at Cockermouth School


Drama at Cockermouth School is taught in Years 7 to 9 and has one lesson a week devoted to its study. In these first three years the students will focus on developing their creative ability and increasing their individual levels of confidence. Students can then opt to study a GCSE in Drama.  At Post-16 we currently offer A Level Drama and Theatre Studies. Drama is taught either in one of two dedicated studios or in the main hall/stage.

Key Stage 3

Drama is a life skill and a creative art form. It helps students develop their ability to use voice, movement, gesture and facial expression, within a range of practical role playing activities. Through Drama, students are given opportunities to express and manage their thoughts and feelings, responding to a wide range of issues and situations. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively whilst participating in a variety of shared experiences.

Students work in a safe and controlled environment where they can respond to, express and explore ideas and concepts that will help them to make sense of the world we live in. The development of these skills encourages self-confidence and self-awareness. It promotes the development of the individual in a group context: roles and ideas are negotiated, problems solved and decisions made together. Drama often leads to a performance and creates opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding as well as promoting deeper levels of analysis, as they evaluate the work of others.

 During Key Stage 3, students explore both factual and fictional texts that help to broaden their understanding of different social, cultural, moral and historical contexts and situations.

The Drama department is a busy and exciting area of Cockermouth School and all students help to shape the work that happens. The department offers many drama opportunities for our students to extend their learning and enjoyment of drama beyond the classroom, ranging from whole school productions, drama workshops, theatre visits, drama clubs as well as hosting visiting theatre practitioners and performers to come into school to work with our students.

Key Stage 4

 GCSE Drama is all about building on the skills developed throughout Key Stage 3. Students will work in a mainly practical way exploring characters, stimulus materials and texts in a variety of different situations.  Students will have the opportunity to create their own work as well as look at plays written by other playwrights.  Students will work in a variety of groups to express themselves in an active and exciting way.

Students will gain a GCSE in Drama.  There is only one tier of entry so they have the opportunity to achieve all levels at GCSE.

Almost all of the assessment is practical but students will need to complete some written tasks under controlled conditions.

Unit One

Unit Two

Unit Three

To be completed in the Autumn term of Y11

To Be completed in the Summer term of Y10

To be completed in the Summer term of Y11

Drama Exploration

Exploring Play Texts

Drama Performance

30% of the GCSE

30% of the GCSE

40% of the GCSE

You will develop your response to a stimulus set by the teacher in a one-day workshop.  You will develop your own ideas and work in a practical way

You will study a play text and respond to the themes and characters within the play.  You will develop this work in a practical way during a one-day workshop

You will work in a group of between 3 and 9 students to prepare a performance of a play script or a drama piece which you have devised yourself

You will complete a written response to your practical work under controlled conditions (2000 words)

You will complete a written response to the workshop (1000 words) and review a play you have been to see (2000 words)  both under controlled conditions

You will present your final, rehearsed performance to a visiting Examiner.


The lessons will almost all be practical sessions, though students will be expected to make notes in lessons and complete some written homework. There will be regular evaluations of work taking place and written into their folders. All lessons take place in the dedicated Drama studios. Students will have 5 hours of Drama in our 2 week timetable.

After they have completed GCSE Drama, students can go on to higher study such as:

  • GCE Drama and Theatre Studies at AS and A Level
  • BTEC National Performing Arts
  • A range of career choices which require you to have confidence, work well with others and communicate well with people.
  • All employers need to see confidence, communication and independent thinking from all of their employees. Drama will give you the necessary skills to stand out in an interview for a job in any sector.
  • “Imagination is more important than knowledge” Albert Einstein

Programme of Study

The programme of study is the work the students will cover in drama lessons in preparation for your assessment sessions.  The programme of study consists of the essential skills the students need to succeed in the three units of the course.  These are the building blocks for all the work that the students will do.

It is likely that the students will work on several aspects of the programme of study at the same time, for example they might use still image and lighting at the same time to mark a significant moment in your work.

The programme of study is divided into 4 main areas;

  • Explorative Strategies
  • The Drama Medium
  • The Elements of Drama
  • Forms of Stimuli

Forms of Stimuli

The stimuli are the various things that the students can use to stimulate or create ideas for their drama.

Some examples of stimuli are;

  • Poems
  • Artefacts (this means objects such as photos, pictures, masks, props, costume, sculpture or any other items or objects you can think of
  • Music
  • Play scripts
  • Live theatre performances
  • Television, film, DVD, video, internet
  • Newspaper and magazine articles
  • Extracts from fiction and non-fiction

When the students use stimuli they will have the chance to;

  • Be creative, this will allow them to think outside everyday life
  • Develop ideas, they may be given fragments of stimuli that will allow them to develop a character that is suggested
  • Explore meaning; any item can prompt them to ask questions about it even if it is only “who does it belong to?”
  • Make connections between different stimuli to help them reflect on topics, themes and issues that may be introduced.

Ask questions about the stimuli such as;

  • Where does it come from?
  • How would I describe it?
  • Where might it be found?
  • Does it have a story attached to it?
  • Who owns it – if anyone?
  • What could it stand for?  Does it have a meaning like a wedding ring?

Key Stage 5

A Level Drama and Theatre Studies comprises of four units including:

Unit 1: Exploration of Drama and Theatre in which the students will study two different play texts from different periods and genres along with the work and theories of one practitioner.

Unit 2: Theatre text in Performance: This unit comprises of students rehearsing and performing a monologue or a duologue of their choice for Section A. For Section B students work as a theatre company and rehearse a text for performance, this will be from a different period and genre to the play texts studied in Unit 1.

A visiting examiner will assess both pieces of work in a live performance exam.

Unit 3: This is the Exploration of Dramatic Performance; this is a devised unit and students are internally assessed including the developmental and planning part of the process in the lead up to and during performance. The students will devise a piece of theatre for an intended audience and will be responsible for production elements too.

Unit 4:Theatre Text in Context: This is externally assessed as a written examination paper. Students will study one play from the point of view of the director from two different perspectives-both practically and academically. Students are also required to evaluate a live performance from a specific time period.

Outside the Classroom

There are many extra-curricular opportunities that are available to the students while they are on the Drama courses including the annual school musical production. In addition all drama students will be expected to set some time aside to rehearse outside of lessons for examination pieces of theatre. There is an expectation that students will complete coursework notes and preparation in their own time along with doing reading around the subject to improve their overall perception of a variety of theatre styles, practitioners, drama genres, playwrights and directors.