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The performing arts curriculum allows the students to feel connected to one another and less isolated. Through the arts we share an emotion, and that sharing connects us with each other. The performing arts curriculum encourages a team spirit which is an important socialising force. Students will find their identity in realising their aspirations and ability to express themselves with creativity and imagination.



The KS3 drama curriculum has been carefully designed to inspire creativity and to raise the aspirations of our students. Each lesson provides opportunities for students to make and understand theatre, recognising it as a practical art form in which ideas and meaning are communicated to an audience through choices of form, style and convention. The students explore three main theatrical areas: Character Development, Physical Theatre and Scripted Text. Some of the skills and knowledge students will explore and understand are:


  • The social, cultural and historical context of theatre scripts, themes and/or a range of stimuli.

  • Working collaboratively to generate, develop and communicate ideas.

  • Develop vocal and physical interpretations of a range of characters.

  • Contribute as an individual to a theatrical performance.

  • Analyse and evaluate the process of creating live theatre.


The KS3 dance curriculum has been designed to motivate and engage students to express themselves through creative movement. Allowing opportunities for students to explore and develop their own ideas, they will learn the basics of how to create a piece of dance through simple actions which are then further developed using different technical devices and performance skills. Students will participate in physical exercise in a fun yet creative way, inspiring a wider awareness of the human body and it’s capabilities in dance performance.

Some of the skills and knowledge pupils will learn are:


  • A conscious awareness of the reasons why we dance.

  • A brief background of dance styles. 

  • Exploration of themes and stimuli to create work.

  • Working collaboratively as part of a group to create and communicate ideas. 

  • Observing peer groups in dance practice/performance scenarios - watching dance and giving feedback. 

  • Opportunities to embed and demonstrate a range of physical skills across different styles.


The KS3 music curriculum has been designed to give students the opportunity to explore music both practically and theoretically. Each lesson allows pupils to understand and practise the many facets of music in a number of contexts, and they are realised through performance and composition tasks, as well as music appreciation and listening tasks. The students will explore a number of contexts in music, such as Music in the Modern World, Music for the Moving Image, Popular Music, Rhythms Around the World, Songwriting and Improvisation. Some skills that they will learn include:


  • An understanding of the context and culture behind certain musical products.

  • The development of performance skills and an appreciation of performance equality.

  • The development of instrumental techniques.

  • Practice in work collaboratively in composition and performance contexts.

  • An analytical approach to listening to music from a range of styles.

Peripatetic Tuition

Guitar- Guitar lessons at MCA provide students with the chance to develop an extensive musical knowledge and the skills and techniques associated with the instrument. In lessons we look at the different styles of music and the backgrounds of many Guitar players and their impact on popular music. With 20 years experience in teaching and performing our Guitar tutor is committed to passing on his knowledge and expertise, with a focus on having fun and working together and to give MCA students a strong sense of confidence and achievement.  

Drumming - In a relaxed and friendly environment our Drum Kit lessons give our students the opportunity to develop their musical ability and creativity, with a focus on developing coordination and embedding a strong sense of timing and rhythmic awareness.  With his many years of experience in the music industry, our drum teacher is committed to providing MCA’s pupils with the skills and knowledge required to exceed on the instrument, by developing their technical ability, exploring the history of the Drum Kit and developing the confidence to perform in front of an audience. 

Singing- Singing lessons at MCA are about more than just the product. Singing lessons engage the entire body and students will be instructed on correct posture, breathing and vowel shaping. “What will students sing?” This has a lot to do with the goals of each student. The singing teacher will have repertoire suggestions but will always support the students' own choices and creativity. It’s important to know that although our singing teacher is there to help students improve, he will never make them feel like they aren’t good enough to sing. The singing teacher will work with where the students are at and help them get to the next level.


BTEC Performing Arts Tech Award

At KS4 we follow the BTEC Performing Arts Tech Award. Divided into three components the course aims to widen students’ practical understanding of theatre. Students develop knowledge and understanding through applying their learning to work-related contexts, and gain the skills they need for further study and employment. 


Aiming to provide a first glimpse into the professional sector, these qualifications assess students through assignments and tasks (including performance) rather than traditional exams. The three-block structure, explore, develop and apply, allows students to build on and embed their knowledge. Through their two year of study they will grow in confidence and put into practice what they have learned. The assessment structure is also designed so that students can build on what they learn, and develop their skills, as they move through the course. 


Their core learning is strengthened and supported through a variety of educational visits, visiting professionals and our after school skills zone where students can work closely with staff to deepen their understanding and gain personalised support.


RSL Acting

At KS4 students will follow the RSL Level 2 certificate in Creative & Performing Arts. The qualification contains 50% externally assessed (core unit) content and 50% internally assessed content. Externally assessed core units include timed assessments under controlled conditions based on assignments set and marked by RSL. The remaining unit will be assessed by the subject teacher, both units must pass in order to be awarded the certificate. There are 3 bands of assessment for this qualification, Pass, Merit and Distinction. This qualification offers practical structured learning with the flexibility to specialise in disciplines directly relevant to the performing arts industries. These units provide basic understanding of concepts such as the nature of events, planning, repertoire, rehearsal schedules, health and safety, equipment and reviewing performances, and solid grounding of practical/technical skills. Providing skills not only suited for the subject but transferable skills that can be accessed throughout other subjects, further education and employment. 

Their core learning is strengthened and supported through a variety of educational visits, visiting professionals and our after school skills zone where students can work closely with staff to deepen their understanding and gain personalised support.

RSL Dance

RSL Dance students will follow the Level 2 certificate pathway outlined by RSL Creative & Performing Arts. The qualification consists of 2 Units, the first being a 50% Internal assessment (optional) and the second a 50% External assessment (Core). 


There are 3 bands of assessment; Pass, Merit & Distinction. The externally assessed units involve timed assessments under controlled conditions based on criteria set and marked by RSL whilst internal units will be assessed by the subject teachers themselves. In order for the student to receive a certificate they must pass both units.


The units offers students an insight into the performing arts industry as a dancer, equipping them with the essential skills and tools necessary for future success in the industry as a dancer or choreographer. Students will develop an awareness of their mental, emotional and physical self whilst studying in the art of dance. RSL pathway is an opportunity for learners to take part in dance, understanding how to develop the body through warm ups, technique classes, and effective dance training. Whilst also learning how to cultivate creativity, communicate ideas and express their individual voice using movement as the medium. 

GCSE Music

KS4 music students can choose to study Edexcel GCSE at the beginning of Y9. The course is suited to all students who are particularly strong in performing music, from Singers to Pianists. The skills and knowledge learnt throughout the course enables all students to become a fully rounded musician and also is a good stepping stone to continue with music study at KS5. Some Skills and Knowledge gained on this course are:


  • In depth Musical Vocabulary

  • 8 Set works (2 from each study area - Instrumental Music,Vocal Music,Stage & Screen & Fusion)

  • Dictating Music

  • Analysing Set Works

  • Highly Developed listening Skills

  • Building Confidence & Resilience

  • Music Theory

  • How to Compose


The course consists of 3 units: Performing (30%) Composing (30%) Listening & Appraising (40%)

BTEC Music Tech Award


KS4 Music student can opt to complete the BTEC Tech Award for Music Practise in which pupils will develop their performance, listening, composition and music technology skills, and practice them in modern contexts. The course is divided into 3 components. The first provides pupils with the opportunity to learn about a range of musical styles and genres, both theoretically and practically. The second is designed as a series of individual projects for pupils, in which their skills in performance, composition and technology are enhanced. The third is an external examination, in which pupils will recapitulate skills learned in the previous two units. For all units, pupils will complete portfolios that demonstrate their ability and understanding of music practice.

LCM Music Vocals


This London College of Music Examinations syllabus is designed to prepare students for the Graded Examinations, Recital Grades, Leisure Play and Performance Awards in Popular Music Vocals awarded by the University of West London Qualifications. This new syllabus aims to give pop vocalists the opportunity to progress, through a series of graded exams, to become an accomplished and informed pop singer. The idea is to equip these vocalists with the tools to become a confident performer, true to their own style and personality, and a musician who can communicate with other musicians, and explain themselves and their music in appropriate language. The repertoire offered in the LCM Handbooks is varied in genre and in feel, giving candidates the opportunity to not only demonstrate their ability, but also to demonstrate their personality and unique style both vocally and visually. The concept of delivering a performance that is individual and personal is emphasised throughout the grades, with a focus on both visual and vocal performance elements. Just as every pop vocalist has their own style and personality, they also have personal needs and demands when approaching graded exams. This syllabus offers the opportunity for vocalists to focus on performance only through to embracing the broad requirements of the Graded Exams, encompassing elements such as Sight Singing and Improvisation that are useful and rewarding to a pop vocalist.

RSL Music

KS4 music students can chose to study RSL Level 2 Music Practitioners Technical Award. This course is best suited for our instrumentalists (drummers and guitarists). Some of the skills required for this course are:


  • Appropriate knowledge of repertoire for performance. 

  • Understanding the nature of the performance and the performance environment.

  • Understanding of the relevant personal, musical and peripheral equipment required for performance. 

  • Ability to perform repertoire as required.

  • Ability to safely and efficiently set up personal equipment for performance as required.

  • Strategies for overcoming nerves.  

  • Techniques for communicating with other musicians/the audience and presentation skills.

The course consists of three core units (two internally assessed and one externally assessed). These include: Instrumental Study, Music Knowledge and Live Music Performance.


Our peripatetic staff have many years experience in guiding their pupils in external examinations through various boards, such as RGT, LCM and RockSchool. They maintain a high standard of excellence, with many pupils passing with distinction. 


At MCA there is a focus on live ensemble performance, through running Rock Band workshops, Guitar ensembles and a Samba Band. Our Singers, Guitarists and Drummers are learning the skills required to work together and be creative and supportive with one another, alongside developing their musical ability. 


Drama: Year 7 students are baselined over a 6-week period. They are assessed across four main categories including exploring, developing, performing and identifying.


Music: Year 7 students are baselined at the beginning of the year. They are assessed across three main categories including listening, composing and performing. Students throughout year 7 and 8 will be recorded performing as a class, group or pair work showcasing their own compositions or a piece of work given to the group.  At the end of each topic all students will have been recorded or peer assessed. The recordings will be stored on google drive and shared with relevant members of staff and also self and peer assessment grid which will be kept in the student’s folders to show progress. 


Dance: Year 7 students are baselined over a 6-week period. They are assessed across four main categories including exploring, developing, performing and identifying.


Drama, Dance and Music: Assessment criteria (MCA steps) and specialist skills are shared with students in every lesson. At the end of each half term, KS3 students are assessed using the subject specific steps. The performing arts department use an internal tracker to monitor progress and attainment. 

Drama and Dance: Students in year 7 and 8 complete an assessment piece every half term. This normally consists of a performance/showcase of work and end of term evaluation. By the end of each term, all students will have been recorded in a full practical lesson so that progress and attainment can be viewed and moderated appropriately. This footage will be stored on google classroom and shared with the relevant members of staff for standardisation and moderation purposes. 

The assessment steps have been carefully designed for students to meet achievable targets at KS3, creating clear pathways for KS4.


Performing Arts staff moderate and standardise together to ensure consistency across the department. 


Evidence for internal scrutiny Drama and Dance:

  • Footage of practical lessons stored every term

  • End of topic evaluation with teacher feedback

  • Overall mark on internal tracker


Evidence for internal scrutiny Music:

  • Workbooks to record listening diaries or key terms. 

  • Recordings of practical work.

  • Overall mark on internal tracker.


The Performing Arts Department have many partnerships with external agencies across Manchester. Some of these include: Manchester International Festival, Z-Arts, Manchester College, HOME, The Royal Exchange, Oldham Coliseum, Mad Theatre, Evolve Theatre and Chameleon Dance Company. We like to work closely with these companies who provide inspiring and exhilarating workshops for our students across KS3 and KS4. Creating and maintaining partnerships with these agencies are important to us. They give our students many opportunities to excel within the arts and allows them to consider a range of career prospects for the future.


The Performing Arts Department aim to take students to the theatre as often as possible. Students can experience ‘in the moment’ excitement and electricity of a live performance, analysing the actors, relationships and themes of a play. The last piece we saw was ‘INUK’, a beautiful piece by Studio Orka, staged right here on the academy’s grounds as part of MIF.


The Performing Arts Department have an upstanding reputation for hosting high quality performance events throughout the year. Some of these events include Singer of the Year, Young Singer of the Year, Creative Arts Showcase, Words of Music and KS4 Performance evenings. All students involved are given the opportunity to show off their wonderful talents, whilst experiencing how much hard work, enthusiasm and dedication is needed to put on a show.