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Does anyone know what GCSE drama is going to be like?

(33 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Wed 13-Jan-16 20:45:37

DD is Y9 now and is choosing her options.
At their school they get to choose a humanity ( RS, or maybe Geography?), a MFL ( she still hasn't decided between Spanish/ French) and then they get two free choices on top of the usual.
She has decided on music as is Grade 6 piano and bass, so it's up her alley, but was wondering about Drama for the second.
Does anyone have any idea what the new drama GCSE is going to be like?

TeenAndTween Wed 13-Jan-16 21:09:04

What board? It wasn't what DD expected.

There were assessed workshops which then also had to be written about, as well as a final performance. But a lot of self direction and exploration. Not so much teaching 'how to act like an old lady' or whatever.

On the plus side, no final written exam for her (she did AQA).

No idea about new specs. She really needs to talk with teacher and current y10/y11s I think.

stayathomegardener Wed 13-Jan-16 21:12:44

DD did AQA and had a final written exam worth 60%.
But yep everything else Teen and tween said.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 13-Jan-16 21:24:27

Last year's options booklet said this

Examination Board
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA)
Course Content
This exciting course offers opportunities for pupils to expand their performance skills and increase
their knowledge of the rich cultural tradition that is theatre. The subject requires intelligence and
creativity, and the course will stretch the student’s analytical skills, challenging each to find original
and interesting ways to communicate her ideas.
The syllabus ensures they cover a broad range of skills and provides opportunities for them to work
on specific aspects of the dramatic process that interest them: they can pursue elements as diverse
as puppets, sound, lighting or stage management. On a personal level, they will hopefully enjoy the
challenge that acting presents and gain confidence in performing in front of others. On a wider social
level, they will gain a critical understanding of various cultural forms and mature in their capacity to
interact with others. We trust the course will enhance their love of drama and supply them with a
lifelong appreciation of the theatre.
Marking and Assessment
The final GCSE grade is based on 60% controlled assessment and a 40% written examination paper.
The controlled assessment consists of two options, both of which carry a practical and written
component. One option focuses on a performance skill and the other offers a choice from a wide
variety of theatre skills. The written work for both options requires them to evaluate the process they
go through in order to ensure that they are learning effectively and have understood the way
dramatic devices work.
For the examination they study one text in depth, analyse a production that we will see together, and
evaluate the theatrical process they go through in order to allow them to reflect on all the aspects
that are woven together to create a performance. The examination is 1½ hours long and they are
required to respond to two questions.
Pupils will be required to attend after school and lunch time rehearsals.
If this course is oversubscribed, pupils will be expected to undergo an audition'

But i'm not sure whether my DD's year will have an internal assessment?

RitaCrudgington Wed 13-Jan-16 21:25:43

I had a thread of my own about Drama GCSE (and Ancient Greek) a while ago here.
There was some good stuff on it, I'm lurking in case anyone has good leaks about the new syllabuses (syllabi?)

TeenAndTween Wed 13-Jan-16 22:01:32

Also. Drama requires interaction and cooperation with other students. Harder if your DC isn't a good mixer, or if others muck about.

lljkk Wed 13-Jan-16 22:05:37

DD says she wants to do art (loves art) but also loves Drama & I think drama is easier. Is Drama much easier than art GCSE?

TeenAndTween Wed 13-Jan-16 22:14:27

Define 'easier' grin

According to threads on here, Art is a time eater.

lljkk Wed 13-Jan-16 22:16:05

easier = not so stressful & time-consuming

RaskolnikovsGarret Wed 13-Jan-16 22:35:25

My DD who is doing music GCSE is reporting lots of drama (sorry) in the Drama gcse class. Squabbling, people not feeling listened to, others not attending practices, not wanting to do certain parts. Sounds far too stressful.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 13-Jan-16 22:36:34

Rita, that was an interesting thread. Thanks for linking to it.
Drama is well done in DD's school and she is usually okay at working with others , so it sounds like it might be something to consider.

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 14-Jan-16 00:58:40

DD (Y11) is loving her Drama GCSE, I think it's the one bright spot in her week just now!

LizKeen Thu 14-Jan-16 01:16:28

I did the AQA drama GCSE, though it was ten years ago. It was mainly acting exercises like being in character for 30 mins solidly, acting out plays, being given a basic script and idea and improvising, going to theatre performances and writing reviews of them.

I think its the sort of class that you get out what you put in. Yes there was messing around but there were people taking it seriously too. I know our teacher didn't try to save the messers in our final performance by mixing them through the groups. He put the hard workers together and left the arseholes to it.

I also did art and drama was less time consuming and much less stressful, though that might differ depending on personality. Performing can be pretty nerve wracking for some people. I am not sure how I did it, I couldn't do it now.

Sorry, this is probably out of date ramblings, but I had a really good experience of the subject and great memories, so theres my two pence. grin

homebythesea Thu 14-Jan-16 12:42:56

My DD is doing Drama GCSE now (Y10) and one thing that I hadn't thought about is the requirement to submit various reviews of plays etc which has meant a few (so far) expensive trips to the West End /NT

She enjoys it as there is kess written work /deadlines so it is a relief from the other stuff. It's a small group that get in well, I can imagine there might be "dramas" if there were more people who maybe didn't gel together.

bojorojo Thu 14-Jan-16 14:40:10

I would say if any child is not gifted at drama or art, then they will have to work hard but a major influence is the quality of teaching. At DDs school only two got an A at Drama, the rest were A*s. The teachers knew the syllabus inside out and really knew how to encourage the students to extend themselves and produce their best work. They were innovative and well rehearsed. I think teachers like this will get to grips with any new syllabus and still produce the goods. There may be the odd strong character who wants everything their way but a good teacher will guide and cajole so the best ideas come to the fore and are developed. Going to plays may cost a bit but it provides a excellent opportunities and is no more than a geography trip would cost. Drama is an excellent subject to combine with English (and music too) and at our school a high grade was more or less guaranteed.

Therefore, look at track record of the teachers and the school. What are their Musical offerings like? What is the school play like, or school musical? What do they do at Christmas or Drama A level showcase evenings? Is it high calibre with dedicated young people taking part? Does your child aspire to getting a good role, writing, directing, staging and taking part? If you can answer yes to enough of these questions, then go for Drama. My DDs loved it.

raspberryrippleicecream Thu 14-Jan-16 17:40:46

They don't have to be expensive theatre trips. DD has done 1 trip, not too expensive, from a range of options. The cheapest of which was half price ticket to school musical.

BackforGood Thu 14-Jan-16 18:26:31

With hindsight, my dd wishes she'd never chosen drama due to the reliance on group work. She is fine working with other people (does loads through Scouts etc), but what she found was the drama option seemed to attract a higher than proportionate number of the pupils who just thought it would be a lesson they could doss around in. She was very frustrated with the whole situation.

bojorojo Thu 14-Jan-16 20:13:22

Poor teaching then BackforGood and low expectations. Good teachers really cut that out and get the students to focus and cut out the arguments. We were amazed how much some students grew up during this process and worked really effectively with each other to meet the deadlines.

BackforGood Thu 14-Jan-16 23:06:01

Quite possibly, but in other subjects where she had less than perfect teaching, she could influence the amount of extra work she put in, in drama she couldn't. Obviously, with an excellent teacher, the situation could have been different, but just relaying her experience as one thing to possibly consider.
My ds (who at the time really wanted to be an actor 'when he grew up') didn't do drama at GCSE, but got some superb experience and learning through doing drama as an outside activity - not for an exam, but for the pure enjoyment of it. It's another thing for the OP to possible think about smile

Bunbaker Thu 14-Jan-16 23:12:14

"but a major influence is the quality of teaching"


A lot of people at DD's school did badly in drama last year because the teacher missed out one of the topics on the syllabus. There were some pretty talented pupils doing the course who are members of various local theatre groups. These students scraped a C, but many failed.

Devilishpyjamas Fri 15-Jan-16 20:04:51

Ds2 loves drama. He is in year 9, but already doing GCSE (they do GCSE's over 3 years at his school). The spec is not known yet (ridiculous).

bojorojo Fri 15-Jan-16 21:34:19

Plenty do it over 2 years so I think they may just have to move to a 2 year course like many other schools. Not the end of the world.

Devilishpyjamas Fri 15-Jan-16 21:39:17

I wan't suggesting it was! Just saying that the spec for GCSE's for current year 9's isn't known yet (for any subject judging by conversations at parent's evening last week). A lot of the teachers seemed to think this was ridiculius.

IguanaTail Fri 15-Jan-16 21:44:08

Here's the spec - have a look:

IguanaTail Fri 15-Jan-16 21:45:23

It will be 60% final exam and 40% practical. The grade boundaries are anyone's guess.

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