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Welcome to Drama GCSE

A warm welcome from the Drama Department at The Westgate School.  As you will be aware, all students in Year 7 and 8 have one drama lesson a week where they begin to build confidence and performance skills, alongside developing an array of transferable skills. Students then progress to Year 9 option groups where they follow a taster GCSE course which introduces them to the key units of the specification. It is important to note that many students have chosen GCSE drama without taking drama during Year 9  where they have gone on to achieve high grades in Year 11.   Throughout the GCSE course students have opportunities to perform both within and outside of lessons. School productions and showcases allow GCSE students to take roles as backstage crew, designers, or performers. 

The course consists of 3 units of study:

  • Component 1: Devising (internally assessed, externally moderated, 40% of the qualification) 

  • Component 2: Performance from Text (externally assessed by visiting examiner, 20% of the qualification) 

  • Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice (written exam, 40% of the qualification). 

Students work in groups to create devised work on a huge range of current issues and explore scripts from many different cultures, eras and genres. For component 3, they study a set text and go to see live performances. For component 1 and 2 it may be possible for students to follow a design pathway, such as lighting or costume design. In addition to the study of a set text (which  currently supports GCSE English Literature ) students will also produce a 2000 word portfolio which analyses and evaluates their devised response.  

The specification can be viewed here 

Student Testimonials

Drama has really built my confidence, not only on stage but in everything I do. It's such a lovely lesson, I have really enjoyed having to be creative and think outside the box, Tegan C, Year 11. 

For me, GCSE Drama was a subject which allowed me to express myself to the fullest. I have learned many things, for example how different tones of voice can suggest different meanings to a person, how to use body language to accurately get you point across. Most important of all is that I enjoyed the subjects we explored in class with my friends, doing fun activities, enjoying ourselves each lesson. It allowed me to slowly build up my confidence to get on the stage and do my absolute best, by performing something creative and new. At the start I could barely remember the lines, however, after constantly exploring scripts and memorising them, this helped me in memorising other subjects too. So, I'm very happy that I chose drama even though my career goal is not directly related. I am aiming to be a doctor and I know I will now be able to talk to patients and colleagues confidently. Drama has given me precious memories and confidence in achieving specific goals, Mahnoor S, Year 11.

Drama taught me independence and confidence. If you are able to perform in front of a big crowd then, in my opinion, you can do whatever you want in life. You often work in small groups where you learn many important skills like negotiation and creative thinking, which will be vital for your GCSEs, Finn O, Year 12.

The main thing I like about drama is the freedom you have to create your own ideas and seeing it all come together. The end is worth all the hard work you put in,  Rasna M, Year 11. 


Why should my child take Drama, they don’t want to be an actor? 

Drama is not about training a student to be an actor, far from it. The study of Drama at GCSE is primarily aimed at equipping a student with a multitude of transferrable skills that will lead to them being #equippedforlife 

My child is not very confident so why would drama be a good choice for them? 

It is the very best choice for a student who does not like talking in front of people, does  not offer answers in class and does not like reading aloud. In the current world of employment, every single person must speak to others,  you may have to lead a team, speak to a client, do a company presentation, interview people, the list is endless. Drama builds confidence and allows young people to work through real-life situations in a safe and supportive environment. Many professions really value drama studies on a student’s CV as an indication that they are able to communicate with confidence.   

Is the qualification viewed as ‘academic’? 

The course is heavily practical in Year 10 but, of course, there will be theory lessons and coursework. The advantage of drama coursework is that the student writes about practical work that is personal to them. 

With the introduction of the study of a set text and a final written exam, in 2016, Drama GCSE became an even more rigorous and academic subject. Universities welcome the study of arts subjects in creating a person who can work both individually and in a team, work to tight deadlines and think creatively.  

Do students have to perform for all areas of the exam? 

No. Whilst they will be performing in many lessons, they could choose a design route for their final practical exam units. This could be in an area such as lighting or costume design.  

Will drama help them with any other subjects? 

Yes. For the final written exam, all students must study a set text. Currently we have chosen to study An Inspector Calls, which is also a set text in GCSE English Literature. This is a real advantage as they increase their understanding and have a depth of knowledge on the script as a performance text. Much of their devised work will be issues/ theme based and this may support their studies in humanities and other subjects. Their literacy levels, in general, will improve and their work in memorising scripts will support their learning of facts in other subjects. 

For further information please contact:

Ms P Slater Curriculum Leader of Drama