices so that, as students develop, they can pursue their own interests. For example, students who take instrumental lessons are encouraged to bring in their instruments to play in curriculum lessons. Tasks often have an element of choice, for example students can choose an instrument and in many devising tasks students can choose the performance style they work in. Our Head, Hearts, Hands philosophy is that students will learn the knowledge theory of units, will experience and learn transferable skills, and will create in a practical way.
We believe that creativity requires great discipline, a growing proficiency in skills and deep understanding of concepts. In music, we teach notation and music theory, but sound comes before symbol, and we do not focus on this theory in isolation. We place importance on developing knowledge and subject specific vocabulary across the performing arts as this helps students to articulate their learning and help them to become more confident musicians and theatre makers.
To view a copy of the Performing Arts KS2-4 Learning Journey click here.
To view a copy of the OCR Drama course click here.
Assessment in Performing Arts
Our approach to assessment looks to equip students to demonstrate their understanding both practically and theoretically. In KS3, students are immersed in the routine of regular performance. Whether that is initially in front of a peer or the whole class, students are expected to gain appropriate challenge that will allow them to develop their skills. This practical assessment is formally assessed once a half term/end of unit and routinely self and peer evaluated throughout the learning journey. There is a heavy emphasis on the power of verbal feedback. Both teacher an peer based, this is practice weekly during class time performances and offers students immediate and high impact formative assessment.
KS3 students also complete a knowledge based assessment at the end of each unit. This non practical assessment supports our learners in the need to demonstrate our knowledge using literacy skills and builds awareness of the written aspects of both Drama and Music at GCSE level. You can view a copy of the assessment material for GCSE by clicking the course link above.