Welcome to the Performing Arts Department!

Performing ArtsPerforming Arts is a vibrant and exciting department where the talents of all pupils are nurtured and encouraged in order to both help pupils develop on a personal level and prepare them for careers in the Creative Industries.   The film, television and music industries are now worth £76.9 billion per year to the UK economy.  In South Wales there has been massive investment in the construction of new film studios in recent years and pupils need to be equipped with the necessary skills to enable them to make the most of these exciting opportunities.  

An amalgamation of the Music and Drama department, the new Performing Arts department offers classroom music lessons for all pupils during Key Stage 3, then options to take Music or Performing Arts (incorporating Drama and Dance) at Key Stages 4 and 5.   Peripatetic instrumental tutors also offer lessons to small groups of pupils on orchestral instruments and the guitar, with many gaining ABRSM exam qualifications at the highest grades. 

Academic standards at GCSE are high, with 91% gaining A* - C grades in music and 100% A – B in Performing Arts this year.  These excellent results are supported by a lively extra-curricular program throughout the year, with many opportunities for pupils to participate in instrumental and vocal ensembles as well as the annual school musical.    New Level 3 BTEC courses in Music and Performing Arts have been introduced this year to enable pupils to continue to develop their skills into the sixth form.  

Our departmental aims are:

  1.  To develop a creative environment where pupils are successful, enthusiastic, involved, committed, happy and valued.
  2. To develop technical skills in music, drama and dance and encourage excellent standards of performance, both during lessons and extra-curricular activities.
  3. To develop insight through music, drama and dance into areas of experience and emotional intelligence which cannot easily be verbalised and to develop social skills and awareness through working together.
  4. To offer opportunities to experience personal satisfaction and to increase self-confidence while striving for the highest possible standards.


Key Stage 3

Music lessons at Key Stage 3 adhere to the National Curriculum for Music and develop skills in the three areas of Performing, Composing and Appraising.   Pupils will study music from its earliest roots to the present day and from all around the world.

Throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 pupils are encouraged to develop instrumental performance skills on a variety of classroom instruments through whole class ensembles, group performances, paired work and individual rehearsal time.  Keyboard skills are developed and pupils who already play orchestral instruments or the guitar are encouraged to use these instruments in class lessons when appropriate to the task. 

All pupils are encouraged to participate in whole class singing which takes place regularly throughout the term, with opportunities for pupils to perform solo or in small groups should they wish. 

Composition is taught in Year 7 initially as group work, with the focus on developing social, communication and problem solving skills as well as creativity.  As pupils progress through Key Stage 3 more opportunities are given for paired and individual work so each pupil can develop their own musical imagination and forms of expression. 

Appraising is the ability to listen to a piece of music and make evaluative judgements about it using the correct musical terminology.  Students are introduced in Year 7 to the Elements of Music (pitch, dynamics, structure, texture, silence, duration and timbre) and further musical terminology is brought in throughout Years 8 and 9.  Pupils are expected to use these terms with increasing sophistication as a preparation for the rigours of GCSE Music. 

Key Stage 4

At present we offer GCSE Music and GCSE Performing Arts at Key Stage 4 to great success.

GCSE Music continues to develop pupils’ skills in Performing, Composing and Listening through four areas of study:

  • Music in Wales
  • Musical forms and devices
  • Music for stage and screen
  • Music evolution

Pupils have to perform individually and as part of an ensemble for their final assessed performance and complete a portfolio of compositions as their controlled assessment.  There is a final listening exam in which pupils have to apply the knowledge they have gained to musical examples.  In order to achieve the highest grades at GCSE Music pupils need to be able to either sing or play an instrument at Grade 3 standard or above. 

GCSE Performing Arts allows pupils an overview from a practical and realistic perspective, with controlled assessment tasks exploring jobs in the Performing Arts industry.  Pupils then choose a skill to specialise in from Music, Acting, Costume Design or Dance.   Assessment is through controlled assessment tasks and a final Showcase Performance for a visiting examiner. 

Sadly, GCSE Performing Arts is being offered for the last time in the summer of 2017.  New courses to replace it are currently being researched.  

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5 there are opportunities for pupils to study BTEC Music or Performing Arts at Level 3.  Classes are generally very small in the sixth form, which allows excellent opportunities for personal skills development in a nurturing and supportive environment.  Pupil select units from an extensive list in the specification to cater to their particular talents such as:

  • Solo Music Performance Skills
  • Musical Theatre Performance
  • Developing Musical Ensemble Skills
  • Developing Voice for the Actor
  • Auditions for Actors
  • Drama Improvisation
  • Dance Performance
  • Choreographic Principles
  • Developing Contemporary Dance Technique

Assessment is through completion of a portfolio of work including video evidence, written diaries, witness statements and personal evaluations.  The portfolio is externally moderated and pupils are awarded a fail, pass, merit or distinction.