Curriculum intent

To have uncompromising aspirations for every individual and for our school to be an exceptional and inspirational community of lifelong learners.

To ensure all students have the knowledge to critically engage with the conversation of humankind.



Through curriculum and extra-curricular Drama we strive at Hayes to create an open-minded and experimental community, unafraid to take risks and explore the essence of human behaviour through process and performance.

Over 3, 5 or 7 years of study, we focus on developing our students’ interpersonal, teamwork and performance skills; developing their ability to communicate confidently, sensitively and with flair. The attributes of the Hayes Learner – Independence, Creativity, Communication, being a Team Player and being Reflective – are explicit in the learning of our students at all Key Stages; as a department we believe that Drama has a vital role to play in the SMSC development of all students.

We expose our students to excellence through a department of experienced subject-specialists, regular professional workshops, theatre visits and in-house productions that always look to redefine the audience’s traditional expectations of a “school play”.
It is our intention that students who leave us after 7 years of study should not just understand the impact major theatre practitioners have made on the arts and society as a whole, but have the potential to be the theatre practitioners of the future.


Key concepts that underpin the Drama Curriculum
  1. Audience Awareness
  2. Characterisation
  3. Dramatic Styles and Forms
  4. Exploring Text
  5. Devising from stimulus
  6. Historical/Social/Cultural Context
  7. Application of Direction and Design


Academic end points
Year 7  The ontological structure of knowledge in Drama in Year 7 is primarily vertical. In the Autumn term students will have explored a tool-kit of practical techniques that they will have been able to apply in the 4 schemes of learning that follow. By the end of the year, students should be able to present in performance a range of stereotypical and archetypal characterisation, be able to present a clear story in a piece of performance group work, create short, rehearsed improvisations and behave appropriately as performers and as a watching audience. Each scheme develops the students’ understanding of how these skills are essential for successfully communicating with an audience and structuring coherent drama. By the end of the year students should be able to use the skills they learn in term one in their practical work with minimal prompting.
Year 8 In Year 8 the ontological structure becomes more horizontal as students are introduced to a range of contrasting theatre forms, styles and genres to which the skills learnt in Year 7 can be applied. By the end of Year 8, students will have practically explored the story and themes of two classical texts - introducing students to two important periods in theatre history, the dramatic features of two contrasting genres, two specific theatre forms and a recent historical event. Students should now begin recognising the cultural and social importance of Drama through the ages. In performance, Characterisation should be more nuanced and three-dimensional, and students should be starting to show some empathy and truthfulness in their performances.
Year 9 In the final year of KS3 Drama, students will have developed both a practical and theoretical knowledge of a range of influential practitioners and three distinct forms of theatre – Physical Theatre, Naturalism/Realism and Theatre in Education. Through this they will have developed a strong understanding of how theatre can effectively combine with other art forms, how to create a piece of didactic theatre for an age-specific audience and how to use extended improvisation to create a naturalistic performance. All of these skills provide students with either the tools they need to move into GCSE Drama, or to recognise and analyse performance elements of other areas of the curriculum at KS4 and 5.
Year 10 By the end of Year 10 students will have begun to accumulate a range of performance or design skills that deepen their understanding of both devised and scripted performance. They will have devised an extended piece of theatre from a given stimulus and the style of the physical theatre company Frantic Assembly, applying their techniques and theories to the work and analysing how successfully they were able to do this. After this they will have explored a scripted extract from a play, utilising the ideas and techniques of Konstantin Stanislavski. Students will have engaged in 2 long term creative projects, developing the ability to analyse and critically assess their work and the work of others. Students will have been introduced to the set text – DNA – and begun to consider how to deconstruct a text in relation to a range of performance spaces.
Year 11 By the end of Year 11, students will have recognised the horizontal ontological structure of the knowledge they have acquired studying GCSE Drama. By exploring Bertolt Brecht as the chosen practitioner for their Component 1 Devised unit and comparing this with their work on Stanislavski in Year 10 they will have observed how the two most influential theatre practitioners of the 20th Century both compliment and contrast each other. Students will have been able to draw on this knowledge when exploring the Component 3 Set Text DNA, developing a growing understanding of how space, form, design and context can impact on a production. Students will have developed the skills to analyse a piece of live theatre in some depth, particularly how the performance and design aspects of a play generate a range of audience responses. Students will have learnt to approach a role with clear artistic intentions, creating text-based performances that are true to the writer’s intentions.
Year 12 By the end of Year 12 Students will have gained an overview of the theories and techniques of a range of influential theatre practitioners of the modern era – revisiting Stanislavski and Brecht and being introduced to Artaud and Berkoff. They will have begun to explore a modern text with the emphasis on developing their understanding of Total Theatre, considering the importance of both performance and design elements. Working in groups, students will have explored an abridged version of a full-length published play, taking this exploration from read-through to performance. This process will have enabled them to gain an in-depth understanding of character, form, context and design, whilst working with one of their teachers as a director will have provided valuable insight into the complexities of that profession. Students will have ended the year undertaking a series of exploratory workshops into the practitioner chosen for their Year 13 Devised pieces, gaining an invaluable foundation from which to develop their pieces.

Year 13 By the end of Year 13 students will have developed a strong understanding of a wide range of dramatic styles and forms, having devised and performed in or designed a self-created piece of theatre inspired by a modern play text and performed in the style of a current professional Theatre Practitioner. This will have enabled pupils to explore current socio-political themes and present them in a challenging format, fully analysed and evaluated in an accompanying portfolio. Students will have revisited their Scripted pieces from Year 12, accompanying then with a contrasting monologue or duologue, demonstrating a high awareness of characterisation and communication with an audience. For the cumulative written examination students will have thoroughly explored the performance and production values of a modern and classical text, creating a detailed production concept from each that fully incorporates each text’s historical, social and cultural context. Alongside this they will have explored and analysed a current professional production in relation to its impact on a modern audience. Whether focusing on performance or design, students will have accumulated a thorough practical, theoretical and discursive knowledge of how theatre historically influences, engages with and provides a voice for different cultures, communities and social movements.


Click here visualise the Drama learner journey


What will you see in Drama lessons?

Students in all Key Stages predominantly work practically in lessons, At KS3 this is mostly small-scale group or pair tasks, which are shared, with feedback from teacher and peers. At KS4 and 5 students are often working on long-term devising or scripted projects, with continuous teacher feedback.

Work on set texts also often takes a practical format, but students at KS4 and 5 regularly work in groups analysing text and characters and exploring possibilities for set, lighting, sound and costume design.
Once the practical element of KS4 and 5 Drama is completed, students spend lesson time preparing and practicing short and long answer essay questions for their written examinations.


What evidence of learning will you see in Drama?

At Key Stage Three the learning is evidenced by the growing confidence of the students. As the year/years progress you will see students using skills they have learnt without prompting and demonstrating increasing ability to improvise and develop characters with flair.
In Years 10 and 11 when students are working on group performance pieces, each group will have a rolling feedback document which their teacher will regularly update. When acted on, feedback can be ticked off and commented on by the group.
In Years 12 and 13 students are working closely with their teachers to create both their scripted and devised pieces of work. The learning in the former can be seen through the manner in which students take the direction of their teachers, whilst with the latter the learning is more student led, with the teachers taking on more of a facilitator role.


What formative assessment will you see in Drama?

At KS3 formative assessment can be seen in practical assessment opportunities at the end of each SOL. Students are marked individually and marks cover Skills, Concepts and Knowledge each half term, which when added to a mark for each unit’s written evaluation, make up a percentage mark for each half-term.

At KS4 and 5 formative assessment is ongoing in the practical units, with regular “work in progress” showings that are given extensive feedback from both teacher and peers.


What is the department currently reading and why?

Imagining the Real – Towards a new Theory of drama in education, by David Davis. Davis addresses the issues facing Drama education today, stripping back the wealth of material and looking at the basics everyone should adopt – this book has been influential in our drive for a coherent curriculum.

IN SEARCH: Reimagining What It Means To Be A Teacher, by Daniel Shindler.

A more universal book about revisiting the principles that made us teachers in the first place! As an experienced department we wanted to read something to keep us from getting jaded!



We aim to provide opportunities for all through our extra-curricular programme. For KS3 students we have two after school clubs, one for Year 7s to develop their improvisation skills and build on the techniques they have learnt in lessons with students from outside their class, and a more project-oriented film acting club for Year 8 and 9 students, where the emphasis is on devising pieces and creating a filmed end-product. Although both clubs are overseen by teaching staff the content is delivered by our Year 13 Drama prefects, who are chosen from our A Level Drama students.

Open auditions are held for our Main School production every year, which rehearses twice weekly from October through to March, when the show is performed. We normally have a cast of around 40 students from Years 10-13. The mission statement of Hayes School Productions is “to produce theatre that alters the perception of the “school play” and challenges cast and audience alike”. This is reflected in the range of texts we have performed over the last decade and the innovative ways in which we have used the school hall as a performance space!
The House Drama competition was launched in 2012 and provides a truly vertical student experience, with performers in Years 7-9 and directors in Years 10-13. Open to all students in KS3, the competition regularly involves over 100 students from across the school.


Click here to view the Drama Curriculum map