At The Wren, students will develop a love and passion for music, dance and drama, so that they can engage with a wide range of experiences with an open-mind, becoming well-rounded and creative individuals.


In the performance department we nurture the creativity of every individual student, ensuring that regardless of their previous varied experiences of music, dance and drama they can achieve. We differentiate learning so that the experience of every student is equitable. Our classrooms are supportive environments in which students feel safe, so that they can express themselves through performing. We value the process as much as the outcome and our highly practical curriculum gives our students a much-needed creative outlet. Through their study of music, dance and drama, students will also gain invaluable transferable skills. They will build resilience and independence through rehearsing, learning to work effectively as part of a team. They will develop the confidence and communication skills needed to express themselves in the wider world.


We challenge our students to have a better never stops attitude, striving to be the best they can be. Our curriculum is carefully sequenced and we embed threshold concepts throughout to ensure students have a great depth of understanding. In each unit of work we make explicit links to previous learning and then challenge students to apply their knowledge to new contexts and situations. At KS3 we make explicit links to our chosen KS4 and KS5 specifications, exploring key concepts and terminology, key practitioners and developing the skills needed to be successful. Through regular feedback we support students to make excellent progress.


Students will be inspired by the work of great composers, artists, performers, choreographers and practitioners from different periods in history and parts of the world. They will explore the diversity of creative output and discover the impact of music, dance and drama in the wider world and in their own communities. They will use technology to enhance their understanding and be encouraged to explore the performing arts through further study. Our broad extra-curricular offer supports students in developing their passions within music, dance and drama, giving them invaluable opportunities to build cultural capital and share their talents with the whole school community. Throughout our curriculum we effectively prepare our students for study at a higher level. We encourage our students to look to their futures and explore the wide range of rewarding careers in the performing arts sector.



KS3 Performance Curriculum

At The Wren School performance is highly valued as part of a broad and balanced KS3 curriculum. Students experience four hours a fortnight of Performance subjects, taught by outstanding specialist teachers.

Music at KS3

In KS3 music, students will develop appraising skills through listening to some of the great musical output throughout history and from different cultures and traditions. They will engage with creative processes through improvising and composing their own musical ideas within different contexts and structures. They will also learn to perform music from a wide range of genres and styles as soloists and as part of an ensemble. They will use the power of their own voices, as well as a range of instruments such as percussion, keyboards and ukuleles to develop technical skill. When performing they will learn to read confidently from different forms of notation, developing accuracy and fluency. Students will also use music technology to support their own arranging and composing. Exploration of the inter-related dimensions of music will underpin all of this musical learning.


Dance at KS3

In KS3 dance, students will learn to appreciate dance from a range of styles, exploring chosen set dances in detail. They will learn to perform dance movement and set phrases in a range of styles. When performing they will understand and apply the key dance skills of actions, space, dynamics and relationships. Students will also understand and apply key physical, mental, technical and expressive skills to show themes, tell stories and create characters through their movement. They will have opportunities to choreograph their own dances, developing a great understanding of the different choreographic devices used to do this. Students will also understand the importance of safe dance practice, and how to rehearse and perform effectively with others.


Drama at KS3

In KS3 drama, students will have opportunities to construct a wide range of characters. From the start of year 7 they will be introduced to the key vocal and physical skills needed to effectively portray these characters on stage. They will work individually and in groups to develop their devising techniques. Students will also understand the wider elements of a theatrical production such as set design, costume and lighting, used to enhance mood and atmosphere. Students will have opportunities to review live theatre productions as well as analyse and perform a diverse range of set texts. Students will learn about how drama has developed throughout history and around the world – from Greek Theatre, to Commedia Dell’arte to Shakespeare to Melodrama. They will also explore key practitioners such as Stanislavski, Brecht and Frantic Assembly and their impact on the development of theatre.


KS4 Performance Curriculum

We promote uptake of music and drama at KS4 through our ambitious and engaging KS3 curriculum, as well as the wide-ranging enrichment opportunities we offer our students. Students choosing a Performance option subject at KS4 receive 5 hours a fortnight of outstanding specialist teaching, across their two-year course. KS4 Performance students gain the confidence to pursue their own ideas, gaining a depth of disciplinary knowledge and skills, as well as wider transferable skills, so that they emerge as creative individuals ready for their next steps.


Music at KS4

When studying towards the Edexcel GCSE Music specification, students build open the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at KS3. This qualification encourages students to form personal and meaningful relationships with music through the development of musical knowledge, understanding and skills. Students will be encouraged to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music, develop an understanding of the place of music in different cultures and contexts, and reflect on how music is used in the expression of personal and collective identities. The course gives equal weighting (30% each) to the two NEA components of Performing and Composing, allowing students to progress in both skills. The appraising aspect of the course is worth 40% and assessed through a summative written exam. Students engage with four Areas of Study, each containing two Set Works. This supports the teaching of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language through specific pieces of music, and students learn in-depth appraising skills. Students are also taught skills needed to appraise unfamiliar pieces of music, as well as their own music.


Drama at KS4

As is the case with our KS3 drama curriculum, the AQA GCSE Drama specification builds in as much opportunity as possible for students to do what they like best – participate in performance. All students will devise their own pieces of drama, based on stimuli, and influenced by the techniques of key drama practitioners. This component accounts for 40% of the qualification. All students also explore texts practically and work on two text-based performances, accounting for a further 20% of the qualification. Students can choose to develop as a: performer, designer (lighting, sound, set, costume, puppets), or performer and designer. Whichever option they choose, students can be sure to gather many invaluable skills, both theatrical and transferable, to expand their horizons. The written exam paper, which assesses the final 40% of the course, asks students to combine what they’ve learned about how drama is performed with their practical experience and imagination. Students will explore the set text Blood Brothers in great detail, and evaluate a Live Theatre Production.



As the dance curriculum is currently being embedded across KS3, we are also striving to include a dance and/or performing arts option at KS4, to enable our students to further their passions in this area, with a qualification that is right for them.



KS5 Performance Curriculum

Wren Six students choosing to study our ambitious and well-resourced Performance courses receive 9 hours a fortnight of outstanding specialist teaching, across their two-year course. At this stage in their education, students are encouraged to become critical thinkers with growing independence, so that they build the skills needed for their futures in a dynamic and changing world. We encourage them to contribute as respectful and kind members of the school and wider community, creating opportunities for them to be role models within enrichment activities, performances and trips.


Music at KS5

The Edexcel A-Level Music qualification is an ambitious course that builds upon and deepens prior learning from KS4. The course is designed to inspire the next generation of students in forming personal and meaningful relationships with music through the development of musical knowledge, understanding and skills. Students will develop these skills through performing, composing and appraising music, as they have done at KS3 and KS4. Students develop complex composing skills, composing to a technical brief and completing their own free composition. They also work towards an extended recital on an instrument of their choice. Students analyse and appraise a wide range of 13 set works across 6 different areas of study. The appraising exam assesses aural skills, as well as they ability to critically evaluate music through more extended written prose. Students are also encouraged to read around the subject and appraise a broad range of wider listening. This qualification allows students to develop particular strengths and interests, encourages lifelong learning and provide access to higher education and university degree courses in music and music-related subjects, as well as music-related and other careers.


BTEC Performing Arts at KS5

This engaging course is for students interested in learning about the performing arts sector with a view to progressing to a wide range of higher education courses and careers. Students can combine their previous learning in the disciplines of dance and drama in particular, deepening their skills and knowledge. The course is assessed internally and externally through a range of practical performances, logbooks and research-based coursework. The BTEC is equivalent to one A-level and over two years students complete 4 units worth of work. Three of these units are mandatory:  Investigating practitioners; Developing skills and techniques for live performance; Group performance workshop. Students and staff will also work together to choose one optional unit, playing to the strengths and interests of the students. Throughout the course, there is an emphasis on core knowledge and fundamental skills which are transferable across other sectors (including communication, presentation, physical and creative skills). This support students in meeting the expectations of universities, apprenticeships, and employers, therefore helping prepare them for their futures in an ever-changing world.