“Dance at Weatherhead is dazzling, dynamic & diverse.”
‘Dance enables you to lose yourself and find yourself at the same time’
Our intention as a Dance Department is to build on existing knowledge and skills. This is to ensure the delivered curriculum provides extension and challenge for all students. We want to motivate, encourage flair and inspire creativity. We want to provide artistic exposure whilst developing curiosity. We aim to guide our students to enable them to become creators, celebrate individuality, nurture cultural understanding, encourage artistic appreciation and build self-confidence and awareness. We encourage students to be brave and take creative risks in devising imaginative choreography, whilst appreciating the importance of developing discipline and technical skills through structure, providing a safe environment for our students.
We ensure our curriculum provides opportunities for students to perform advanced dance techniques whilst covering a range of dance styles and forms. Ensuring we teach to the guidance of the National Curriculum, we aim to deliver a smooth transition from Key Stage 2 into Key Stage 3, offering progression for all students.
We are advocates for physical and mental well-being. We value the skill of reflection and the process of self-development. It is important for our students to understand how to critique their own and others’ performances and composition. We want students to be empathetic and challenge their self-reflection and interpretation. We challenge students to respond to the world around them, engaging in different cultures and historical events. We are inclusive in our teaching and modify the curriculum to ensure all students participate irrespective of their abilities.
Dance is a medium for expression and artistry.
Our Schemes of work introduce students to physical, technical, expressive, mental and analytical skills in Dance. In Year 7 we start by delivering ‘Matilda’ the Musical Theatre unit as a framework to introduce skills and techniques such as; actions, dynamics, dance space, group work, collaboration and dance relationships.
As students arrive from KS2, we have a baseline assessment on their third week at Weatherhead, where we assess the students’ abilities to demonstrate movement, work as a team and create choreography. This provides us with the knowledge we need to adapt the curriculum according to their needs, allowing every student to be challenged accordingly.
Throughout KS3, students are encouraged to develop their own choreography, using dance actions, dynamics, spatial elements and dance relationships. In addition, they are introduced to a range of stimuli and learn how to use them to create their own work. Throughout KS3, 4 and 5, students experience different dance styles, exploring the culture and history behind them. Lessons are practical and engaging but also structured – safe dance practice is applied, ensuring students appreciate the importance of warming up and working safely.
As a department, we have high expectations of behaviour and engagement, from KS3 onwards. The structure and routines we use for our lesson format, allows for a safe space for students to explore creativity, whilst building their confidence.
Our curriculum is all inclusive. We provide differentiated movements in our teacher led routines which caters for low ability students and challenges the gifted and talented dancers. We give leadership roles to students who thrive from responsibility and we encourage non-practical students to take active roles in lessons. Where students may have low confidence or ability, we provide extra resources to scaffold their learning. Where students are gifted and talented, we provide extension tasks, leadership tasks and use them as demonstrators throughout lessons.
At the end of every unit of work, students take part in practical assessments, sharing what they have developed and presenting their disciplinary knowledge for Dance. This gives the opportunity for students to demonstrate their progress in their physical, technical, expressive and mental skills.Throughout each unit the students engage in self assessment, reflection and identifying their skills against a success criteria. They have time to apply feedback and improve their performances before their formative assessment, allowing the students to take pride in their work. As teachers, we use the assessments to acknowledge students’ progress and identify targets to include in our teaching going forward. We also encourage the enthusiastic students to join our extra-curricular activities and identify the gifted and talented students who can help our A Level Dancers in their group choreographies.
GCSE and A Level Dancers follow the AQA specification – the KS3 curriculum ensures they are equipped with experience and understanding of the knowledge required. From year 7 onwards we ensure the substantive knowledge is introduced, improved and refined gradually across the years, so students are prepared to access the KS4/5 course effectively.
At KS4 and 5, students use Google Classroom to access work. GCSE and A Level students also have folders of work, to support their organisation and revision. The department has their own set of IPAD’s, used regularly in lessons to record rehearsals and to reflect upon their progress.
Extra-curricular activities are an essential part of the Dance department, allowing those students who wish to, to develop their confidence and skills further. This year, we are offering Y7 Dance Club, Year 8 Dance Club, Year 9 Dance Club and Dance Company. We also offer a School Show Dance Company (every 2 years). In addition, we offer an annual G & T Theatre trip for Year 8. GCSE and A level students are given opportunities to see performances linked to the curriculum and the department offers workshops with Dance practitioners. Our Performing Arts Council offers Leadership opportunities for our Art Ambassadors and Year 12/13 students are encouraged to support the running of clubs and to volunteer in KS3 lessons.
At all key stages, students are aware that Dance belongs to the Performing Arts curriculum area. We are always looking for opportunities for cross-curricular activities and to remind students of the similarities and differences between Drama, Dance and Music.
- Students will have learnt how to choreograph and dance from the introduction of a stimulus to creating/developing motifs/phrases of movement using the basic dance actions, spatial arrangement of dancers, dance relationships and variation of dynamics.
- Students will have learnt what makes a successful performance through evaluation and reflection of their own and other’s performances. Students will be able to identify and include a variety of performance skills to their own creations.
- Students will have an understanding and gained knowledge on a variety of dance styles and themes.
- Students will be assessed practically on their creating and performance skills. Appreciation skills will be assessed through verbal feedback and peer/self-assessment tasks.
- By the end of KS3, students will have the knowledge and skills to create, perform and appreciate dance showing an understanding of the marking criteria.
- At the end of KS3, students will opt to do GCSE Dance. We measure our engagement in KS3 with our option numbers for GCSE Dance. Over the years we have had good numbers opting; 38 students in 2019, 21 students in 2020, 37 students in 2021. We have however noticed that the pandemic has affected our option numbers; 15 in our current Year 11 and 12 in Year 10. We were unable to do our regular practical lessons and extra-curricular clubs through KS3 lessons which has impacted our option numbers. Now that we are back to a new normal, we are expecting an increase in numbers in future years.
- We measure our impact through our exam data for GCSE and A Level Dance.
- Our residuals in GCSE Dance have been strong for the past four years. In 2019, we had a subject residual of 0.96; 0.78 in 2020; 0.79 in 2021 and 0.53 this academic year. This shows the positive impact our teaching and learning has on our results. There is a slight decrease across the past three years due to the effect COVID has had on practical lessons and extra-curricular activities; however they are still achieving excellent results regardless. We will continually aim to improve our residual results.
- Our A Level cohorts usually range from 4 to 9 students. This academic year, they achieved 89% A*-C which is an excellent achievement for the students.
- Our ALPS score in 2019 was 4 which is an excellent achievement for 8 students in a normal school setting. During the pandemic, we achieved ALPS of 2 and 3 which are outstanding. This current year we have decreased to ALPS 7. We do understand that the students have had challenges to face this academic year and we aim for our score to improve in the coming years.
- Students will have learnt how to use a stimulus/set question to choreograph a solo or group choreography. They will develop the skills to research, improvise and experiment with movement to create original and competent choreographies.
- Students will have an understanding and gained skills in different dance techniques. They will learn how to engage an audience and include stylistic qualities or particular choreographers into their performance work.
- Students will be able to perform solos and group work of varying lengths.
- Students will be assessed practically on their creative and performance skills via external examiner/moderator.
- Appreciation skills will be assessed in class through verbal feedback, written feedback, peer and self-assessment and through homework and class tasks.
- Students will have completed written exams in dance which will assess their knowledge, understanding and analytical skills.
- By the end of KS4/5 students will have the knowledge, skills and confidence to create, perform and appreciate dance independently and on a wider scale.
In addition, we measure Impact, through:
- Uptake of extra-curricular activities – KS3 Dance Clubs, Dance Company – participation in Christmas Concert, Summer Sizzler, International Dance Day activities, Weatherhead’s Got Talent.
- A willingness to be involved in our Performing Arts Council
- Numbers of dancers involved in productions – School Show Dance Company
- Behaviour of students during lessons
- Student Voice
- Annual reporting to parents
- Pass rate at GCSE Dance
- GCSE Dance – 2021/22
- 92% 4 – 9 Subject Residual: 0.53
- GCSE Dance – 2020/21
- 98% 4 – 9 Subject Residual: 0.79
- GCSE Dance – 2019/20
- 76% 4 – 9 Subject Residual: 0.78
- GCSE Dance – 2018/19
- 77% 4 – 9 Subject Residual: 0.96
- Pass rate at A Level Dance
- A Level Dance – 2021/22
- 89% A* – C 89% A * – D ALPS 7 ; 1 x A, 2 x B, 5 x C, 1 x E
- A Level Dance – 2020/21
- 100% A* – C 100% A * – D ALPS 3; 1 x A*, 2 x A, 1 x B
- A Level Dance – 2019/20
- 100% A* – C 100% A * – D ALPS 2; 2 x A*, 1 x A,
- A Level Dance – 2018/19
- 75% A* – C 100% A * – D ALPS 4; 1 x A*, 2 x A, 3 x C, 2 x D
- Final destinations for Y13 students
- 2022: Aimee G: Roehampton University, Dance
- Olivia L: LMA, Dance Performance
- Jessica W: Loughborough University, Sports Apprenticeship
- 2021: Lia G – Northern School of Contemporary Dance – Cultural Dance forms foundation – BPA Contemporary Dance
- Erin T – Gap year – Musical Theatre
- 2020: Hannah W – Professional performer
- 2019: Olivia G – Dancer on Cruises
- Amber H – BTEC Level 3 Dance
- Rachel S – BTEC Level 3 Dance
- Ruby T – Edge Hill – Musical Theatre
A purpose built dance studio and theatre.
There is an array of clubs on offer in the Dance Department for Weatherhead High School students. Clubs are on offer from Year 7-13 for students and are led by the Dance department staff, Wirral Youth Theatre and some of our Key Stage 5 students as part of their leadership opportunities. We have links with Wirral Youth Theatre (WYT), RARE & the CAT project who have delivered workshops to students at extra-curricular sessions.
Visit weatherheadhigh.co.uk/extra-curricular-clubs for our current programme of extra-curricular activities.