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


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 and Piano/Keyboard Tutor

Mr B Grimshaw – Guitar and Drum Kit Tutor

Mr C Mather – Strings Tutor

Mr A Morel – Woodwind Tutor

Mr A Thomas – Brass 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 Club
  • Free time rehearsal rooms (Supervised by prefects)
  • Friday Night Jam
  • Theatre Visits


Key Stage 3

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

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 two years, 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

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




·         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)




·         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)




·         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


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.




·         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.




·         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.




·         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.



Component 1:  Performing

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. The other piece(s) may be either solo and/or ensemble.  One of the pieces performed must link to an area of study of the learner’s choice.

* 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.


Component 2:  Composing

Total duration of compositions: 3-6 minutes

Two compositions, one of which must be in response to a brief set by WJEC. Learners will choose one brief from a choice of four, each one linked to a different area of study. The briefs will be released during the first week of September in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken.  The second composition is a free composition for which learners set their own brief.


Component 3:  Appraising

Written examination: 1 hour 15 minutes

This component is assessed via a listening examination.

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.


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.


Eduqas Music – Assessment at a glance

Component 1



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



Composing (practical)


·         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




(written exam)


·         Written examination: 1 hour 15 minutes

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

·         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