Welcome to Performing Arts

Performing Arts Specialism

At John Henry Newman we want to use our specialism to encourage a love of the performing arts as well as provide a wealth of opportunities to every student in the Academy, whatever their particular interest.Whether a student attends an extra-curricular activity once a week for fun, or a student wishes to eventually become a professional - our goal is to nurture and promote an imaginative performance.

Students’ involvement in the Arts, both in the classroom and through the extra-curricular activities offered, will help to boost confidence, self-esteem, motivation and individual and team responsibility. The Academy will use its expertise in Performing Arts and its excellent facilities to build strong links with the community.

The Academy is developing the Performing Arts curriculum to support young people to achieve their full potential as well as enhancing their ability to engage effectively with others. We continue to develop a thriving Performing Arts faculty that seeks to nurture a dynamic school community that not only offers a platform for the most able but also encourages all students to experience life enhancing opportunities for expression, communication and diverse cultural enrichment. The Academy places a high value on performance and the celebration of students’ creativity.

The Academy continues to work closely with local and national providers of the Arts to extend the horizons of the students. In order to deliver an ambitious curriculum, the Academy will make use of external Arts providers eg artists in residence and visiting poets and drama groups.

Key Stage 3 Performing Arts 

We have built a thriving and successful faculty over the last five years of having Specialist Arts College Status and intend to continue with all of our activities as an Academy. The Faculty includes Drama, Dance and Music and all Year 7-9 pupils have drama and dance on a carousel. Yrs 8-9 have 3 lessons over 2 weeks and Yr 7 pupils have 4 lessons over 2 weeks.

All pupils in KS3 have music for 2 lessons over 2 weeks.

Drama includes schemes of work targeted at levels 3-7 (Arts Council Guidelines) and includes PLTs and a number of PHSE and Citizenship topics – such as Bullying, Smoking, Family Concerns, Drugs and Eating Disorders.

In year 9 there is a BTEC group following the BTEC First Diploma in Performing Arts (Level 2 Performance) and we are piloting the AQA GCSE in Performing Arts (single award) with a small group of talented pupils.


Dance is a popular subject in which pupils develop their confidence and performance skills. Dance is compulsory at KS3 with pupils studying a variety of topics ranging from contact improvisation to professional dance works such as “Swansong” by choreographer Christopher Bruce. The study of these topics prepares students for GCSE Dance, should they wish to pursue the subject at KS4.

Click here for more information on our Dance department

Key Stage 4 and Post 16

In Key Stage Four we offer AQA GCSE Performing Arts Double Award (equivalent to 2 GCSEs) and Edexcel BTEC First Diploma in Performing Arts (equivalent to 4 GCSEs) (Level 3) and this leads onto the Edexcel BTEC National Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas in Performing Arts (Dance and Acting). There are plans to introduce the BTEC National Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Music in September 2012.

In the faculty we have two specialist Drama teachers, two specialist dance teachers and two music teachers.

National Arts Leader Award. KS4 and Post 16 students are given the opportunity to become Arts Leaders and work with younger pupils in the school or in our feeder primary schools and community groups.

Extended outreach work and Community

As part of our Arts College programme, we have built up a close working relationship with our Primary School partners including Guardian Angels, St Anthony’s, St John the Baptist, Windy Arbor, St Anne’s Primary School and Bishop Wilson. We also work closely with three local community groups: Northern Star based at Chelmsley Wood Baptist Centre, Seeds of Hope (a group for Senior Citizens) at Kingshurst Church and SOLO a group for young people with learning difficulties. Our own students deliver a number of workshops in Primary Schools and we have shared some of our specialist facilities including the use of the purpose built drama and dance studios and the 230 seater Theatre with state of the art lighting and sound equipment.

We work closely with the Solihull Music Service and have 5 peripatetic music teachers teaching 150 pupils in one to one instrument lessons.

After school we have a Boys Dance Project, Choir, Drama Club and Visiting Dance Practitioners from Motionhouse and produce at least one major production a year and have two dance events as part of the Solihull Festival and two-three Showcase Performances per year.