Performing Arts (Drama)

Entry Requirements

Minimum grade 4 or equivalent in GCSE English & Mathematics.


About This Course

The BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Performing Arts (Drama route) is intended as an Applied General qualification. It is for post-16 learners who want to continue their education through applied learning and who aim to progress to higher education and to employment in the performing arts sector. The qualification is equivalent in size to two A Levels, and it has been designed as a one-year, full-time study program, or a full two-year program when studied alongside a further Level 3 qualification. Learners wishing to take this qualification will have successfully completed A Level 2 program of learning, with GCSEs or vocational qualifications.

Today’s BTEC Nationals are demanding, as you would expect of the most respected applied learning qualification in the UK. You will have to choose and complete a range of units, be organised, complete some assessments that we will set and mark and keep a portfolio of your assignments.


What does the qualification cover?

Learners have to complete 8 units of work on specific topics, designed to develop and enhance performance skills. Students will study six mandatory units covering the following content areas:

Performance – practical exploration and application of specialist skills and techniques, individual and group performance.

Research, analysis and commissioning – aims to develop skills that are essential for further study of performing arts, including research methodology, independent learning, extended writing, sourcing, idea generation, evaluating information and drawing conclusions from it.

Students also study two optional units which have been designed to support progression to the range of sector-related courses in higher education and to link with relevant occupational areas.



Assessment is specifically designed to fit the purpose and objective of the qualification. It includes a range of assessment types and styles suited to vocational qualifications in the sector. There are three main forms of assessment that you need to be aware of: external, internal and synoptic.  This means that marks can be awarded for the exploration and creation of work, not just the final project. For the National Diploma, 3 of the mandatory units are externally assessed and the remaining 5 units are internally assessed within the department. These units will still be moderated by the exam board.  You will have one written exam to complete.


Student Expectation

It is expected that students taking this course will perform in several shows and showcases throughout the year. They will also need to attend extra rehearsals in order to complete performance work and projects. The course requires a great deal of commitment as some of the assessments are created in groups and others will be reliant on your attendance to rehearsals.

You will also be expected to perform in projects in the community as this will be part of your assessments.

This is a highly practical course however, there will be essays, research journals and reflective evaluations to complete in order to build your evidence of work.

You will systematically work through the mandatory units. The optional units will be entirely your choice and we will support your learning and evidence building.  This is to enable students to specialise in areas that they find interesting and wish to explore. We will study 4 optional units throughout the course, enabling students to pick their best available grades to take through to the final assessment.


What could this course lead to?

In addition to the performing arts sector-specific content, this qualification provides learners with the opportunity to develop all-round performance skills and transferable skills such as self-confidence, self-presentation, personal discipline, time management and organisational skills which are highly regarded by higher education and employers.

The qualification is recognised by higher education providers as contributing to meeting admission requirements for relevant courses.

When taken alongside another Level 3 qualification, the BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts will offer the opportunity to progress onto performing arts related degree courses.


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