Belvedere has a thriving Performing Arts Department and is continually seeking to develop, grow and nurture young performers, preparing them for the journey of life.
Pupils are encouraged and taught how to build confidence through performance, develop skills in speaking and listening and how to work effectively in a group. This makes a positive contribution to their growth as responsible young citizens both within our school and wider community.
The Drama department offers an extensive and varied curriculum where themes, issues and ideas are explored creatively. From Year 7 the department aims to teach basic performance skills which will be built on throughout each Key Stage, developing a rich and detailed understanding of both the theory and practical aspects of the discipline. Enrichment activities also serve to enhance pupils' school experience, extend their knowledge of theatre and develop their skills in drama. We run improvisation, script-writing and podcasting workshops to name but a few and regularly go on theatre trips (local and national), and host visits from theatre companies with talks by actors, directors and designers from the industry. Performances and lessons take place in the Drama studio (opened in July 2010), Dance Studio and Gymnasium. All spaces allow for exciting Drama lessons to take place and the studio contains state-of the art lighting and sound equipment that allow pupils to create expressive, theatrical effects within their drama.
- The Belvedere Academy Drama Department will provide its young people at all key stages with a Drama education based upon specialist knowledge and training within the subject and raise the standards of attainment by pupils, confidence of staff and the profile of the subject across the school.
- Offer support and training to staff so that they are kept abreast of current trends and movements.
- Provide its young people with the creative as well as the personal skills needed to move successfully into employment, further training or further education according to their individual abilities, aptitudes and ambitions.
As teachers of Drama at The Belvedere Academy we aim to deliver a curriculum that:
- Stimulates lasting pupil curiosity, interest and enjoyment of Drama.
- Creates an atmosphere where pupils wish to learn, as they are active participants in it.
- Enables pupils to become familiar with a body of knowledge, principles, skills, techniques/conventions and vocabulary related to Drama.
- Uses processes and a variety of mechanisms that contribute to pupils overall education and their personal, social, moral, spiritual and cultural development.
- Provides, additional to subject specific knowledge, skills that will improve chances of employment.
- Provides pupils with the opportunity to work independently and as part of a team on varied activities.
- Will contribute to the development of core skills such as reading, writing and speaking and listening, therefore being directly supportive of the English National Curriculum and Literacy Strategy.
- Uses the entire Curriculum as a resource for our own teaching and in so doing, establish and develop cross-curricular links.
- Uses teaching methods and resources that allow all pupils to have equal access to Drama and experience success and enjoyment in their work.
- Encourages pupils to value others so that issues of race and ability are approached with tolerance and insight.
- Encourages a lasting enjoyment and appreciation of performance literature from a variety of cultures and traditions.
- Encourages pupils to consider language critically and develop the ability to analyse, evaluate and discriminate between its different uses.
- Strives to enable students to transfer dramatic skills to other subjects.
The Two Dramatic Strands
There are two strands to successful Drama education. Learning in Drama and Learning through Drama. It is important that when planning, there is differentiation shown between the two with the emphasis on Learning in Drama which will then enable effective Learning through Drama. Whilst there should be differentiation shown between these two strands, it is important that teachers have the ability to bridge them so that students are in no doubt as to the overall purpose of the subject.
Learning in Drama
- Depends on the teaching and Learning of subject specific skills, knowledge and techniques.
- It relies on teachers having specialist knowledge and the ability and confidence to convey this to the pupils they teach.
- There must be clear, concise and informative assessment procedures, which include systems for setting challenging, quantifiable and achievable targets for learning.
- There should be definitive structures for progressions and attainment, which allow for pupils to revisit skills and topic areas through a spiralling curriculum.
- The curriculum should allow pupils to build upon their existing knowledge as they learn to imaginatively explore the world and themselves through the safety of the Drama environment and its own discreet body of knowledge and skills.
- Dramatic skills, techniques and conventions are centred on the identification, exploration and manipulation of different forms of communication. The subject’s skill base therefore should be viewed as an essential part of a child’s education and personal, cultural, social, moral and spiritual development so that they may become active citizens.
- In all key stages drama should offer pupils the opportunity to learn about their creative potential and how to develop it. The ‘All Our Futures’ report clearly states ‘creativity can lead to achievement in all subjects and walks of life’.
Learning Through Drama
- The nature of Drama education means that the subject has a clear rationale based upon students Learning in Drama, the mechanisms by which they work have the direct result of also imparting in them personal, social, moral, cultural, spiritual and employable skills. Therefore students learn valuable lessons about themselves and their role in society, through Drama.
- Effective Drama teaching will incorporate the use of the entire curriculum as a resource for the teaching of this subject. This then enables the exploration of topics and issues from all aspects of life, and combined with the working mechanisms of the dramatic process such as decision making, problem solving, group dynamics, compromise etc., leads to a greater awareness of the individual which, in turn, leads to self-esteem and confidence.
- Society has seen an 80% increase in the service industry in recent years. It is now the largest growth industry in the country. This industry depend upon its workforce possessing social and interpersonal skills such as the ability to work in a team, communicate effectively, use initiative, be adaptable and creative. The qualities form the basis of how pupils work in Drama as they examine skills and techniques. Their ability to develop these skills is a direct result of Learning through Drama.
Theatre Opportunities and Enrichment
Drama education should include witnessing and participating in as much live theatre as possible as a means to developing pupils understanding and appreciation for theatre. To this end the Drama Department should offer numerous opportunities throughout the year for student involvement.
The Belvedere Academy is a partner school of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. This allows pupils access to a range of performances throughout the year at discounted rates. This relationship with the theatre also ensures that the school is among the first to receive educational material from visiting theatre companies and privileged access to workshops led by Performing Arts professionals. The Drama Department staff are also members of The Drama Teachers Forum, a group which meets regularly to disseminate best practice.
Theatre visits should also be organised to other venues such as The Unity and The Lowry, Salford Quays. There will also be future opportunities for drama visits to various European countries as the Head of Department designs tours for a well established educational tours company. The Department also has working relationships with The Shakespeare Schools Festival and The Clapperboard Project. This ensures pupils have opportunities to create and perform at professional theatre venues around the country and with a range of industry professionals.
Pupils are given opportunities at various times to prepare for and attend auditions for a range of productions and youth theatres, including the National Youth Theatre. Students can also arrange extra advice and guidance on audition techniques and performances for speech and drama exams and theatre school auditions etc.
Key Stage 3:
Schemes of work in line with the English in the National Curriculum
Key Stage 4:
GCSE Drama (EDEXCEL), GCSE Performing Arts (AQA), GCSE Dance (AQA)
Key Stage 5:
AS & A2 Drama (Edexcel)
Mr N. Hill - Head of Drama
Mrs A. Cox – Teacher of Drama
Miss D. Blundell - Teacher of Drama