Welcome to the Performing Arts Faculty

Director: Ms. R. Williams - Contact details: rw5458@johnmason.oxon.sch.uk

Teachers in this Faculty:·Ms R Williams, Mr B Harrison, Ms C Naylor, Mr K Tomlinson

At John Mason School the Performing Arts Faculty consists of

· Music (KS3-5)
· Drama (KS3)
· Performing Arts (KS4)

The Performing Arts Faculty departments, whilst geographically being located at opposite ends of the school site, work in close collaboration in all areas.


Key Stage 3

At KS3 students receive 3 lessons a fortnight in Year 7, 2 lessons in Years 8 and 3 in year 9. All lessons are practical but allow students to explore their own musical creativity whilst learning about theory, history and different genres. Those students who already receive extra instrumental tuition out of class are encouraged to use their own skills and instruments when appropriate.

Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Term 4

Term 5

Term 6

Year 7

Performing and Ensemble Skills

Pictures at an Exhibition' - programme music, introducing notation

Rhythm and Pulse and World rhythms (incorporating Bhangra

Technology and Music 1: Dance project

Melody writing and Chords

Musical Futures Workshop I (skills and group performance of Use Somebody)

Year 8

Ostinato - Performance and composition task)

Technology and Music 2. Cartoons

Musical Futures Workshop II (group work on given songs)

Using Technology - Sequencing - Pachelbels Canon

Year 9

Musical Futures III . Forming a Band (into term 2)

Covers - performing a Christmas Song

Technology and Music 3: Film Music

Song writing project

The 12 Bar Blues

Key Stage 4

At KS4 we follow the Edexcel GCSE syllabus, allowing students to develop their playing and composing skills, whilst studying a huge variety of different styles of music from different time periods and areas of the world. The course includes three components: Performing, Composing and Appraising. We encourage students to develop their performing skills over the course to be assessed towards the end of year 11. We train the students in composing skills throughout year 10 with the students completing two assessed compositions in year 11. Over the course of the two years students study 8 Set works and the context of those pieces in terms of music history and musical genres. Their knowledge and understanding is assessed in an external exam at the end of the cours

Key Stage 5

At KS 5 we again follow the Edexcel board for A Level Music, offering A level music to all students in Abingdon through the consortium of schools. Students study towards three components; like GCSE Performing, Composing and Appraising. They prepare performances towards a final recital, they learn more advanced techniques of composition in various styles and genres to produce final assessed work, and study 18 set works (over two years) along with the context of those pieces to work towards a final external exam.

Drama and Performing Arts

Drama in Key Stage 3

Students receive 2 drama lessons a fortnight in Years 7 and 8 and three in Year 9. All lessons are practical, ensuring that students are allowed to develop and improve their specific drama and acting skills whilst exploring issues that are close to home, but also those that will broaden their outlook on life.

Year 7

Inspiration to improvisation: Developing students’ imagination for creating drama whilst following a specific plot to structure their work, justifying their choices with reason and reflecting on performance skills. They will continue to build an awareness of theatrical and historical knowledge using a variety of different stimulus material. Students will get the opportunity to expand on their knowledge of staging techniques to enhance specific types of performance, learn to control stylized movement alongside story telling plots, as well as focus on social skills through different group dynamics i.e. students’ choice, random selection, teacher’s selection.

Year 8

Comprehension through physicalization: Students will explore physical theatre in greater depths to creates new characters and understand body language a source of communication, focusing more on what the body says rather than the voice. Using a variety of whole class and small group work, students should learn to organise all aspects of a larger show focusing on timings, lighting, makeup, costume, props, music and follow directions within a script. Use of different staging formats support choreographed movement for effective sequences. Students reflect on all aspects of a theatre company and the efforts towards rigorous rehearsals, self-discipline and committed expression are the keys to success.

Year 9

Investigation and interpretation: Students develop ‘Page to Stage’ skills when investigating through a variety of different scripts. There are opportunities to write their own material within mono/duologues studies as well as understanding a playwright’s intentions and perceptions of specific characters. Students will also get a sample of KS4 learning to help support their curriculum choices, This will involve a deeper analysis of underlying themes/topics/issues that surround the content of a script. Performance skills are enhanced through productive rehearsal techniques, creative interpretations of written text and staging. The units within this year of study support lots of literacy skills, they also build on their knowledge of historical theatre and other styles of performance.

Performing Arts in Key Stage 4


At Key Stage 4 we teach Drama through the Performing Arts BTEC route. This allows teachers to build a curriculum around the interests and abilities of the particular cohort. The style of learning for a BTEC qualification is much more focused around the working scenarios of actors and backstage technicians within the performing arts industry. Students spend their first year working towards the biggest of the three Units – Acting Skills. They take part in training and workshops to improve their practical skills, whilst always analyzing their own strengths and weaknesses ensuring that improvement and progress is always made. In the final part of the course (normally in year 11) they complete the final two units. Firstly Preparation, Performance and Production, where students are not only continuing to improve their performance skills, but also have to develop and prove their ability to do all the things that lead up to a final performance! The final unit is the only externally marked component where the students are asked to prepare and present a hypothetical audition piece, either through drama, music or dance, along with a letter of application.

Performing Arts in Key Stage 5

We currently don’t offer Drama or Performing Arts at Key Stage 5 in JMS, but many of our talented students continue to study the subject through the consortium, whilst still being based with us, following the Performing Arts A level route at Larkmead School. In addition we have many students who continue Performing Arts through a BTEC route at Abingdon and Witney College


Both Music and Drama offer a wide range of opportunities outside of lesson time.

In Music we run numerous clubs and ensembles, some at lunchtime, some after school. They include:

· Orchestra
· BNatural (our Upper School Choir)
· What’s Up Folk! (our school folk band)
· Jazz Band
· The Yorkie Singers (a choir for boys only!)
· A keyboard Club
· Lower School Singers

Most of the groups include students from all year groups allowing musicality to grow and new friendships across the school to form. Many of these groups also invlove staff from elsewhere in the school. In addition we have staff band, a staff choir and even a staff A Capella group!

We have 9 instrumental teachers visiting each week offering one-to-one or small group lessons in:

· Violin/Viola
· Cello
· Flute
· Clarinet
· Saxophone
· Trumpet
· Trombone
· Piano/keyboard
· Drums
· Guitar and Bass
· Singing

We put on a number of concerts each year show casing student talent, including a wonderful Christmas Celebration that we hold at Trinity Church in Abingdon.

Drama offers a regular KS3 drama club, often using 6th form volunteers and helpers and leaders. We also put on a full school play every other year.

The School Show

Biannually JMS puts on a whole school musical. This truly is a whole school event, utilizing all the skills and energies of every member of the Performing Arts Faculty along with the Visual Arts for Set and costumes, and members of staff from all over the school in backstage help, orchestra playing, sound and lights. We normally involve 150+ students on and off stage and always perform to packed houses for four performances.


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