In KS4 all students 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 aptitude for sport and dance as they have both practical and theoretical elements to their assessment.

How students are assessed

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.  The current GCSE and the new syllabus can be seen below.

Students who commenced their course before September 2016, see GCSE Graded A*-G

Students who commencing their course after September 2016, see GCSE Graded 9-1

GCSE Graded 9-1

Board and Exam

In Year 10 students who chose GCSE Dance as an option subject follow the AQA GCSE Dance course. This AQA syllabus offers the most a suitable variety of practical and theoretical work for our students. Students complete this course over two years with five lessons occurring every fortnight, 4 practically based and 1 theory based. Having taught the same syllabus for a number of years, the PE department has a proven track record of success, with last year 46% of students achieving A*- B and 100% A*- D. The course is assessed via a written exam completed at the end of Year 11 worth 40% of the overall grade.

The remaining 60% is graded via a practical moderation day across the 2 remaining units; Performance (30%), 15 marks for solo performance and 25 marks for duet/trio performance and Choreography (30%).

How students are assessed

For the 60% practical examination side of the course, students are assessed in their technical, performance and choreography skills. These key dance skills are taught both practically and theoretically over the 2 year course and all students will undergo mock exams for each unit. Students must perform in the Gym and Dance Show each year as part of the course and must perform in front of an audience throughout the 2 years to develop their performance skills.

The 40% theory side of the course is taught throughout the 2 year course during 1 lesson a fortnight in a classroom. The students are assessed on their ability to critically analyse dance performance however are also required to transfer their practical knowledge of technique, performance and choreography into a written paper. The 4 units are broken down into topic areas that are listed below:

  • Choreographic process
  • Safe Dance Practice
  • The ingredients of dance
  • Creating Dances
  • Performing and technical
  • Critical appreciation of own workskills
  • Aspects of Production
  • Professional Works


Students studying Dance in Year 10 and 11 will have 2 hours of homework per week. One hour will be spent on a theoretical based task 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 2 hours 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. For the theory side of the course a simple analogy can be used; ‘practice makes perfect.’

To achieve the best grades, students must use the knowledge gained in theory lessons and be able to apply it. Therefore please encourage your child to regularly practice the material learned, through discussion and analysis of their own performance in dance, and the performance of professional works.

Just like on the stage, the more you get your child to rehearse, the better their performance will be!

School Trips

Throughout the two years there will be opportunities for school trips to watch live performances in theatres. In addition to theatre trips, students can have the opportunity to enter competitions to perform at large theatres if they are successful in the Propel Dance Company auditions.