Performing Arts

Mrs Harrison – Head of Performing Arts

Music and Drama are popular subjects at Holy Cross and our school productions and concerts are highly successful and are valued by the whole school community.


The music department is spacious and well-equipped. There is a main teaching room, a music technology suite, two practice rooms and a drum room. Pupils are able to use the practice facilities at lunch times to rehearse. Numerous extra-curricular activities and clubs are available.

Drama is taught in a brand new purpose drama and dance studio with sound, lighting and fully equipped dressing rooms.


Curriculum Plan



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At Key Stage 3, pupils are taught for 1 hour per week in years 7 and 9 and 1 hour per fortnight in year 8. The curriculum focuses on the three main skills of Performing, Composing and Listening & Appraising. Pupils use electronic keyboards in their music lessons as well as a variety of percussion instruments, band instruments and music technology. They also sing regularly in all years. The curriculum is tailored to give pupils access to a wide range of musical experiences including jazz and blues, world music and hip-hop as well as more traditional genres.

Musical Futures plays a strong part in the curriculum and pupils are encouraged to perform in groups. In Year 9, all pupils work in rock groups and learn basic skills on keyboard, vocals, electric guitar, bass guitar and drums. This allows them to develop their independent learning skills and progress at their own speed. Pupils learn to perform a number of well-known tunes and also compose their own songs in their bands. This culminates in a Battle of the Bands at the end of the year which is highly celebrated by the year group.

In Years 10 and 11, music is an option subject and pupils follow the OCR syllabus. They receive five hourly lessons per fortnight. The weightings are 30% performing and 30% composition (which take the form of coursework) and 40% listening and appraising (which is a terminal exam). All pupils are expected to be regularly receiving lessons on an instrument and developing their own practical skills outside the classroom. Pupils regularly attain above national averages at GCSE and many of these pupils achieve A*-A grades.


All pupils in Key Stage 3 study Drama via the carousel system. Drama is allocated a single period each week for a ten week block during each academic Year 7, 8 and 9.

Drama is traditionally a popular choice at GCSE and pupils currently study the Eduqas syllabus and are taught for three periods per week.

Curriculum: Key Stage 3

Year 7

Year Seven study Fairytales, incorporating G.C.S.E concepts such as; Still Image, Freeze Frame, Body as Prop and Thought Tracking.

Year 8

Year Eight begin to explore physical theatre, slow motion and further drama techniques through script work. This invites the pupils to blend and experiment with established structures whilst using G.C.S.E concepts such as; Plot and Action, Climax and Anti-climax and Pitch, Pace and Pause.

Year 9

In order to prepare the pupils for the rigours of KS4 Drama and to test their ability to work well collaboratively and with maturity, the year nine course asks them to explore a ASBO – ascripy written specifically with this age group in mind. Tackling issues such as bullyinh, anti-social behaviour and community. The pupils use concepts that they will need if they choose to take drama as an option at G.C.S.E.

Curriculum: Key Stage 4

Pupils who study drama at Holy Cross currently follow the Eduqas syllabus at KS4. The syllabus involves devising, practitioners, performance and a study of a set text.

Extra-curricular activities

The school has a long tradition of producing outstanding productions. Last academic year undertook a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat featuring a live professional band. Previous shows include Buddy, Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar and Oliver!

There is a school choir, school band, woodwind group. There is also a brass band where pupils are taught to play a brass instrument in a band setting with a specialised brass coach (who is a member of the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band). Pupils are loaned the brass instruments to improve their individual skills.

Pupils perform regularly at events throughout the school year, including Presentation Evening, Christmas celebrations and Battle of the Bands. Music also plays and important part in the liturgical life of the school and the outstanding school choir is central to this. The end of the academic year is celebrated with a Summer Serenade Concert showcasing the musical talent in school.

At Christmas, pupils perform in the Christmas Carol Service which involves a band consisting of current pupils, ex-pupils and parents, making links with the wider community. Pupils also perform at a Christmas carol service for the whole school which takes place at St. Gregory’s church.

As well as Drama and Musical Theatre performances throughout the year, there are trips to the theatre each year that are open to all students, along with theatre groups visiting the school to perform to our students.

Instrument Tuition

Peripatetic instrumental teachers visit the department on a weekly basis providing tuition on piano, strings, drums, woodwind, guitar and voice. Lessons take place during the school day and are rotated to avoid missing other subjects. Parents are asked to pay a contribution towards the cost.

Why we study Performing Arts

  • To create successful, independent learners, who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve their best.
  • To create confident individuals, who are able to perform, listen and compose safely and find healthy fulfillment from discussing creative ideas.
  • To develop responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to an increasing creative society.

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