Creative and Expressive Arts

In This Section

Artsmark Gold

Tuxford Academy is an Artsmark Gold academy. This national accreditation acknowledges excellent arts provision across the wider academy. The experiences our students receive in Art, Dance, Music and Drama are noted as some of the best in the country.

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.

Music support tuition

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.


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

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 skills-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.

Students reflect critically on their own and other people’s work, judging quality, value and meaning. They learn to think and act as artists, working creatively and intelligently. They develop an appreciation of art, craft and design, and its role in the creative and cultural industries that enrich their lives.

Our GCSE Art and Design course is suited to any student who has a genuine interest in visual arts. The most successful GCSE artists are good at managing their time and proactive in their research. The course values quality over quantity, therefore being able to persist to improve every last detail of a piece of work is ideal. You must be able to draw to succeed at art GCSE.

Students are taught by one of three specialist art teachers who guide you through a range of tasks and skills, exploring a wider range of materials and techniques than you would have experienced in year 9. We usually include a visit to a gallery as part of the course and help you understand how to really look at a piece of art work and analyse it. If you have a keen eye for photography we will enter you for GCSE Art, Craft and Design; this endorsement allows you to use more photography in your work, which then prepares you well for A Level Photography should you be interested in this pathway.

All work is created in A3 sketchbooks, apart from larger development and final pieces. Art students tend to form a community who regularly stay behind after school to work in the art room.

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.

If you enjoy art and are able to persist until a piece of work is perfected, then this is an ideal course for you.

What will I learn?

Still life – skills building unit

This unit is designed to improve skills in drawing, photography, analysing art, painting, mixed media, developing ideas, composition and designing final pieces. By the end of the unit, students should have acquired a set of skills, knowledge and understanding to make a success of the coursework and exam units.

Distortion – personal portfolio (60% of overall grade)

Students have the freedom to respond to the title in their own personal way. Teachers will guide artists through a series of tasks to enable them to meet the criteria. This unit includes a 5-hour mock exam to help prepare them for the unusual nature of an art exam.

Externally set task (40% of overall grade)

Students are given a number of different titles as starting points to develop a sketchbook of work in response to their chosen theme. They then create a final piece in a 10-hour (over two days) art exam.

How will I be assessed?

  • Producing a portfolio of work showing a personal response to a given starting point.
  • Creating a second portfolio of work exploring a given subject from an exam paper with a choice of five themes
  • Creating a final piece as a result of the completed portfolio of work (10-hour exam over two days)
  • All work is internally assessed and externally moderated

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

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.

What will I study?


Students participate in workshops that develop their dance technique and ability to perform effectively in solos and group pieces.


Students participate in a range of workshops that develop their skills when choreographing from a range of stimuli to create dance that conveys meaning through a vast range of elements.

Professional dance works

Students study six modern dance pieces all ranging in style, set, costume, lighting, props, set and sound. Students explore these practically learning repertoire from the dances and develop a thorough understanding of the pieces as they interpret the deeper meaning behind the choreographic and design choices made in each.

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: OCR
Qualification: J316
Contact: Mr Cox |

GCSE Drama is an exciting 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.

Throughout the course, students will explore the many elements of drama and theatre; they will have the opportunity to become skilled performers, innovative directors, creative designers and thoughtful critics.

Very few GCSE subjects offer students such a practical and creative experience; students will learn theory and technique, but not just with a view to be able to recall this information, instead focus is on the application of theory and a student’s ability to interpret meaning and explore potential.

Students will study interesting topics that are both thought-provoking and current, whilst also being given the opportunity to develop as a performer. However, performance is not the sole focus of this course, emphasis is also placed on the exploration of technical theatre and other design elements such as lighting, set design and costume.

A wealth of trips and extra-curricular opportunities are also offered to our students throughout the academic year. Students are invited on a variety of theatre trips to regional theatres, as well the opportunity to be part of our large-scale school production in the summer. GCSE Drama students are also offered a place on our annual residential to either London or New York, where we see live theatre, work with professional actors and directors and visit numerous theatres and performing arts venues.

GCSE Drama will compliment a student’s study in a number of other subjects such as English language, English literature, history, sociology, psychology, philosophy and ethics, and media. Although the course can lead to future pathways in performing arts, such A Level Drama and Theatre Studies, it will also enrich a student’s education by helping to create well-rounded individuals, who can view the world, its issues, ideas and people from multiple perspectives.

What will I study?

Devising drama

Students will explore how to create and develop an original piece of theatre. We will explore varying dramatic styles and genres, how to build and present a believable character, how to structure performance work and how to interpret thought-provoking and challenging stimuli.

Presenting and performing texts

Students will stage an extract from a contemporary play. Focus will be on how to communicate meaning through staging, characterisation and production elements.

Performance and response

Students will take on two roles: a director and a theatre critic. We will study the play Blood Brothers; exploring historical context, themes, characters and plot. Students will develop their own creative visions for the text. We will also watch a piece of live theatre and, as a class, analyse how meaning is communicated through a range of production elements.

How will I be assessed?

Devising drama (worth 30%)

Internally assessed through a practical performance and written portfolio.

Presenting and performing texts (worth 30%)

Externally assessed by a visiting examiner through a practical performance.

Performance and response (worth 40%)

Externally assessed through a written exam, 1hr 30mins.

Extra-curricular opportunities

There are many opportunities for students to develop their performance skills and experience theatre outside of the curriculum. We encourage students of all ages to get involved with as much as they can.

Performing arts showcase evenings

Three showcase evenings take place each year, allowing students to present work they have been developing in the classroom and any additional performances that may have developed as a result of extra-curricular activities.

Special events

Students are invited to create and present work for various events throughout the year such as Remembrance Day and Anti-bullying Week.

Theatre trips

A range of theatre trips for all key stages are offered throughout the year, including trips to regional theatres and productions in London.

Academy productions

Full-scale productions are staged every two years; all students are invited to take part. Previous productions include Jesus Christ Superstar (2005), Oliver!(2008), Back to the 80s (2010), We Will Rock You (2012), Our House (2014), and Billy Elliot (2016).

Annual London drama residential

Each year, GCSE and A Level Drama students are offered the opportunity to experience a range of live theatre, workshops and backstage tours in London.

Exam board: Edexcel
Qualification: Music Practitioners Level 2
Contact: Mr Evason |

This course essentially focuses on working practically within popular music styles whilst studying the music industry as a whole.

The modularised vocational package allows students to study different aspects of the music industry, learning the essential skills they would need to understand the media and entertainment sector.

The modules are designed to focus on individual strengths and allow students to tailor the course, so that they can achieve the best result for themselves. They offer a practical, rather than solely academic, insight into how the industry works.

Whether you intend to become a performer, stage manager, accountant, lawyer or a joiner, the skills learned on this course will be relevant to any career in the music industry.

RSL Vocational Qualifications have been specifically designed to allow schools to deliver content that meets the aspirations of students, putting them in the best position to meet the demands of modern creative industries.

What will I study?

Students study units focused on music performance. There is one compulsory unit which appears at both levels and further units are chosen by the teacher to best fit the needs of the students.

Lesson time will be spent developing students’ ability as performing musicians both on an individual basis and in groups, specifically, learning how to:

  • practice your instrument in an effective way, identifying priorities for improvement (critical thinking)
  • reflect on performance and plan further development (critical thinking)
  • rehearsing as a group (collaboration and creativity)
  • plan a performance (creativity)
  • research artists who are important to us and produce work which describes their impact on our own musical journey

Compulsory unit: live music performance

Students respond to an exam brief set by RSL. The brief will offer a real life performance scenario that professional musicians have to plan and deliver as a matter of course in their everyday working lives. This culminates in a live performance in March of the exam year either alone or in small groups.

Students have to plan, perform live and evaluate their chosen response to the brief. An example of a scenario might be related to performing at a music festival with a focus, such as supporting a specific charity. Naturally, the music programme selected would need to have strong connections to the intended outcomes of the festival organisers. Planning would need to consider what the festival organisers want and evaluation would need to make judgements about how successful the project was.

Example of a current optional unit: instrumental study

Students decide on a key feature of performance on their chosen instrument. At the beginning of the unit they demonstrate their current level of competence through a video recording. They then spend approximately one term practising this chosen skill before filming again to record their development. Throughout this term they will blog or vlog regularly to demonstrate that they are capable of critically evaluating their musical journey.

Example of a current optional unit: music artist and you

Students select and research the life and work of a musical artist who is important to them, before going on to complete a project which aims to measure the impact of this artist on the student’s musical life.

How will I be assessed?

  • Compulsory units generate audio/visual evidence which is submitted and externally assessed by RSL examiners
  • Optional units are delivered as coursework, internally assessed by Tuxford Academy staff and externally moderated by RSL
  • There is no written examination

Extra curricular opportunities

Opportunities beyond the classroom have two main aims. Firstly, we wish to encourage students of all abilities to participate in activities which promote participation in music. In the last few years, we have successfully staged productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Oliver, Back to the Eighties, We Will Rock You, Billy Elliot and Les Miserables.

Tuxford Academy