Performing Arts

This course is designed to be a natural progression for those who have studied Drama and/or Dance at KS4. Students develop their knowledge and skills, along with an understanding of their application in Industry, through a variety of practical tasks and units, within a diverse range of genres, cultures and contexts..

Exam board: Pearson
Syllabus title: Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Performing Arts
Course code: QAN:601/7233/2

Course Content

You can choose to either specialise in Drama, in Dance or a mixture of both disciplines. All students, however, study the same units, as below.

Unit 1 – Investigating Practitioners’ Work (90GLH)

Understanding the contextual factors that have influenced and informed the work of performing arts practitioners has an important role in developing your own professional practice.  In this course you will gain an understanding of these features, such as how practitioners respond to a theme, have different performance styles, different genres and different purposes. A personal evaluation of the work is important; judgements need to be based on effective research and secure critical analysis.  You will study a broad range of practitioners (in both practical and written work) and then write an extended essay, in response to a theme provided by the board, to be submitted for external assessment, following a 4 week period of research and preparatory work.

Unit 2 – Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance (90GLH)

This is a practical unit. You will explore technical performance skills with a focus on understanding, developing, applying and then reviewing, skills and techniques in at least two dance performance styles. You will then perform as part of your final exam, a piece of dance repertoire in a set style.

Unit 3 – Group Performance Workshop (120GLH)

Students explore and integrate creative and physical skills and techniques, working collaboratively to create a performance in response to a given stimulus.

Unit 4 – Optional Unit (60GLH)

Dance students can choose from either Tap, Jazz, Street or Contemporary

Drama students can choose from either Screen Acting, Interpreting Classical Text for Performance or Acting Skills.

This unit will be decided based upon the group’s or individual’s strengths and will be discussed with the teacher.

Assessment and weighting

There are 4 units, of which 3 are mandatory (units 1-3) and 2 are externally assessed (units 1+3).  Mandatory Content (83%) and External assessment (58%).
The units are weighted according the number of guided learning hours they take (GLH).  This is in brackets next to the units above.  You can therefore see that the most significant unit is Unit 3 – Group Performance Workshop.  Grades are awarded as Pass, Merit and Distinction and are fully integrated within the UCAS structure and points scheme.


Regular trips to the theatre and to dance performances are an integral part of the course, as students are required to listen and appreciate the context of Dance and Drama of all genres.  We also usually offer the opportunity to participate in a Performing Arts trip, which will develop workshop skills.

Future opportunities/ career

This course automatically leads to courses and careers at University or Performing Arts Colleges which are focused on Dance and Drama Skills.  In addition, this subject builds performance and creative skills which many students find beneficial in supporting other subjects, not just in other areas such as Drama and Music, but especially those involving creativity, presentation and interaction with others.  It works well for those students who will be interested in careers in the Performing Arts and those who are interested in careers which require creativity

Qualifications/ School record


  • 5 in English
  • 95% attendance in Year 11
  • Good attitude to learning in Performing Arts at KS3 and/or KS4
  • Merit or above in Performing Arts (Drama or Dance) Pathways


  • External Dance or Drama qualifications
  • May also be a Musician or have other interests in Performing Arts


  • Hard working
  • Sociable
  • Confident
  • Positive/enthusiastic



  • Team worker
  • Confident performer (in school performances or outside of school) 
  • Creative
  • Organised


  • May also be an actor or dancer
  • Good to have a basic understanding of music theory



  • Have performed in a classroom and/or professional setting (theatre or outside venue)


  • A member of a Performing Arts group outside of school
  • Performed in/out of school
  • Experienced professional performances
  • Experience in a range of different styles