The secret to a great Key Stage 3 Drama Curriculum

If I could have a pound for every time I have had to look through, consider, doubt and worry about my Key Stage 3 curriculum I’d be a rich man.

Key Stage 2 is easy in comparison. There Drama is successfully used as a pedagogy and a discrete subject. Teachers and students frequently interchange between the two. The boundaries are blurred and because the young people involved are that much closer to being familiar with play and play acting they accept this and move on.

Key Stage 4 is also easy in comparison; the vast majority of students want to the subject, the syllabus pretty much tells you the content you have to cover and the focus in much clearer on drama as a discreet subject.

However, Key Stage 3 really is the problem child of education. There are so many changing variables to contend with, starting with the changes in age, attitude and finishing with the transition of focus from pedagogy to subject. These have been compounded further by changes to both the curriculum and assessment.

If that wasn’t difficult enough, since Drama isn’t part of the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3, there isn’t even a curriculum to follow, a set of expectations or pre-existing assessment criteria for Drama Teachers to use and fall back on.

If your educational institutions are in any way like the schools I’ve taught in over the last 20 years, reviews of the Key Stage 3 curriculum have always been a feature of departmental and leadership agenda. And, if your experience has been like mine, I’ve often been left scratching my head whist the other Heads of Department go off to consult their published Key Stage 3 curriculum and assessment criteria.

A few years ago I started to work on a different approach to both planning and assessing the needs and requirements of a Key Stage 3 Drama curriculum. In many respects, the freedom of not being on the National Curriculum allows Heads of Drama to create a bespoke Key Stage 3 curriculum that caters for both the cohort and the expectations of the curriculum with regards to what syllabus the students do for Key Stage 4 and their likely outcomes.

I’m going to be sharing this work at a workshop in Stratford-Upon-Avon on Saturday 11th November 2017 as part of a day’s CPD run by National Drama. To book on to this course please visit their website.

I’m also going to be talking about it at the British Schools in the Middle East Music and Drama Conference in Dubai on Thursday 23rd November 2017. You can find out more about that conference here.

If you would like me to help you with your Key Stage 3 curriculum then please get in contactin your school via skype, facetime and