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Drama is valued in Merchants’ Academy as an important tool for learning but also as a discipline to encourage character. Students all participate in productions and assemblies throughout the year and strong links are made with theatre companies. Current work is being undertaken with Unique Voice, The Old Vic Theatre School and The Tobacco Factory. There are also occasional visits to theatres in Bristol and in London.

Early Years Foundation Stage

In our Nursey and Reception classes at Merchants’ Academy, drama plays a vital role with, through role play and creative play as a vehicle to learn. Students are then assessed through the early learning outcomes. Adults guide the students in their play hoping to stimulate them to self-initiate role play and learning.

Key Stage One

In Key Stage 1, our students mainly experience drama through literacy. They are taught to re-enact stories using the talk for writing model. Drama can also be used in Foundation subjects, through the Edison Learning Curriculum. There are several opportunities throughout the year to watch live drama and take part in drama workshops. There are also co-curricular options including drama for students to choose.

Key Stage Two

In Key Stage 2, there are opportunities to experience drama through the Literacy and Language programme.  Drama can be used in foundation subjects, through the Edison Learning Curriculum. There are several opportunities throughout the year to watch live drama and take part in drama workshops. There are also co-curricular options including drama for students to choose.


Years 7, 8 and 9

Topics studied and content covered include:

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

In Years 7-9 our Drama curriculum allows students to develop acting, mime and physical theatre skills as well as taking part in thematic learning that covers moral dilemma, historic events, and social and global issues. Students also develop their understanding of styles and genres of theatre such as Greek Tragedy, Shakespeare and contemporary drama. Teaching allocation is currently 1 lesson per week in each of Years 7-9.

At Merchants’ Academy Drama Department, we pride ourselves on our links to the professional world of theatre. We work on a weekly basis with The Bristol Old Vic Theatre and some of our Year 9 and 10 students create a devised piece of work to be performed on the main stage at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre in the Summer.

We have links with the Tobacco Factory Theatre and as a partnership school with the Ignition project, we work on developing new theatre audiences within the local community by allowing visiting companies to perform at Merchants’ Academy. We recently hosted the highly acclaimed Idol Motion Theatre Company’s production of ‘Borges and I’.

We also take part in the National Shakespeare Schools Festival.

Our in-house provision includes a weekly Drama club, Year 10-13 Drama evenings and an annual musical theatre production. We take students to the theatre as much as we possibly can and have recently been to see King Lear at the Old Vic and many more productions beside.

For further information:

Years 10 and 11

Course Title: GCSE Drama
Exam Board: WJEC
Qualification: GCSE Drama and Theatre Studies

About the course

This course fosters candidates’ creativity, personal growth, self-confidence, communication and analytical skills through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and understanding and the exercise of the imagination. It promotes students’ involvement in and enjoyment of drama as performers, devisers, directors and designers. It provides opportunities for students to attend professional and community dramatic performances and to develop their skills as informed and thoughtful audience members. Through the study of GCSE Drama, students are given opportunities to participate in and interpret their own and others' drama. They investigate the forms, styles, and contexts of drama and learn to work collaboratively to develop ideas, to express feelings, to experiment with technical elements and to reflect on their own and others’ performances.

How it is assessed

Unit 1: Devised Practical Performance (60%) 120 marks 

TASK ONE – 40% Devised Performance

Candidates devise a practical performance based on a theme, linked with a practitioner or genre.

  • Candidates may choose either acting or a theatre design skill;
  • Teachers record the work on DVD/Video;
  • Internally assessed and externally moderated with task two.

TASK TWO – 20% Devised Performance Report

Candidates will complete a written report on the practical work they completed in Task One, under formal supervision.

Unit 2: Performance from a Text

20% of the total marks (50 Marks)

Candidates are assessed on either their acting or a theatre design skill, in a scene from a published play.

  • Candidates to work in groups of between 2 to 5 members;
  • No more than two additional design candidates per group, each working on a different skill;
  • Externally assessed by a visiting external examiner in April/May.

Unit 3: Written Exam

20% of the total mark (50 marks) 

Candidates will be assessed on their ability to analyse one set text as an actor, designer and director and to evaluate practical work completed in Unit 2.

For further information: