Visual and Performing Arts

Art, Drama, Music

Curriculum Team Leader

Mrs Emma Lattimore


Providing a creative outlet for students is vital to an inclusive education. At Tadcaster Grammar School we offer Art, Drama and Music. We are passionate about ‘Arts for All’. Our aim is to engage, inspire and empower our students, encouraging all to develop their creativity and foster an appreciation of the Arts and the world around them.


Drama Key Stage 3

All students at Key Stage 3 receive one drama lesson of one hour per week. Drama is assessed under three key areas: Creating, Performing and Evaluating. Drama teaches students a wide range of essential life skills including self-control, teamwork, creativity and the ability to communicate and present effectively. Students develop self-confidence and the ability to reflect on their own work and the work of others.

In Year 7 the curriculum lays the foundations of Drama. Topics covered include The Elements of Drama, Darkwood Manor, Melodrama and Puppetry.

In Year 8 students further develop their understanding of Drama through the following topics: Rats, Characterisation (duologues), Myths, The Party (devising drama from a stimulus).

The Year 9 curriculum prepares students for further study of Drama through learning about key playwrights and practitioners but also explores wider social, personal and cultural issues. Students learn about designing for the theatre, devising theatre and scriptwriting. Units include The Red Shoe (Brecht), Bouncers (John Godber) and Missing Dan Nolan (Mark Wheeler).

Drama GCSE

Students follow the AQA GCSE Drama specification. GCSE students receive 5 lessons of Drama per fortnight. The course requires students to develop acting, directing, design and devising skills. Students study and explore several complete play texts as well as learning how to devise their own drama. Students are assessed through three components. Component one is a written examination of 1 hour 45 minutes where students answer questions on a set text and a live theatre performance. Component two is a devising unit where students perform (or design for) a piece of theatre they have devised themselves and also complete a substantial devising log. Component three is a practical examination where students study a play text and perform two extracts or design for two extracts from the play.

Drama and Theatre Studies A-Level

Drama and Theatre Studies is offered post-16 following the AQA specification. The AQA A Level offers students a practical, theoretical and academic study of Drama and the Theatre. There are three components. Component 1 is a 3-hour written examination on two set texts and a live theatre performance. Component 2 requires students to devise their own substantial piece of theatre taking the ideas of recognised theatre practitioners into account. In addition to the final performance assessment students have to complete a working notebook detailing the development and realisation of ideas. Component three is a practical examination. Students perform an extract from a text and also complete a substantial portfolio (Reflective Report) detailing how they prepared the extract and two other extracts from two different plays.


Drama is taught by a team of subject-specialists in two dedicated large classrooms, both of which are decorated to facilitate the use of stage lighting. Simple stage lighting rigs are in both classrooms. Classes, rehearsals and productions also take place in the Main Hall, which has a stage, stage lighting and sound facilities. There is a small costume and prop store and the department has a dedicated stage technician to support staff and students in final performances.


The Drama department runs open-access drama clubs for Year 7, 8 and 9 at lunchtimes leading to performances and showcases throughout the year. Theatre productions are staged regularly including high-quality whole school musical productions in conjunction with the Music Department. Past productions include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wiz, Guys and Dolls and Lord of the Flies.


Year 7

Mexican Day of the Dead Masks

Students are inspired by the mexican festival. They take inspiration from sugar skulls, patterns and vibrant colours before creating their own day of the dead mask.

The Formal Elements: Fish Paintings

Students learn the Formal Elements of art: line, tone, colour, texture, pattern, shape and form. Students apply each of these disciplines when creating an accurate colour study of a tropical fish. They use a range of materials expertly to create surface pattern and texture, recording shape and detail with accuracy.

Exploring Other Cultures: Aboriginal Art

Students are inspired by ancient dreamtime stories when designing a composition for an aboriginal painting. They apply paint using a range of methods and experiment with mark making techniques including the classic aboriginal dots

Recording Shape and Form: Sustained Natural Form Study

Students produce a sustained and highly detailed study of a natural form using a range of media and techniques. They capture an accurate illustration of their object by closely considering Form, Tone, Proportion and Colour.

Year 8

Architecture & Perspective

Students will create studies of local architecture using the techniques and disciplines of formal perspective drawing. To begin they will practice both One and Two-point perspective techniques before applying the more challenging two-point perspective to a final assessed piece. Students will create accurate drawings with: sharp & precise lines; proportion and a high level of detail.

Hundertwasser Poly-Printing

Following on from the high challenge perspective studies the Hundertwasser prints allow students to capture images of buildings in a far looser and relaxed style. Students study the work of Hundertwasser before applying his style to their own work in the form of a print using Poly-Printing.

Food Glorious Food

Students select images of healthy/unhealthy foods and make numerous designs for sculpture – to be made from clay. Students learn the rules and methods of clay whilst building their models, which once ‘fired’ are painted and varnished to create a quality finish.

Keith Haring/Figurative Art

Students study the work of the artist Keith Haring. They produce a range of studies of figures – in particular body language and how body language and gestural marks can create stories in imagery. Students then work in groups to create large scale paintings.

Year 9

Clay Tag name plates

Students continue to learn clay sculpting techniques, building upon experience from year 8. They begin by producing a design for a name plate in 2D – inspired by street artists that use graffiti tag techniques. Students build a template from their designs and transfer into clay – building areas of 3D and applying a range of textures and patterns.  

Identity Illustration

Students learn composition and placement techniques whilst arranging shapes and objects for their illustration design. They gather their own sources to create work that represents elements of their lifestyle and personality. Tone is added in a stylized manner using fine liner pen to produce a high contrast image with a crisp and professional finish.

Kirsty Patterson: Still Life

Students produce a series of drawings that illustrate their aspirations. They work in the style of the artist considering composition and apply materials in layers using pencil line, watercolour, pen sketching and text keywords.

Celebrity Portraits

Shepard Fairey is a street artist famous for his portrait of Barack Obama with the slogan ‘Hope’. Students select a celebrity that they admire and produce a portrait in the same style – first posterizing the image before developing it into a painting using the artists trademark colours. They consider typeface when adding a slogan to their own image.


When opting for Art and Design students embark on a rich programme of study; producing work towards a minimum of three projects. The titles of these projects include: ‘Aztec Clay Pots’ (3D), ’I, Me  and Mine’ and ‘Surfaces’. In addition, they undertake an examination project – set by the examination board.

Students create work using a wide range of techniques. These can include painting, printmaking, drawing, textiles, photography, computer design, sculpture and mixed media. They are encouraged to develop work to their own strengths and tastes.

Students select a range of artists and craftspeople to inspire their work to ensure that they develop their own original ideas and outcomes.

At the end of year 11 students receive an externally set assignment. They then have  an eight week preparation time to develop work in response to a theme before producing a final outcome over a 10 hour (2 day) exam.

A Level

The Fine Art course at A Level provides students with the opportunity to learn and develop a range of skills in relation to drawing, painting, printmaking, photography and mixed media. This is taught through personal responses to a given theme e.g. ‘Secrets, codes and conventions’, and externally set assignments provided by the exam board. In the second year of the A’level course students devise their own personal project, that most suits their interests and skills, an extended piece of writing is completed to support their practical work.


Students produce a body of work through the use of sketchbooks for all units, following the art process from initial research and starting points, through experimentation and development towards a final response in the form of a finished piece. Alongside their own ideas, students research a wide range of relevant artists to gain inspiration for their own creative ideas and themes. Students are taught how to plan their projects carefully, creating detailed project maps and are supported to take creative leaps within their work to ensure challenge and adventure.


Sixth form students have access to their own dedicated Art studio, in which they can work alongside others in their free time. We have an annual Sixth Form Art trip, most recently visiting Madrid, and Venice, where students can gather sources, and visit Art Galleries and exhibitions to further their ideas.  


All students receive one hour of music a week in Years 7 – 9.

Key topics are as follows:

Year 7 – The Musical Elements, Speech Rhythms, Instruments of the Orchestra, Keyboard Skills 1

Year 8 – Latin Beat, Simple Chords, Keyboard Skills 2, The Blues, Rock Band Project

Year 9 – Caribbean Music, Variations, Music for Film, Keyboard Skills 3, Song Writing

Music GCSE

At GCSE we follow the AQA specification which comprises the three components below.

Component 1 – Understanding Music. Students listen to and identify key features of music from following areas of study:

AoS1 – Western Classical Tradition 1650-1910 including the study piece ‘Haydn’s Clock Symphony movement 2’

AoS2 – Popular Music including three study pieces from ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club’

AoS3 – Traditional Music

A0S4 – Western Classical Tradition Since 1910

Component 1 makes up 40% of the GCSE grade.

Component 2 – Performing Music. Students give a solo and group performance with a minimum combined time of 4 minutes.

Component 2 makes up 30% of the GCSE grade.

Component 3 – Composing music. Students submit 2 compositions. One of which is a free composition and one is in response to a given brief.

Component 3 makes up 30% of the GCSE grade.

Music A Level

We teach the AQA A level music specification which comprises the three components below.  We have a dedicated teaching space with piano, keyboards and music computers running sibelius and cubase software.

Component 1 – Appraising Music. Students listen to and analyse music from the following Areas of Study:

AoS1 – The Western Classical Tradition

AoS4 – Music for Theatre

AoS 5 – Jazz

Component 1 makes up 40% of the A level grade

Component 2 – Performance. Students give a performance lasting a minimum of ten minutes

Component 2 makes up 35% of the A level grade

Component 3 – Composition. Students submit 2 compositions. One of which is a free composition and one is in response to a given brief.

Component 3 makes up 25% of the A level grade


Students are encouraged to extend their musical experience and enjoyment by joining one or more of the groups which rehearse at lunchtime or after school each week. For instrumentalists there is a large Concert Band and a flourishing Big Band. For vocalist there are two choirs; Pop Choir and Chamber Choir. For pop musicians we have a Jam Club where students create their own pop bands. Alongside several smaller groups, including a Saxophone Ensemble and String Ensemble