Drama Curriculum

Music & Drama Department Aims

  • To develop and foster pupil’s interest over a wide range of music and drama
  • To provide and maintain a stimulating learning environment where all pupils can become successful learners
  • To encourage self expression, creativity and self criticism resulting in pupils who become confident individuals
  • To encourage self discipline and self motivation allowing pupils to become responsible citizens
  • To encourage pupils to work cooperatively in whole class and small group situations and to gain self discipline when practising or rehearsing alone
  • To promote the use of technology as a means to stimulating learning at all levels
  • To develop effective target setting in class and at home, particularly for pupils from S2-S6
  • To encourage, where possible, participation in live performance giving pupils the opportunity to become confident individuals and effective contributors
  • To enable pupils to reach their full potential and gain recognised qualifications according to their potential


Course Provision


Series of Units taught through 1 period per week


General Drama Course at CfE level 3/4


National 4 & 5 courses
Higher and Advanced Higher Courses


Course Entry Requirements


Students will normally study at National 4/5 over one year, followed by Higher and, in some cases, Advanced Higher. Pupils who wish to study Advanced Higher Drama must have achieved an A at Higher Drama and Higher English. In some cases it may be possible to study Advanced Higher having achieved a B at Higher Drama or English but this will require the decision of the Curriculum Leader after liaising with all relevant parties.


Scheme of Work


This course covers the Experiences & Outcomes from A Curriculum for Excellence. Assessment is ongoing and students complete self evaluations on a regular basis.

The following strands form the basis for the Drama course. It can be expected that most of the strands will be covered in each unit of work and all will visited on a regular basis.

  • Investigating and Experimenting
  • Using Movement and Mime
  • Using Language
  • Creating and Designing
  • Communicating and Presenting
  • Observing, listening, reflecting, describing and responding

Lessons will include warm-up activities to boost students’ self-confidence and to promote team-work and co-operation. There is ongoing assessment and many units have a homework task to follow.

Following introductory sessions in the first two weeks, the students move onto Serious Fun. They learn to work in groups and build skills in self confidence and team building. Next, they start to develop presentation skills through basic group work. Following this, they will explore Drama as a tool for storytelling and learn to create atmosphere. Whole group Drama work leads on from this and the term ends with some fun explorations of script and pantomime. Throughout these units, the students will also begin to evaluate each other by observing, reflecting and responding.

In the second term, the skills are continued by starting to look at characterisation through the use of movement and voice. Students will learn the difference between naturalistic and stylised movement and will experiment with voice techniques using texts. Next, we move onto a unit titled ‘Street Children’. Looking at the plight of street children around the world, the students will further develop their characterisation skills and devise their own plays. Again, there will be self, peer and teacher evaluations. They will continue with more work developing Improvisation Skills using a stimulus.  This unit also introduces Drama Conventions such as Teacher-in-Role, Mantle of the Expert and Frozen Picture. Next, there is a unit entitled ‘Missing’. This introduces the conventions of Flashback and Flash-forward, and, in addition,  incorporates thinking skills. At some point during this term there will be a cross-curricular project with another department within the school (TBC)

The third term starts continues the ‘Missing’ unit and then leads into the short unit on Theatre Arts. This aims to introduce students to lighting, sound,  costume,  and props. Students will have hands-on experience of using some of these.  Some students may have the opportunity to learn basic stage combat skills whilst working on short, scripted scenes. Finally, students learn a little about the History and Origins of Theatre.


Term 1:

  • Drama is Serious Fun
  • It Was Terrifying – group work and presentation skills
  • Haunted and Hunted – storytelling and creating atmosphere
  • Evacuation – whole group drama
  • Christmas Pantomimes – group and basic script work

Term 2:

  • Movement and Mime
  • Playing with Text – voice skills
  • Street Children – Rights and Responsibilities, Role Play
  • Timothy Winters – Improvisation from a Stimulus
  • Missing – using thinking skills
  • Cross curricular unit (TBC)

Term 3:

  • Theatre Arts – introduction to lighting, sound, props and costume
  • Scripted Scenes (and stage combat)
  • History of Theatre

S3 course – expands upon skills learned in S1/2, broadly follows the same structure as S4-6 at an appropriate level.

S4-S6 National 4/5, Higher & Adv. Higher Drama

National 4/5

Unit 1: Drama Skills

Pupils will look at a selection of stimuli, contribute to group discussion, help with the planning of the scenarios and act in the play they have created. They then evaluate their work and that of others.

Unit 2: Drama: Production Skills

Pupils are taught about all aspects of Theatre Production. They gain practical experience of all areas and design for an extract of text. They will specialise in one chosen area and use this to enhance the performance of other candidates.

Unit 3: Performance

National 5: Pupils rehearse and perform a scripted play. They can choose to specialise in acting or a production skill.

National 4: This is the Added Value unit and pupils rehearse and perform a devised play. They can choose to specialise in acting or a production skill.


Higher (currently undergoing changes to the course)

Unit 1: Investigative Drama

Pupils will look at a selection of stimuli, contribute to group discussion, help with planning of scenario. Based on the stimuli -as a group- pupils choose a main theme/issue and an individual sub theme then investigate it through home study / research. They will choose a group message and individual message and write a short scene. They then have individual read-throughs, cast the play, direct and act in other people’s plays.

Unit 2: Study of a Text in its Theatrical Context

Pupils explore a set text. They will look at the central themes and issues, key characters, key relationships, key scenes etc. They analyse the play from a director and actor’s perspective. The text is chosen from a list supplied by SQA and is usually ‘Lovers’ by Brian Friel.

Unit 3: Contemporary Scottish Theatre

Pupils read and analyse 3 Scottish Plays. They gain understanding of the plays in terms of the issues within them. The texts commonly studied include; ‘Passing Places’ by Stephen Greenhorn, ‘The Steamie’ by Tony Roper, ‘Men Should Weep’ by Ena Lamont Stewart and sometimes The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Black Watch.


Advanced Higher 

Unit 1: Devised Drama

Pupils will:

  • Devise a dramatic presentation on the chosen theme
  • Demonstrate practical skills in the realisation of the dramatic presentation
  • Evaluate the dramatic presentation

Unit 2: Twentieth-Century Theatre – Theories of Performance

Pupils will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the theories of acting and directing of one of the two leading practitioners studied (Brecht and Stanislavski)
  • Explore aspects of theatre practice in one or two recent productions which they feel reflect the theories and/or practices of one of the two leading practitioners studied

Unit 3: Special Study

Pupils will:

  • Use skills of research and investigation to arrive at performance concepts for a chosen play
  • Demonstrate performance concepts for the chosen play



Learning & Teaching

Assessment and Reporting


The teacher is constantly observing and monitoring pupil progress throughout the year. Formative assessment strategies are applied in every lesson Summative assessments take place at the end of each unit and are recorded on tracking sheets. Written reports also include comments on behaviour and attitude. Frequent assessments such as these allow decisions to be made regarding the need for Support for Learning staff to help certain pupils progress in class. The Department has devised Grade Related Criteria to be used in assessing the various elements of the course.


Assessments are carried out at various stages of the certificate courses. There is a mixture of internal and external assessments throughout the year. Both the pupil and the teacher regularly set targets to help monitor and track progress throughout the session. Reports are written at various points throughout the year and these dates can be found in the school’s calendar for the session. Record of Work booklets are also used for S4-6 pupils for all subjects in the school.



The school operates a reward system for S1 & 2 pupils in the form of a smart stamp. These are awarded for progress/achievement and should be used throughout the session as a means of promoting positive discipline. The reward system is currently under review and any outcome will be added here at a later date.


Use of ICT

Pupils gain experience of using ICT mainly through lighting and sound.

They are encouraged to research and use sound effects and music in their presentations. Lighting is used to enhance all presentations and pupils learn how to create mood and atmosphere through the use of gels and gobos and particular types of lanterns. We also make use of an online evaluation tool for evaluating theatre performances.

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