In KS4 all students will continue to have PE lessons on their timetable, however, if they wish to gain a GCSE in PE or Dance then they must choose this as an option subject.

These highly recognised GCSE courses are ideal for students who have an interest in, and an aptitude for sport and dance, as they have both practical and theoretical elements to their assessment.

Both the GCSE PE course and the GCSE Dance course are individual option subjects and can be chosen separately, however, students can also choose to study both courses if they so wish.

From September 2016 we introduced a new syllabus for Dance, graded 9-1.

Board and Exam 

Year 9 students who have chosen the GCSE Dance course as an option subject will follow the AQA 2016 syllabus. This course offers a broad variety of practical and theoretical work for our students. Students complete this course over 3 years with 6 lessons every fortnight; 5 practically based and 1 theory based. The course is assessed through 2 components; practical and theory.

The practical component is worth 60% of the overall grade, marked through live performances and the theory component is worth 40%, marked through a written exam (1 hour 30 minutes) at the end of Year 11.

View the full course specification

How students are assessed

The 60% practical examination side of the course allows students to be assessed in their performance and choreographic skills. These key dance skills are taught practically and theoretically across the 3 years. Students will undergo mock exams for each unit and they must also perform in front of an audience throughout the course. This helps develop their skills and understanding of Dance further.

The practical content is broken down as follows;

-   Performance – set phrases performed as a solo (1 minute in duration) and a duet/trio performance (3 minutes in duration)

-   Choreography – solo (2 minutes in duration) or group choreography (two to five dancers, 3 minutes in duration)

The 40% theoretical examination side of the course focuses on dance appreciation of professional works and the students’ own work. Students are assessed in their knowledge of 6 set anthology works and these works are taught both practically and theoretically. They are also assessed on their ability to critically analyse dance performance. Students will complete regular mock exams to understand the language and terminology required for the written paper.

The theoretical content is broken down as follows;

- Written exam at the end of Year 11 – 1 hour 30 minutes in duration


Students studying Dance in Years 9, 10 and 11 will have two hours of homework per week. One hour will be spent on a theoretical based tasks while during the other hour, students are expected to participate in an extra-curricular dance club. Throughout the examination periods, all students are required to rehearse additionally for at least one hour per week on their solo and group exam pieces. All homework tasks are planned to build on the knowledge learned in lesson and frequently these tasks make use of student iPads.

How parents can help

As the course is heavily weighted in terms of practical ability, it is vital that parents actively encourage students to be participating in dance classes both in and outside of school.

To achieve the best grades, students must use the knowledge gained in theory lessons and be able to apply it. Please encourage your child to regularly practice the material learned as well as taking an active role in discussion and analysis of their own performance.