As a Performance Department we aim to create independent individuals, who can think and express themselves with creativity, flair and confidence.

We believe that three core principles underpin our curriculum and are the key to achieving the highest levels of achievement and personal growth.

Our core principles are:

  • Communication
  • Confidence
  • Creativity

We want our learners to experience the creative world around them and engage in making/composing, performing and responding/appraising Drama & Music. We encourage learners to question and challenge the wider world of performance and explore the professional culture that surrounds it.

We want our learners to develop a love of the ‘Arts’ through a curriculum, designed to excite and engage. Pupils will leave valuing and understanding the importance of Performance, having been challenged and supported throughout their learning journey.

We want our pupils to feel comfortable in being challenged in order to develop perseverance and resilience. Pupils are encouraged to ‘stand out’ for the right reasons when performing, embodying the school ethos “Be Outstanding”.

Performance at Standish has an integral role to play in developing well-rounded individuals, preparing learners for their chosen destinations. Communication and confidence are vital life skills that we foster in our pupils. We encourage learners to have a voice and to listen to one another, promoting tolerance and respect.

We want our learners to develop a life-long love of music by participating in individual music lessons that supplement their understanding. Our commitment to Co-Curricular learning will encourage learners to embrace creativity, communicate with others and experience a full spectrum of performance such as drama, debate, choir, drumming and bands, providing key learning experiences and creating exciting and memorable moments within school life.

We want our learners to possess confidence and showcase their skills in performance at whole school events. It is through Performance that pupils are able to take part and contribute positively to the wider school community, supporting and representing the ethos of Standish Community High School.


The Performance Department is an animated, enthusiastic and engaging curriculum area with passionate and dedicated staff. Lessons are delivered across fully equipped Drama and Music studios by Specialist teachers who are committed to creating lessons that will make pupils enjoy and achieve.

Pupils are taught using a variety of different medium and also have access to music and theatre technologies to enhance and enable their learning and progress.


K Gannon – Head of Performance (Teacher of Drama & Music)

C Heald – Teacher of Drama

B Watson – Teacher of Music

L Holland – Teacher of Music (Temporary)


The provision for Performance is excellent, as pupils are taught the subjects throughout Key Stage 3 and then given the opportunity to opt for a number of different Performance pathways as part of their option choices in Year 9.

The experience in and out of performance classrooms and transferrable skills; both learned and developed; are aids to learning across the school in other areas of the curriculum.

The department continues to develop and improve the curriculum in order to remain relevant, challenge and enhance pupils learning and achievement.

At Standish we also provide a wide variety of instrumental lessons where students can begin to learn or continue their studies in addition to the classroom.

We provide tuition for the following instruments:

  • Brass
  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Piano/Keyboard
  • Strings
  • Voice
  • Woodwind

Instrumental tuition has be paid for at Key Stage 3 but it is free for students who choose GCSE Music at Key Stage 4.

Instrumental Teachers

Mr D Kennedy – Vocal, Piano/Keyboard and Woodwind Tutor

Mr B Grimshaw – Guitar and Drum Kit Tutor

Mr C Mather – Strings Tutor

Mr Buckley – Guitar Tutor

Mr A Thomas – Brass Tutor

Mr D Norbury – Strings Tutor


There is an ever developing extra-curricular programme providing enrichment opportunities that not only develops musical ability but also develops confidence and student’s health and wellbeing.

Examples include:

  • Key Stage 3 Drama Club
  • School Production – Cast and Crew
  • Orchestra (Senior and Junior)
  • Brass Ensemble
  • Vocal Ensembles
  • Ukulele, keyboard and Djembe
  • Free time rehearsal rooms (Supervised by prefects)
  • Friday Night Jam
  • Theatre Visits


Key Stage 3

Year 7

Year 8

Key Stage 4

BTEC Performing Arts

GCSE Drama

GCSE Music




GCSE Drama and BTEC Tech Award Performing Arts are creative and challenging courses, which will engage and encourage students to confidently collaborate with others, reflect analytically and evaluate effectively.  Students will gain confidence to pursue their own ideas, reflect and refine their efforts, becoming critical thinkers and more confident, imaginative and creative performers and/or designers.



Both courses aim to equip students with essential skills that they can apply to their work in theatre; such as a professional actor or musical theatre performer or theatre designer.  Throughout the course, students will use stimulus material in a variety of forms, as well as different briefs, to explore the processes used to create a performance.  Running alongside this, the courses develop skills and techniques, inviting students to apply their knowledge in performances.


AQA GCSE Drama – Assessment at a glance

(3 Year Course)

Component 1:  Understanding Drama (written exam)

·         Knowledge and understanding of drama

·         Study of one set play (from a prescribed choice of six)

·         Analysis and evaluation of the work of live theatre makers

Percentage Assessed

·         Written exam:  1 hour 45 minutes

·         Open book

·         3 sections (linked with a set text and a theatre production)

·         80 marks (40%) – examined by AQA.

Component 2:  Devising Drama (practical)

·         Process of creating devised drama/theatre

·         Performance of devised drama (students may contribute as a performer OR designer)

·         Analysis and evaluation of own work (recorded as a devising log)

Percentage Assessed

·         Devising log (60 marks)

·         Devised performance (20 marks) * Practical work must be filmed

·         80 marks (40%) – marked by teachers and moderated by AQA.

Component 3:  Texts in Practice (practical)

·         Performance of two extracts from one play (students may contribute as performer OR designer) – students can work as solo performers or in groups of between 2 and 6 members.

(Free choice of play, but it must contrast with the set play chosen for Component 1)

Percentage Assessed

·         Performance of Extract 1 (25 marks) and Extract 2 (25 marks) * Practical work must be filmed

·         50 marks (20%) – marked by AQA.


GCSE Drama Practical Options


In the practical components, students can choose to work as performers or designers, or performer and designer – design students may specialise in costume, lighting, set, sound and/or puppets.  Whichever option they choose, students can be sure to gather many valuable skills, both theatrical and transferrable, to expand their horizons.


Pearson BTEC Tech Award Performing Arts – Assessment at a glance

(2 Year Course)

Component 1:  Exploring the Performing Arts (practical & written)

Get a taste of what it’s like to be a professional actor, dancer or musical theatre performer. You will develop your understanding of the performing arts by examining practitioners’ work and the processes used to create performance.

·         Explore performance styles, creative intentions and purpose

·         Investigate how practitioners create and influence what’s performed

·         Discover performance roles, skills, techniques and processes.

Percentage Assessed
30% ·         Internally assessed assignments including a written report, presentation, vlog or other similar evidence * Practical work must be filmed

Component 2:  Developing Skills and Techniques in the Performing Arts

(practical & written)

Develop skills and techniques in the chosen discipline(s) of acting, dance and musical theatre. You will develop your performing arts skills and techniques through the reproduction of acting, dance and/or musical theatre repertoire.

·         Process of creating devised drama/theatre

·         Performance (students will perform as actor, dancer or musical performer)

·         Analysis and evaluation of own work.

Percentage Assessed

·         Internally assessed assignments – Students will present recordings or be directly observed demonstrating their development of performance and interpretive skills and techniques in their chosen specialty during workshops, classes and rehearsal * Practical work must be filmed

·         Students will produce log books, documenting their knowledge, understanding and process.

Component 3:  Performing to a Brief (practical & written)

Consider how practitioners adapt their skills for different contexts, and put this into practice in a performance. You will be given the opportunity to work as part of a group to create a workshop performance in response to a given brief and stimulus.

Percentage Assessed

·         Externally assessed task, where students work in groups of between 3 and 7 members to create a performance based on a set brief.

·         Supervised conditions/3 hour assessment worth 60 marks * Practical work must be filmed as evidence of the process.




Pearson BTEC Tech Award Performing Arts Practical Options

In the practical components, students can choose to work as an actor, dancer or musical theatre performer.


Further study and higher education


There are a huge variety of courses available at colleges and universities that will develop practical skills and allow students to study the academic areas of theatre.  Both specifications provide a sure foundation for students progressing from secondary school to A Level Drama and Theatre Studies.


Transferable skills and other opportunities

The skills learned and developed throughout the GCSE or BTEC courses will be highly valued and useful in the future even if students do not continue to study drama.  Work experience is a great way of finding out if a career is for you – join a drama club or dramatic society to further your acting skills and confidence or find opportunities to visit and work in a professional theatre.


Theatre Industry:

Creative Jobs



Musical Theatre Performer


Costume Designer

Musical Director


Set Designer

Sound Designer

Lighting Designer


Management Jobs

Box Office Worker

Education Officer

Front of House Manager

Marketing & PR


Technical Jobs

Stage Manager

Chief Electrician

Head of Construction

Lighting Programmer

Other Jobs:


Any career requiring communication,

collaboration and presentation skills






If you are interested in either course, please tick the relevant box on the Pathways form.  The school’s Head of Performance will then meet with the new cohort in March to discuss the next steps.



This is a stimulating and demanding course for anyone who wishes to develop their skills as a musician and is particularly suited to those people wishing to pursue a career path in the music industry or as a performer.

Although students will need to learn a wide range of music vocabulary and terminology from the three components of GCSE Music, the emphasis will be on working creatively through the main aspects of the course.

Skills such as self-motivation, listening and appraising, performing and composing will be tested in all aspects of the course.  Independent study and development of performance and composition skills are key to this course.  Students need to be self-motivated, have a passion for music and be determined to succeed.



The course aims to equip students with essential skills they can apply to their work in the music industry; such as an instrumentalist or composer.

It is not a requirement that students already play an instrument and students will have the option of funded instrumental lessons to support their study, as well as opportunities to apply their knowledge in performances.

Throughout the course students will explore music through the ages through both theory and practice exploring ways to perform and compose from a variety of briefs.


  • Area of study 1: Musical Forms and Devices
  • Area of study 2: Music for Ensemble
  • Area of study 3: Film Music
  • Area of study 4: Popular Music.


Two of the eight questions are based on extracts set by WJEC. The four interrelated areas of study will be covered throughout Year 10 and Year 11 enabling students to develop knowledge and understanding of music.


Component 1 Percentage Assessed

Performing (practical)



·         Practical:  total duration of performances: 4-6 minutes

·         A minimum of two pieces, one of which must be an ensemble performance of at least one minute duration

·         30%  – non-exam assessment: internally assessed, externally moderated.

Component 2 Percentage Assessed
Composing (practical) 30%

·         Practical: total duration of compositions: 3-6 minutes

·         Two compositions – one in response to a brief and one free composition

·         30 % – non-exam assessment: internally assessed, externally moderated.

Component 3 Percentage Assessed


(written exam)


·         Written examination: 1 hour 15 minutes

·         Eight questions in total, two on each of the four areas of study.

  • Area of study 1: Musical Forms and Devices
  • Area of study 2: Music for Ensemble
  • Area of study 3: Film Music
  • Area of study 4: Popular Music

·         40%  – assessed via a listening examination by Eduqas.


Work in the music industry:

  • Sound engineer
  • Music producer
  • Composer for stage or screen
  • Broadcaster
  • Television

Work in performance: 

  • Theatre
  • Session musician
  • Orchestral musician
  • Singer
  • Composer
  • Conductor
  • Opera and ballet

Work in education: 

  • Classroom music teacher
  • Instrumental teacher
  • Vocal coach
  • Lecturer in music
  • Music education advisor

Work in arts:    

  • Administration
  • Music therapy
  • Community arts