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Teaching & Learning



The Key Stage 3 curriculum is designed to prepare students for their Key Stage 4 studies. As a result, students will:

1. Explore the Performing Arts Industry by examining the work of different practitioners, their styles of performances and how each practitioner may work differently during the workshop or rehearsal process including an understanding of creative intentions and purposes of different practitioners’ work:

Creative intentions

  • theme, issue, response to stimulus, style/genre, contextual influences, collaboration with other practitioners’, influences by other practitioners.


  • to educate, to inform, to entertain, to provoke, to challenge viewpoints, to raise awareness, to celebrate.

As well as understanding each practitioners’ roles, responsibilities and skills:

Performance roles

  • actor, dancer, singer.

Non-performance roles

  • choreographer, director, writer, designer.


  • rehearsing, performing, creating performance material, e.g. devising, choreographing, directing, writing, refining performance material, managing self and others.


  • physical, vocal and music skills used by performers, managing and directing skills used by a choreographer, artistic director, casting director or musical director, communication skills used to liaise, direct and perform by a choreographer, director, actor, dancer or musical theatre performer, creative skills, such as writing scripts and composing songs by a playwright or songwriter, organisational skills used to put on a performance by a director or choreographer.


2. Develop Skills and Techniques which link specifically to each of the practitioners’ different styles, purposes and intentions of performances such as:

Physical skills

  • actions, alignment, accuracy, balance, coordination, contraction, characterisation, communication, dynamic range, energy, expression, extension, facial expression, flexibility, focus and control, gesture, mannerism, movement memory, pace, posture, phrasing, projection, rhythm, relaxation, reaction/interaction with others, stamina, spatial awareness, suspension, swing, trust, use of breath, use of weight.

Vocal and musical skills

  • clarity and articulation, projection, breath control, remembering lines, pitch, inflection and modulation, tone and vocal colour, phrasing, pace, use of pause, tuning, rhythm, timing, following an accompaniment, communicating the meaning of a song, learning songs, projection and placing of the voice, interpreting lyrics, phrasing, musicality, characterisation, expression.

Performance/interpretative skills

  • awareness of the performance space and audience, interaction with and response to other performers, focus, energy and commitment, handling and use of props, set, costume, makeup and masks, emphasis, projection, use of space, awareness and appreciation of sound accompaniment, for example following the accompaniment, musicality, facial expression, tuning, rhythm and timing, stage presence, energy.


3. Perform to a Brief set by the teacher whilst exploring each practitioner which includes an understanding of the whole process followed when creating performance work including:

  • using the brief and what they’ve learned to come up with ideas for the performance

  • choosing the skills and techniques they’ll need

  • building on their skills in classes, workshops and rehearsals

  • reviewing the development process

  • performing a piece of performance work for a chosen target audience

  • reflecting on the performance.


At Key Stage 4 students will study BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts (Acting Pathway).

With the new BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts, our students not only get the chance to perform, but also develop valuable skills and techniques in different disciplines, and explore potential careers in the industry.

As the BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts is a practical introduction to life and work in the industry, our pupils can explore the sector while:

  • developing specific skills and techniques

  • devising and delivering a workshop performance

  • analysing, evaluating and enhancing their skills

The course has two internally assessed components, and one that's externally assessed:

Component 1- Exploring the Performing Arts Industry: Internally Assessed

Component 2- Developing Skills and Techniques: Internally Assessed

Component 3- Performing to a Brief: Externally Assessed

These components build on each other to motivate our students by helping them put what they’ve learned into practice and grow in confidence.

Component 1

Exploring the Performing Arts

Weighting: 30%

Aim: get a taste of what it’s like to be a professional actor, dancer or musical theatre performer across different styles.

Assessment: internally assessed assignments

During Component 1, our students will observe and reproduce existing repertoire, as well as explore:

  • performance styles, creative intentions and purpose

  • performance roles, responsibilities and skills

  • performance techniques, approaches and processes

  • how practitioners create and influence what’s performed.

Component 2

Developing skills and techniques

Weighting: 30%

Aim: develop skills and techniques in the chosen discipline(s) of acting, dance and musical theatre.

Assessment: internally assessed assignments

During Component 2, our students will:

  • gain physical, interpretative, vocal and rehearsal skills during workshops and classes

  • apply their technical, stylistic and interpretative skills in performances

  • reflect on their progress and use of skills in performance, as well as how they could improve.

Component 3

Performing to a brief

Weighting: 40%

Aim: consider how practitioners adapt their skills for different contexts, and put this into practice in a performance.

Assessment: externally assessed task where students work in groups of between 3 and 7 members to create a performance based on a set brief.

To do this, our students will:

  • use the brief and what they’ve learned to come up with ideas for the performance

  • choose the skills and techniques they’ll need

  • build on their skills in classes, workshops and rehearsals

  • review the development process within an ideas and skills log

  • perform a piece lasting 10–15 minutes (which is filmed) to their chosen target audience

  • reflect on the performance in an evaluation report.


Student leadership is at the heart of Creative and Performing Arts at Winifred Holtby Academy. This helps promote independence and increase the level of engagement. In class students are strongly encouraged to develop leadership skills, whether that’s leading a warm-up activity at the start of a lesson, leading their group to success in rehearsals or leading the performance and technical elements, resulting in a student-led curriculum. We also have three CPA ambassadors from Year 11 who help contribute to the leadership and development of each CPA subject in the faculty. 

The Student Leadership Team is made up of 11 students per CPA subject area (Art, Drama and Music); 2 from Year 7, 2 from Year 8, 2 from Year 9 (all assistant heads of subject), 4 from Year 10 (all deputy heads of subject) and a Year 11 who is the head of subject. The 3 heads of subject are led by a Student Head of CPA.


With a BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts, our students are able to explore, challenge and realise their potential. During the course, they can see whether the industry is one they want to be in, where they could go, and gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their next steps. After completing the course, our students can continue on to further vocational and academic study at level 2 and level 3:

  • Studying AS/A Level Drama and Theatre Studies

  • Studying BTEC in Performing Arts

  • Studying BA Hons in Drama, Theatre Studies or Performance Studies (or other related degrees such as Media and Television)

  • Attending Drama School

What’s more, the transferable skills students master during their studies such as self-reflection, communication, teamwork and problem solving will also support their progress in the present and future.

'The Drama Studio has a semi-sprung wooden dance floor, lighting board and stage lights.' Mr Anderson


Through our extra-curricular programme, there will be various opportunities for our students to engage in a wide variety of events as part of the City of Culture celebrations, and the City of Culture’s lasting legacy. Always a part of a never ending story!