Performing Arts

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Performing Arts

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent" – Victor Hugo

The Performing Arts curriculum at St. Philip Howard Catholic School embraces Dance, Drama and Music. These subjects are taught to every student at KS3. We cover a wide range of topics and styles within lesson with a focus on skills development.

The philosophy that underpins Performing Arts is student centred, to promote interest, in a supportive environment. The students here experience the joys of the process of making mistakes and trying different methods to reach their conclusions. Through being creative, performing and reflecting students build their confidence and have ownership of their own learning. We consciously acknowledge students different learning styles, prior learning, what the next step in their learning should be and their interests. St. Philip Howard students find their work relevant to them and the world they live in. At the heart of it is learning tailored to the individuals learning needs.

In Year 7, students start to develop their basic Drama skills, moving from role play to performance with a focus on communicating intentions to audience. In Year 8, students build on the skills needed to enable imaginative and creative theatre. This is achieved through the use of resources; such as masks, music and lights. Students will develop their group working skills, devising and developing ideas through practical exploration as well as their evaluation and response skills. By Year 9 all key Drama skills will be embedded into student practice, allowing them to develop performance skills with a strong focus on characterisation, movement, use of voice and critical analysis of their own and other peoples work.

In Year 10 & 11, Key Stage 4 GCSE students have seven lessons a fortnight. The GCSE course (Edexcel Specification) builds on the Key Stage 3 course. Students work on a variety of projects where they study plays, playwrights and theatre practitioners and may be assessed on acting and technical skills. All assessment is linear, with written exams taking place at the end of the course. 60% of the GCSE will be assessed through non-exam assessment, 40% through a written exam.

In Year 12 & 13, Key Stage 5 A Level students have at least ten lessons a fortnight. The A Level course (Edexcel Specification) build on the Key Stage 3 & 4 courses. Students work on a variety of projects where they study new plays, styles and approaches. There are many opportunities for performance and students have the opportunity to devise a completely original performance. All assessment is linear, with written exams taking place at the end of the course. 60% of the A Level will be assessed through non-exam assessment, 40% through a written exam.

The Drama department offers a KS3 Drama Club afterschool and G&T workshops during the course of the year. In addition, there is a Whole School Musical Production at the end of the Summer Term and additional smaller productions throughout the year. We also arrange various theatre visits. At Key Stage 4/5 rehearsals are also held for the preparation of practical coursework and parents/guardians and friends are invited to see GCSE/A Level work showcases several times a year.


In year 7, students start to develop basic Dance skills, replicating and building on phrases of movement using a range of different themes. Each topic has a focus on developing movement that communicates these ideas to an audience in a performance-based assessment.

In year 8, students build on the dance skills and techniques learnt in year 7 to create and develop movement content that accurately follows different themes and a wider range of styles. Students are assessed on their ability to respond to a theme as well as their use of choreographic dance devices and creativity.

In year 9, key techniques, styles and dance skills have been taught and developed. Students now use these key skills to create work more independently when working from a theme. Students are able to evaluate their choices, identify strengths and weaknesses and challenge their ability to show original and imaginative movement responses. Students in year 9 will get a taster of what GCSE Dance has to offer, with some areas studied that have direct links into the GCSE specification.


Key stage 4 – GCSE Dance have seven lessons a fortnight. The specification is AQA which builds on key skills that have been taught across KS3. The course is split into two sections – 60% practical and 40% theory. Students study an anthology of six set professional works across the two-year course, which are embedded in the course through Dance appreciation and practical performances. Students are expected to complete a body of practical work through solo and group performances and choreography, all of which are assessed on the evidence of physical, technical, expressive skills, structural and choreographic devices. A written exam is sat at the end of year 11, which covers elements of choreographic processes and performing skills, critical appreciation of own work and critical appreciation of professional works studied.


Key stage 5 – A Level Dance have at least 10 lessons a fortnight. The specification is AQA and looks at both historical and current Dance practices. The full A level is studied across two years and is split into two equal components. Performance and choreography 50% and critical engagement 50%. The students have the opportunity to create and perform in a range of solo and group performances throughout the course. All assessment are liner with the written element of the course which is completed at the end of the second year. This covers students gained knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of two set professional works.

Extra Curricular

The Dance department offers a range of KS3 clubs afterschool from year group clubs and mixed curricular clubs covering different styles.

Workshops are offered to KS4/5 students to help with their continued Dance studies.

GCSE/A Level have open room rehearsal time after school to develop performances and choreography.

Theatre Visits are offered in KS4 and where possible KS3 to give an insight into live theatre performances.

Showcases are held for KS4/5 so work can be shared with parents/guardians throughout the course.

Opportunity to perform at Dance House and Performing Arts concerts throughout the school year.


The Key Stage 3 curriculum focuses on developing students´ performing, composing and listening skills through a variety of activities. There is a strong focus on singing and percussion skills, learning to play a melody line and chords on the keyboard and ukulele as well as composing melodic ideas and song lyrics. With the introduction of technology into the department, students will also be taught to use music software to record and edit their musical ideas and performances.
Students will have the opportunity to work individually and in groups and will develop their ability to lead group tasks, organise and structure their own time. They are encouraged to reflect on their progress to improve their success and productivity.

In Year 10 & 11 GCSE students have seven lessons a fortnight. The GCSE course (Eduqas) builds on the Key Stage 3 course. Students focus on 3 main areas: composing (30%), performing (30%) and analysis (40%). Throughout the course they complete a series of performances and compositions linked to the areas of study for the listening exam, helping to inform their understanding in a practical way.

In Year 12 & 13 A Level students have ten lessons a fortnight. The A Level course (Eduqas) leads students through detailed analysis of set works from across several genres of music. Students also have to develop their understand of music theory through harmonic exercises and composition and perform an extended recital. Students can choose to specialise in either Composing or Performing with a 35%/25% weighting to the chosen specialism.

Instrumental Tuition
We actively encourage students to further their musical understanding and ability by having tuition on a musical instrument. The benefits of learning an instrument include developing new skills, the discipline and commitment to practice regularly and the opportunity to join in with extra-curricular groups; which in turn, helps students to meet new people and make friends across all year groups.

Instrumental tuition with private teachers:
Piano – Julie Horner
Guitar – Richard Rahaman
Woodwind – Ian Monnery
Violin & Viola – Alex Urqhart

We ask that any instruments brought into school are clearly labelled and insured. Instruments can be stored safely in the Music Department during the school day. If we do not currently offer lessons on your childs preferred instrument then we will do our best to accommodate this. Please contact the Music team directly.

Richard Rahaman BA Hons - Guitar, Ukulele, Bass Guitar.

I offer fun and friendly lessons to students of all abilities from complete beginners to advanced levels. Lessons are available in all styles of guitar including rock, pop, blues and classical. Students can learn for fun focusing on music by their favourite bands and singers or can work towards taking a guitar examination. Lessons are tailored to the students´ needs whether they are learning for pleasure or wish to take a more formal approach to learning the guitar.

Julie Horner 07531 088403 – Piano

Learning to play the piano can be fun and rewarding, whether you are a complete beginner or an accomplished player. With over 30 years of teaching experience lessons are adapted to the pace of the individual student. Whether that be learning by Grades (through ABRSM or Trinity Guildhall), learning the students preferred repertoire, or simply exploring different styles of music. Learning to play an instrument also helps the student with independent learning, which is a skill that is transferable to all learning.

Alex Urquhart – Violin and Viola


Ian Monnery – Woodwind

Extra Curricular Activities
There are a range of activities available for students to enjoy out of lesson. These include:
Band - open to players of all abilities from all year groups. This group perform all genres of music including classical works and modern film scores.
Singing Group – a vocal ensemble that sing a range of modern repertoire.
Ukulele Group – a free session of tuition open to all students led by our guitar teacher.
Keyboard Club – An opportunity for students to have time on the keyboards to rehearse their own songs or pieces learnt in class.

Concerts and theatre trips


Performance Opportunities

Whole School Musical

Christmas Showcase

Summer Concert

St Philip Howard’s Got Talent

Assembly Performances

Whole School Mass

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