Arts at Tuxford

The creative and expressive arts faculty at Tuxford Academy strives to provide a high quality arts education for all students through a specialist and combined curriculum. We aim to nurture and develop students so that they enter the wider world as academically, morally and socially enriched young people.

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

– Andy Warhol

As well as solid qualifications, students will acquire an appreciation and affection for the arts which will continue to enrich their lives. We believe that creative arts can develop students to become cooperative, responsible, independent and reflective individuals. Learning through the arts at Tuxford will ultimately prepare them to make a positive contribution to wider society.

The faculty seeks to provide a stimulating learning environment in which high levels of visual enquiry, understanding, research and development of artistic ability are encouraged. It is intended that all students, whatever their ability, should benefit from, and enjoy the experience of working in, this area. There is a positive enthusiastic approach to teaching and high expectations in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

For more of a taste of our art department, visit our website for students.

Curriculum intent by subject

To view our curriculum intent please click on the subject title below to expand.

Art curriculum intent

Art has been a vehicle for sharing ideas and feelings for centuries. We learn to draw before we write. Images can communicate where words fail and this can be an empowering tool as a teenager.

Our aim is for all students to experience the joy of making and develop skills and literacy in looking and responding. We foster a culture where failure is a positive and essential part of improving, celebrating student progress.

Not all students will pursue art beyond their time at Tuxford, but we aim to cultivate an appreciation of art; whether it be the therapeutic benefits, how it reflects society or simply become a gracious spectator.

Across all key stages, we aim to scaffold student learning in ‘making’, ‘idea generation’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘evaluation’. These core objectives mirror that of the key stage 4 and 5 criteria and are revisited in each unit with increasing challenge.

In learning about making, students develop technical abilities and control through drawing, painting, mixed media, photography and 3D work. They develop an understanding of the formal elements and composition and are encouraged to experiment and perfect techniques. New experiences with materials and processes are introduced through workshopping at key stage 4 and 5, drawing upon teacher’s specialisms and working with local artists wherever possible.

Students learn to research and generate ideas, explore themes and present their thoughts in written and visual ways (for example mind maps or mood boards). They develop their ideas by designing and making in response to the themes.

We encourage originality and creativity. Developing a broad knowledge of traditional and contemporary artists runs throughout our curriculum and inspires many themed units. Students learn of art from other cultures and understand the contexts which can influence an artist. We seize opportunities to notice local as well as international artists in celebration of our community. This knowledge develops towards a wider understanding of art movements and deeper contextual appreciation at key stage 5.

We encourage evaluation throughout a students’ artistic journey at Tuxford. This can be through analysing imagery, making judgements when annotating, or communicating their own perceptions in final pieces. Success is celebrated at every opportunity.

The creative process of making, idea generation, gaining new knowledge and evaluation encourages problem solving, persistence, resilience, reflection, independence and teamwork. Experiences are deepened beyond the classroom in visits to galleries, places of interest and taking part in workshops. We hope to see confidence and character grow as students gradually become more comfortable expressing themselves and exploring the art world.

Dance curriculum intent

The aim of the dance curriculum at Tuxford Academy is to give students the opportunity to express creativity through performance, choreography and appreciation of dance. Our intention is to provide an experience that inspires students to embark on creative opportunities beyond their school life. Dance also provides a medium through which students become more physically active supporting their wellbeing.

In key stage 3, students are introduced to key skills that can be applied to multiple themes or styles. They will discover how dance provides an alternate medium for communication and develop knowledge on how to interpret varying stimuli from multiple perspectives. Through exploration of numerous styles, students can appreciate the social, cultural and historical influences on dance. Our curriculum allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the wider dance community through cross curricular links, exposure to a range of creative roles and the study of professional works. Students are encouraged to take creative risks and are given the freedom to express individuality.

Our curriculum provides a breadth of experience to enable students to make an informed choice as to whether they wish to purse GCSE dance in key stage 4. GCSE dance students work towards developing their technique and learn material in various dance styles. They are challenged with choreographic tasks that allow them to tap into their creative mind and gives them a sense of autonomy over the work they produce. Students also learn how to articulate their interpretations of professional performance thereby effectively analysing and evaluating work. This provides students with the tools needed to engage successfully with GCSE dance assessment as well as opportunities beyond the GCSE curriculum.

Students learn how to effectively collaborate with their peers thereby developing teamwork and leadership skills. Student’s persistence is also developed as they work on refining their ideas. A key aim of the curriculum is to develop student’s confidence in their ability to perform, devise and analyse dance. In doing so, students will gain an increased understanding of dance techniques and develop their subject specific vocabulary. Our extra-curricular programme gives students the opportunity to expand their experience and further develop as dance practitioners.

Progress ladders

Please click below to view our progress ladders for year 7, 8 and 9


Learning journeys

Please click below to view our learning journeys from year 7 to year 13:



Exam board: OCR
Qualification: Art Craft and Design (J170) or Fine Art (J171)
Contact: Mrs Parker |

Why study art and design?

In art and design, students explore given themes to develop a personal response through a series of guided activities. At GCSE, students explore a wider range of materials and processes and critically analyse the work of others. Students are guided through skill-building workshops in preparation for the coursework and exam units. GCSE artists are hardworking, reflective students who are able to develop an idea through to a final piece.

The art and design GCSE is very different to a typical GCSE course in that there are no specific ‘pressure points’ where exams take place. Rather than covering content and then revising, art students’ revision time is replaced by the expectation of them to spend at least two hours per week completing work started in lesson time. The pressure is steady and constant in the art GCSE, as opposed to peaking at exam times like other subjects.

The course will end in May of year 11, meaning you will then be able to focus on your other exams. Students are given weekly verbal feedback, as well as written feedback, on how to improve their skills and work.

How will I be assessed?

  • Producing a portfolio of work showing a personal response to a given starting point. This will result in five-hours of creating a final piece
  • Creating a second portfolio of work exploring a given subject from an exam paper with a choice of five themes. This is a ten-hour exam over two days, creating a final piece
  • All work is internally assessed and externally moderated

Exam board: OCR
Qualification: 8236
Contact: Miss Smith |

Why study dance?

Dance is a powerful and expressive subject which encourages students to develop their creative, physical, emotional and intellectual capacity, whatever their previous experience in the subject.

This course recognises the role of dance in young people’s lives and students will study a range of dance styles and style fusions. Apart from the solo performance, they can choose any style in which to perform and choreograph and therefore allows students to play to their strengths and develop their ability in other styles making them a diverse performer.

The study of the anthology of professional works will develop student’s ability to critically appraise professional dance works and provides a springboard for engaging, professional and interesting practical tasks. Student develop interpersonal skills that are transferable in all career paths including confidence, teamwork, problem solving and the ability to interpret the deeper meaning behind theatrical elements and movement. Not only does this course develop resilience, it also develops passion and enthusiasm through its need for energy and persistence.

How will I be assessed?

Performance (30%)

Students perform two solos of 30 seconds each, and a duet or trio of three to five minutes. These dances are choreographed by both the exam board and the teacher. Students are assessed on their physical, technical, mental and expressive skills.

Choreography (30%)

Students independently choreograph a routine for themselves or others. This can include one to six dancers. They are assessed on their use of actions, dynamics, space, relationships, aural setting and use of choreographic devices.

Written exam (40%)

Students are assessed on their ability to interpret meaning behind six professional dance pieces including costume, lighting, sound and set/staging. They are required to choreograph a routine on paper and discuss previous performances they have completed on their GCSE.

Exam board: AQA
Qualification: 8261
Contact: Mr Cox |

Why study drama?

GCSE Drama is an exciting course that enables students to develop their skills as a performer, designer and director. It is a challenging course that offers students the opportunity to ‘stand out from the crowd’ and develop an extensive range of transferable skills. These skills are beneficial in all aspects of a young person’s education, as well as in later life. Drama helps students to develop confidence, empathy and creativity, as well as improving skills in public speaking, communication, teamwork, written communication and self-motivation.

Very few GCSE courses offer students such a practical and creative experience. Students will study interesting topics that are both thought-provoking and current, whilst also being given the opportunity to interpret meaning and explore potential. Emphasis is also placed on the technical and design aspects of drama, such as lighting, set design, costume and the role of a theatre director.

A Level Drama and Theatre Studies is also offered as an option, should students wish to study with us at post 16 – click here for more information.

How will I be assessed?

Understanding drama (worth 40%)

Externally assessed through a written exam.

Devising drama (worth 40%)

Practical performance (10%), written devising log (30%)

Texts in practice (20%)

Practical performance.

Exam board: Pearson
Qualification: BTEC Tech Award Levels 1/2
Contact: Mr Evason |

Why study music practice?

The BTEC Tech Award in music practice enables students to achieve their potential in a highly practical, rigorous and relevant programme of study.

The course will reveal the music industry to the students in a both a holistic and specific way, enabling them to decide if it is the pathway for them in further study and even professionally.

What will I study?

Lesson time will be spent developing students’ abilities, both on an individual basis and in groups. Specifically, they will learn how to:

  • develop skills in performance, composition and production in an effective way, identifying
    personalised priorities for improvement
  • gain an analytical and contextual understanding of a wide range of musical genres and the advancements in technology that underpin their development
  • understand harmony in various musical contexts
  • respond independently to creative tasks from the perspective of various music professional roles
  • develop a good all-round knowledge of the skill set necessary for working in the music and wider creative arts industries
  • work to a specific creative brief with a non-negotiable deadline


The first two units are internally assessed through a portfolio of written, audio and visual evidence, accompanied by teacher observations. These are then externally moderated. The final unit is externally-set and marked. It is conducted under controlled conditions over a number of weeks towards the end of the course. There is no written examination.

Extracurricular opportunities

Drama extracurricular programme

The drama department offers students a wealth of opportunities to engage in extra-curricular activities. We encourage all students to get involved and offer a range of activities.

Annual whole school production: Our main event, staged once a year in the summer term. This large-scale production brings together all year groups to stage either a musical or play. Previous productions include: We Will Rock You (2012), Our House (2014), Romeo & Juliet (2015), Billy Elliot (2016), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2017), Les Miserables (2018) and Pan (2019)

Key Stage 3 Drama Club: Our Year 7, 8 and 9 students meet once a week to rehearse for the annual key stage 3 play. Previous plays include ‘The Demon Headmaster’, ‘Our Day Out’, ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole’ and ‘Scrooge’.

Drama Leaders: Students are given the opportunity to train as a ‘Drama Leader’ and are offered a variety of opportunities to engage with. These include supporting our KS3 students with the annual play, supporting KS3 and Year 10 drama lessons, representing the subject at whole school events and working with local Primary Schools to deliver drama workshops.

Theatre trips: All year groups are given the opportunity to attend a range of regional theatre trips throughout the academic year. We frequently visit Nottingham Playhouse/Theatre Royal, Leicester Curve, Sheffield Crucible/Lyceum, Derby Theatre and Warwick Arts Centre.

Residential trips: Every February the Drama Department run a three day trip to London, this involves watching four west-end productions, taking part in workshops led by professional actors, backstage tours and lots of shopping! Every three years we offer a trip to New York, offering students the chance to experience a Broadway show and take in the incredible sights of NYC.

Students receive performance based support through a range of activities which include keyboard, guitar and music theory tuition. Sessions are provided by Post 16 students and charges apply at a rate which takes account of the provider’s experience.

Secondly, we aim to provide our more able music students with a programme of study which provides challenge in all areas of music. This includes:

  • a full programme of instrumental and vocal tuition provided by qualified tutors
  • gifted and talented showcase events
  • music theory and aural classes to Associated Board Grade 5
  • elective study in a range of music technology skills and composition genres
  • Tuxford Academy Senior Choir
  • Tuxford Academy Light Music Ensemble

All performance ensembles will participate in a range of opportunities both within the academy and in the wider community.