Expressive Arts

Art, Music and Drama are the subject areas that co-ordinate together to form the Expressive Arts Faculty. Miss Cassells heads the Music Department, with Mrs Bateman leading the Art Department supported by Miss Britton and Mr Holmes. Ms Ratcliffe leads the Drama Department. Additional support is given to the team by Ms Oliver.


The Art Dept

In Art pupils are taught a series of skills to enable them to work creatively with many different materials.

A diverse range of artforms are shown to enable pupils to have a wider outlook on art, how it can be made and express an opinion about types of work.

All projects are formed around four assessment areas, strands that run from year seven to year eleven at GCSE.

Put simply these four areas are to Explore, Record, Analyse and Present.

The four areas of assessment are a constant throughout key stage three, with key skills and formal assessment pieces being at the heart of their work.

Students are helped and shown examples and techniques through demonstration. Staff give constant verbal feedback and support throughout the projects in order to raise confidence. Formal assessments are made at the end of each term in Key Stage Three

Students that continue the subject into GCSE have normally achieved  self direction and independence to aid their work and skills. As a department, we foster the following skills:

Strong drawing ability

Creative thinking

Exploring materials and risk taking



Curriculum Overview – Key Stage 3

Please insert my curriculum map here.

GCSE Courses

The GCSE course is Art and Design, enabling pupils to explore a wide range of media.

Pupils begin the course with a month of core skills to refresh their prior learning and build confidence.

Currently the three projects we offer are Nature, Identity and Africa.

These projects become increasingly more individual as the course progresses, allowing pupils the independence needed to perform well in the final exam project.

Over the course we covers drawing and painting, clay, Photoshop, etching, fused glass and many other art material exploration.

Most of our work is formed around developing a strong and exciting sketchbook, the source of our ideas, research investigations and planning.

Homework / Independent Learning

Homework in lower school is based on the theme we are studying, usually one task per half term.  Pupils are encouraged to bring in some of their home art or attend art club to catch up on missed work or if extra time is needed.

At GCSE homework is more demanding, requiring each student to spend at least an hour on a variety of tasks set that feed into our current project work.

Extra-curricular and Enrichment Opportunities

All pupils are invited to attend lunchtime art clubs, times that they can catch up on work or create something new of their own.

After school each Thursday art club meets (open to all years).  We often make props or have a current project to work on.

We run Gifted and Talented workshops each year to stretch the more able, inviting artists in to work with our pupils.

Each year we display GCSE art work alongside technology as part of our Annual Show, this is open to the public each year.

Useful Links


The Drama Department

In Drama pupils are taught set of techniques and skills to enable them to produce creative work in a series of different genres.

All projects are based on the four assessment areas, strands that run from year seven to year eleven at GCSE. These are to Create and Develop, Skills, Knowledge and Understanding and to Analyse and Evaluate.

Students are also encouraged to develop life skills during their lessons. There is an emphasis on empathy, team work, improvising or thinking on your feet, performing in front of others and listening attentively.

Key Stage Three students study a different topic each half term. Projects are marked on a half termly basis. Verbal feedback is given each lesson.

The Drama Hall is equipped with a sound system and a lighting rig. There is a stage with black curtains to create the black box effect. There are also black surround curtains in the body of the Drama Hall and a set of blocks to create a stage elsewhere or to extend the existing stage.

Lessons are generally held in the Drama Studio, a lovely light space in which we can make noise without disturbing the rest of the school.

Curriculum Overview

In Year Seven, students will start with an Introduction to Drama, in which they will begin to learn the skills and techniques. These are revisited and added to in subsequent years. Topics will include a physical theatre project, a text based project, a devising project, a comedy project and one based on a historical event.

In Year Eight, they will add to their list of skills and techniques. Topics will include a Shakespeare based project as well as a similar range as those offered in Year Seven.

In Year Nine, students will work through some GCSE style projects as well as a similar range as those offered in Year Eight.

GCSE Course

The GCSE board used is currently AQA. There are three components. Component 1 is Understanding drama. This is a written exam which lasts for 1 hour and 45 minutes. It carries 40% of the GCSE. Component 2 is Devising drama. It is a devised performance and a devising log and carries 40% of the GCSE. Component 3 is Texts in practice. Students perform two extracts from one play. This carries 20% of the GCSE.

Homework/Independent Learning

A small amount of homework is set at Key Stage Three and will generally be to research, look for or write about techniques or skills. There might be a piece of evaluative writing.

At GCSE homework is set weekly. It might be to learn some vocabulary or to carry out some research, to learn lines or to do practice exam questions.

Extra-curricular and Enrichment Opportunities

There is a popular lunchtime Year 7&8 Drama Club which meets once a week. We perform once or twice a year, possibly with some Year 7&8 Music and a display of their Art.

Each year there is either a school play or a school musical. Auditions are open to students from Year 7 through to Year 11.

There are Gifted and Talented workshops each year to stretch the more able. We work with several other local schools and invite professional practitioners to lead sessions.

Parents and friends are invited to attend GCSE performances.



The Music department

The Music Department aims to develop an understanding and enjoyment of music in students; providing a variety of musical experiences through performance, composition, listening and appraising. A broad curriculum of music is covered which spans a wide range of eras, genres and cultures.  In both Key Stages, students are encouraged to read music in all its forms; use musical vocabulary to review and appraise pieces; and develop the skills necessary to participate in a wide range of musical activities both at the Academy and within the community.

Music is taught in a dedicated Music Studio, which hosts a class set of keyboards and 10 computers for GCSE coursework. There are also four practice rooms for individual work and group tasks.  Students have access to a variety of instruments: as well as Keyboards, Percussion, Ukuleles, Guitars, Bass Guitars and drum kits we also hire a range of instruments from Devon Music Service, such as African Djembe, Steel Pans and orchestral instruments to enhance the curriculum experience!

Key Stage 3

All students in Key Stage 3 are taught one lesson of music per week. Through the interrelated skills of performing, composing, listening and appraising; students will continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of music. Critical listening to live and recorded music of many styles and cultures plays an integral part in this development process. The following areas are explored in the different year groups through a variety of practical tasks within units of work: Singing and the music of other cultures; rhythm and pulse; texture and timbre; composing within structures; instrumental and performing skills; basic notation and melody writing; music for purpose; and listening and analysing skills.

Units of work (these are regularly reviewed and so may be subject to change)

Year 7

Elements of Music / The Orchestra & Programme Music / Chords and lines

Year 8

Riffs & Ostinato / African Music & Blues / Live Lounge Project 1

Year 9

Film Music / Reggae / Songwriting & Live Lounge Project 2

GCSE Course

All students in Key Stage 4 are taught for 5 hours per fortnight.

Current Examination Board: AQA

Course Objective

During the course, students develop their interest and understanding of how music is created and developed, including developing skills in composing and performance. Music also helps to develop broader life skills and attributes including critical and creative thinking, self-confidence and self-motivation.

The focus of learning in the AQA GCSE Music course is provided by four Areas of Study:

    Area of Study 1: Western Classical Tradition 1650-1910;

    Area of Study 2: Popular Music;

•    Area of Study 3: Traditional Music;

•     Area of Study 4: Western Classical Tradition since 1910.

Course Content and Assessment Pattern

Controlled Assessment is worth 60% of the overall grade and is split into two sections:

Composition Tasks (30%)

*Students explore a range of compositional starting points and investigate a range of techniques to develop and manipulate ideas and turn them into two pieces of music, one of which must be linked to the Strand of Learning as specified by the exam board and a free choice for the second.

*Students can use their own instruments to create their composition, or Music Technology (e.g. Cubase or Sibelius), or a combination of both. If students’ instrumental skills are not as accomplished as their compositions, someone else can perform them.

*The compositions can be ANY type of Music (including Blues, Jazz, Pop, Rock, DubStep etc.).

Performance Tasks (30%)

*Students will submit one solo performance piece and one ensemble performance piece both worth 15%.

*The solo can be a performance on ANY instrument

*The ensemble can be a performance on ANY instrument as part of an ensemble.


The Listening Paper is worth 40% of the overall grade. This takes place at the end of Year 11 and is a 90 minute paper. Students will listen and respond to questions based on short musical excerpts, drawing on music from all Areas of Study and Set Works as well as unfamiliar music.

Pre-requisites to take GCSE Music

*A commitment to Music that goes beyond students’ timetabled lessons (studying, practising and rehearsing in their own time)

*Ability to play an instrument or sing

*A willingness to listen to different styles of music.

*Be willing to get involved in musical performances - either as a performer or behind the scenes.

*Be able to meet deadlines (complete your assignments and Controlled Assessments within the specified timeframes).


Homework / Independent Learning / Enrichment activities

Homework is set on the Show My Homework website and usually involves practising or rehearsing; preparing material for lessons to follow; researching specific types of music and/or instruments/technologies; or evaluating students’ own work.

Instrumental Tuition

The Academy has a range of visiting peripatetic teachers who offer tuition on: strings; woodwind; brass; drum kit; piano; voice; guitar and bass guitar. Lessons vary in price depending on the teacher (Please follow this link for further details). Students receiving instrumental tuition are expected to take part in at least one extra-curricular activity once an adequate standard has been reached. Subsidies are available – see Charging and Remissions policy (link) for more details or contact Miss Cassells (

Extra-curricular and Enrichment Opportunities

The following clubs/opportunities are on offer throughout the year for students that wish to get involved in musical enrichment opportunities.


All instrumental players welcome and no audition necessary; but students should be able to read basic musical notation. A variety of genres and styles are covered, from classical greats, to swing, jazz, and popular music.


Vocal ensemble - all voices welcome and no audition necessary. We perform at public events throughout the year including the Mix Festival and school concerts.

Guitar and Ukulele group

Ran by the Academy’s Guitar teacher, this group do joint pieces; but some students come along to learn solo numbers/duets. All guitarists and ukulele players welcome, even if you’re a beginner!

Small ensembles (student-run bands and vocal groups)

Students are able to book out practice rooms to rehearse in small groups at lunchtimes and after school.

Theory club

For students interested in developing their knowledge of music theory and potentially taking a grade.

Other activities/trips/events

*Trips to Music festivals, concerts, and workshops

*School musical every 2 years

Useful Links

Dallas Symphony Orchestra:

Classic FM:

Philharmonia Instrument Guides:

Ultimate Guitar:

Virtual Piano:

BBC Bitesize for KS3:

BBC Bitesize for GCSE:

Music theory videos: