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Performing Arts

Key Stage 3


Students at Melbourn participate in one hour of dance per week during KS3. Our pupils are lucky enough to have a purpose built dance studio, complete with an LED lighting system, surround speakers, mirrors and a sprung floor. Throughout Year 7, students are taught the basic building blocks of dance, learning about the six body actions, and how to incorporate relationships into their own choreography. Students learn a range of dance styles throughout their first year, including gumboot, Bollywood, street dance and a gestural/pedestrianised contemporary form. As the year progresses, students will learn more about performance skills, and how to perform to an audience effectively. Students work on their own performance pieces throughout each half term, developing a finished dance routine that demonstrates the idea or theme for that particular unit. Year 7 students are encouraged to join in with extra-curricular dance, which takes place on a Wednesday half termly.

During Year 8, students continue to build on their understanding of choreography, learning to implement more advanced techniques. Students are also introduced to a range of professional pieces by leading choreographers in the dance industry, learning repertoire from these pieces, whilst also beginning to understand how to create movement in the style of the choreographer. Students learn about chance methods, and how to choreograph movements using methods that just relate to chance and probability.

Throughout Year 9, students are slowly introduced to more GCSE specific pieces of work and choreographic techniques, including motif and development. Students learn how to use a stimulus to base their movement around, and what the different types of stimuli are.

Some key skills developed during dance include creativity, problem solving, confidence and teamwork. Students work in mixed groups throughout KS3, learning to work with other people and how to use the strengths of themselves and others in their performances. Students develop valuable skills that will help to improve their learning and confidence throughout other subjects. 

KS3 Assessment

Dance is assessed every half term and works on levels 1-10. Despite the heavy nature of group work, students are individually assessed in following 5 strands: Practical Performance, Creative Process, Evaluation, Leadership and Teamwork and Participation and Attitude. The use of IT is regularly used to help students self-assess, understanding their strengths and how to improve their weaknesses. 


All Key Stage 3 (KS3) students have one hour of drama per week.

The start of the Year 7 curriculum is aimed at fostering confidence in speech and movement through improvised activities, games and exercises. The students will learn to work together within a creative setting and understand the basic rules for working in the theatre, towards performance. As the KS3 curriculum develops, the students work with many different dramatic texts and stimuli, focusing on the development of characterisation, acting, empathy and portrayal. Students will be taught how to appreciate theatre performance and understand how to demonstrate their knowledge through both written and practical work.

Lessons will focus on three key strands: Making, Performing and Evaluating, as outlined by the Arts Council. Students work in mixed groups in order to develop positive working relationships with others in the class, creating and encouraging confidence and respect.

Through these studies students gain a practical understanding of different types of people and different situations in which they live. This widens their appreciation for others and enables them to create considered and thoughtful theatre.

KS3 Assessment

Drama is assessed using MVC Drama levels ranging from 3c – 8a, Level 9 being an exceptional performance. Within KS3 we expect the levels to range from 4c-6-7a.

The levels used are adapted from the Arts Council's ‘Drama in Schools’ Levels.


All KS3 students have one hour of Music per week. The aim of the KS3 music course is to develop innate creativity besides equipping our students with the skills to participate in a wide range of music-making activities. Much of what is done in music has benefits to students' wider learning and will hopefully have a positive impact Post-16 and beyond.

The three main components of the course are performing, composing and listening. Students are given an assessment stamp for each piece of work which is kept in their personal recording sheet. Students all know their KS3 target and regularly monitor their progress using go4schools.

KS3 Assessment

  • Performing voice work - solo and ensemble singing
  • Keyboard work - exploring sounds, scales, playing with both hands
  • Instrumental playing - playing tuned classroom instruments; encouraging students who already play; encouraging students to play an orchestral instrument
  • Composition keyboard work - exploring note clusters, drones, ostinatos, chord sequences
  • Music ICT - using templates to explore Sequel and LOGIC software
  • Notation - traditional and graphic score notation is used to record ideas
  • Regular listening - wide ranging repertoire is linked to the theme of each unit
  • Listening exam - students respond formally to a range of listening stimuli.

Music levels range from 3c – 8a, Level 9 being an exceptional performance. At MVC some students join Year 7 after having played an instrument for several years, while other students may be just getting started. The Music curriculum offers a variety of levels to work at in any given practical task. All students are capable of meaningful achievement in Music and after each unit evaluation, students should be able to recognise their achievements and overall progress.

Key Stage 4


Students at MVC study AQA GCSE Dance at KS4. The AQA specification enables our students to achieve their potential, with an 80% weighting on the practical element of dance including performance and choreography. The remaining 20% is based on theory, including appreciation of two professional dance works, and students’ own practice.

Students will study GCSE for two years. The course outline is as follows:

Unit 1 (20%) – Written Paper
The written paper is taken at the end of Year 11 and is based on two professional dance works studied throughout the GCSE, students’ own practice, lifestyle of a healthy dancer, and students’ choreographic and creative ideas.

Unit 2 (20%) – Set Study
The Set Study is a nationally taught dance across all schools offering GCSE Dance. Students learn a set routine which is then performed and externally assessed.

Unit 3 (20%) – Performance Piece
This unit is again based on performance. Students work in groups, though are marked individually. Students are marked on their ability to communicate the dance idea, focus, projection and sensitivity to others.

Unit 4a (15%) – Solo Composition
The solo is the first unit undertaken at GCSE. Students are taught three motifs, which they are then required to develop, putting their own individual mark on the movement. Students are assessed on their choreographic ability.

Unit 4b (25%) – Group Choreography
This is the heaviest weighting of all. Students are required to independently create a group choreography based on a stimulus of their choice. This is again assessed on students’ choreographic ability.

Assessment in KS4:

Students are assessed within the AQA examination guidelines.

Practical work is internally moderated by an AQA examiner.

Extra curricular opportunities:

The Enrichment programme at the college enables the department to offer a range of Performing Arts activities throughout the key stages.

On a Monday and Tuesday the department collaborate to offer the whole school production. Previous shows have included the Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, and Oliver! We are currently working on The Wizard of Oz which will be performing in February 2017. Students are able to be on stage in the performance, or alternatively become trained and work as a member of our Back Stage Crew.

On a Wednesday we have, for Key Stage 3, the opportunity to learn Steel Pans, or Dance club. Thursday we have the Primary Alliance Dance Company which is Year 7 and students from local primaries collaborating together. Drama club for all students is also on offer on a Thursday, as is MVC Choir. On a Friday we finish the week with MVC Orchestra for all years and GCSE Dance choreography, which can include other Key Stage students, as well. We have a full programme on offer, all activities available are free of charge and are all-inclusive. 

Competition Squad (Melbourn Village Dance Company)

Competition Squad is an extra-curricular dance club for those who have a gift for dance. We meet every Monday to choreograph new routines, which are performed in various venues and theatres, most recently including the Corn Exchange in Cambridge, and the Bedford Theatre. We enter as many youth dance platforms as possible, offering excellent performance opportunities for aspiring young dancers.

Primary Alliance Dance Company (PADCo)

PADCo is dance club that is offered to primary school children in the surrounding area. The classes are completely free and are an excellent way for young students to meet new people, as well as being introduced to secondary schools. The classes are focused on learning new dance skill, creating and performing. PADCo most recently performed at theEnergise Festival at Swavesey Village College.

Showcase Evenings

Students studying dance at KS4 are required to perform in our annual GCSE Dance Showcase. This provides a sharing platform, whereby friends and family are invited to observe what students have been working on over the course of the GCSE. The performance also acts as a mock exam, which is a great way to prepare for the moderation process.


We are fortunate enough at Melbourn Village College to have our own purpose built dance studio. The studio boasts a professional sprung floor, mirrors, a wired stereo system and a projector screen which enables effective viewing for professional works and dance clips. With larger scale performances, investment has been made over the past year on stage lighting both in the hall, and we are thrilled that the students will get to not only benefit but also learn the skills involved in stage production.

The importance of performing is integral to the subject. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning every lesson.

Important websites


MVC students study AQA GCSE Drama at KS4. The AQA specification enables our students to achieve their potential and allows for a balanced curriculum, which focuses on both performing and the understanding and appreciation of playwrights and theatre.

Assessment in KS4:

Students are assessed within the AQA examination - Current arrangements are-

External Examination – Written Paper – Unit 1 – 40% of the final mark

Internal Examination - Practical and Written Log -Unit 2 - 60% of final mark - externally moderated by AQA

Extra curricular opportunities:

Please see the programme listed under Key Stage 3.

MVC Drama Company (After school)

Established in 2006, the MVC Drama Company is the collective name for students who simply have a desire to perform to an audience. We have rehearsed and performed many different plays at MVC, such as Phil Ridley’s ‘SparkleShark’, William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and Judith Johnson’s ‘Scary Play’. Students are invited to audition for productions and are selected for their suitability during the process. We ask that Students, before auditioning, understand the importance of commitment to a production and the responsibility they have to the cast as a team member.

Showcase Evenings

Students studying drama in both KS3 and KS4 have the opportunity to perform at the Showcase evenings. Traditionally the KS3 evening takes place in February and is a mix of both classwork and drama club offerings. The evening is open to all performers and is always an enjoyable and successful event. The KS4 evening normally takes place in April/May and allows the audience to see the excellent pieces the students have prepared for their GCSE Examination. The evening(s) are reserved for GCSE students as they perform often challenging and substantial pieces to family and friends.


Over the past few years’ drama has been taught in many different places around the school, and after our travels we have decided enough is enough, and we have settled down in our very own studio! The drama studio is attached to the stage and allows students to access a vaster area during lessons. Students are able to access the lighting both in the dedicated studio, but also within the stage and hall. Investment has been made over the past year on Stage lighting both in the studio and hall, and we are thrilled that the students will get to not only benefit but also learn the skills involved in stage production.

The importance of performing is integral to the subject. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their learning every lesson. They also have the opportunity to involve other lesson disciplines such as Dance, Music and Visual Arts within performance.

Important websites

Local Theatres

Local drama groups and schools – both amateur and professional

Please note this is for information only.

Melbourn Amateur Dramatic Society (MADS)!/MelbournAmateurDramaticsSociety/info


Students study the OCR syllabus which works well with the ethos of MVC Music which seeks to combine the necessary traditional elements within an overall progressive curriculum. KS4 students relish the smaller teaching groups, the additional time and the wonderful facilities that the department enjoys.

Music in KS4 – KS4 Overview click here to view

OCR Music Syllabus:

Current Year 10

Current Year 11

Assessment in KS4:

Year 10 students complete regular assignments that are designed to teach the course through integrated listening and practical activities. Performance and composition work is graded using OCR criteria and during Year 10 Music students use go4schools to track their overall attainment level in the subject. In Year 11 all assessments are part of the 60% coursework element of the students final GCSE grade. It is essential therefore that Year 10 students become independent LOGIC learners and get the most out of their school provided instrumental tuition.

Extra curricular opportunities:

It is our wish that as many students as possible sample and then become involved in the musical life of the school. MVCi provides all students with the opportunity of playing an instrument at the college. Clicking on the MVCi link will reveal how the tuition is organised and how to apply for lessons.

Concerts are wonderful opportunities to get used to performing in public. Our audiences are welcoming and appreciative and students repeatedly sign up for the next concert because they both benefit musically and they have a good time! Every two years we send musicians to the continent to play and to experience the culture. Previous tours have gone to Germany, Holland, France and Belgium.

From September 2016, our highly successful 8.40 a.m. morning ensembles will move to after school. Our Reed, Flute and Brass ensembles will run from 3.45-4.15 and then come together as a wind band from 4.15-5.00.The Big Band will run on the same evening from 5.00-5.30.

Playing in Ensembles and Wind Bands motivates and accelerates musical progression. We therefore expect all orchestral Grade 2 standard and above instrumentalists to take part in Music School. It is the best part of being a musician! We also expect that all instrumentalists and singers will perform in scheduled school concerts. Again, the extra playing and performing raises standards and fosters self-confidence. The vast majority of our students enjoy the benefits of ensemble playing and positively shine in school concerts and tours!

Everybody is somebody