sandbach high school

General information

At Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College Dance provides opportunities for artistic and aesthetic education.  

Through experiencing Dance in school students can develop emotionally, refining and enriching the expression of feelings, moods and ideas through the symbolic use of movement.  

During lessons and extra-curricular work students take part in activities that improve their Dance ability and also important life skills. These skills include: confidence building, creativity, team work, musicality, physical expression, key vocabulary, memory, evaluation, technical Dance skills, cross-curricular links, healthy lifestyles and cultural awareness.  

The focus of our department is to develop students’ interest in Dance and the Arts and to encourage participation in the range of activities on offer. We want to compliment the PE curriculum to encourage active lifestyles through movement based lessons.  

A key feature of Dance in education is creativity and we want our students to enjoy exploring a wide variety of outcomes from unusual starting points. The curriculum that we have in place includes a variety of inspirations for learning these include: cross curricular links, multi-cultural awareness, relating to professional Dance work and linking with other art forms.  

Staff List

Mrs Z Hughes  

Mrs K Heywood  

Curriculum Key Stage 3

Year 7  

  • Virtual Reality  
  • Performance and choreography using ACTIONS  
  • Building confidence in performance and creative tasks  
  • What makes an effective warm up?  
  • Using Poetry to inspire dance  
  • Dance workshops exploring poems creatively  
  •  Choreography challenge using a poem of your choice  
  • What makes a good performance in year 7?  
  • What elements should a year 7 student include to create a strong piece of choreography?  
  • Learning about a professional dance work  
  • Learning repertoire  from key sections  
  • Choreography inspired by the key themes  
  • Analysing key sections of the work  

 Year 8  

  • Exploring dynamics using quotes  
  • Learning techniques to show contrast in performance and choreography  
  • Linking creative work to the musical structure  
  • Performing and creating longer dances  
  • Learning about a professional dance work  
  • Job roles within dance production  
  • Analysing Nutcracker! Guessing themes and selecting the key features   
  • Implementing performance and back stage roles  
  • Creating dances inspired by key elements of Nutcracker!  
  • Using sculpture and landmarks to inspire dance  
  • Exploring a variety of choreographic techniques to represent a visual stimulus  
  • What makes a strong group choreography in year 8?  
  • Expressive skills in performance  

Year 9 

  • Learning about a professional dance work  
  • Analysing key features of the work including theme, prop and relationships  
  • Creative work incorporating a prop  
  • Developing a dance into a longer structured piece  
  • Using a variety of stimulus to inspire creative work  
  • Images  
  • Text  
  • A feature of the natural world  
  • Prop  
  • Historical event  
  • How can we challenge ourselves to create the most creative choreography  
  • Links to GCSE Dance  
  • Dance styles  
  • Research projects  
  • Workshops learning different styles  
  • Choreography challenges using different styles and style fusions  

5 ways I can help my child at KS3 DANCE  

  1. Naming and kit organisation   
  2. Discuss healthy lifestyle and the importance of regular exercise at home  
  3. Encourage creativity ‘can you make up a dance on………’  
  4. Awareness of professional dance works  
  5. Take a visit to watch dance at the theatre or watch at home

Curriculum Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 – GCSE Dance  


GCSE Dance Year 10  

  • Dance Appreciation   
  • Becoming a thinking dancer  
  • Learning to transfer studio practice into writing about dance  
  • Explaining the choreographic process  
  • Being introduced to the 6 dance anthology professional works  


  • Solo  


  • Regular technique sessions  
  • Learning sequences and repertoire from professional works  
  • Building confidence  
  • Performing to camera  
  • Performing in a theatre setting  


  • Performance in a duo/ trio  
  • Developing further knowledge of dance relationships  
  • Learning group routines  
  • Building timing and sensitivity to others 


  • Choreography  
  • Exploring the key ingredients of choreography  
  • Getting inspiration from a variety of themes  
  • Being inspired by other students and professional work  


Year 11 

  • Dance Appreciation  
  • Revising and adding greater depth to the 6 dance anthology professional works  
  • Examination technique  
  • Building knowledge of studio practice and the choreographic process  


  • Solo  


  • Regular technique sessions and rehearsal  
  • Perfecting two solo set phrases  
  • Performing to camera  
  • Showcasing to others  


  • Performance in a duo/ trio  
  • Learning a set group performance   
  • Regular rehearsals including elements such as fluidity in contact work, expressive skills between dancers, spatial awareness  
  • Performing to camera  
  • Showcasing to others  


  • Choreography  
  • You will receive 5 different themes from AQA  
  • We will research and explore these themes  
  • You will then select one theme, create your own choreography, rehearse it and film it for assessment  


GCSE Dance KS4 Assessment  


Component 1: Performance and Choreography   


What’s assessed:   


  • Performing to solo set phrases    
  • Performing in a duet or trio   


  • Creating and showcasing a solo or group choreography piece   


How it’s assessed:   

Internally marked and externally moderated   

Performance = 30% of the GCSE and 40 marks   

Choreography = 30% of the GCSE and 40 marks   

Total for component 1: 60% of the GCSE course   


This component is non-exam assessment (NEA) marked by the centre and moderated by AQA.   



Component 2: Dance Appreciation   


What’s assessed:   

  • Knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills   
  • Critical appreciation of own work   
  • Critical appreciation of professional works   


How it’s assessed:   

Written exam that is 1 hour 30 minutes   

The questions will be based on students’ own practice in performance and choreography and the GCSE Dance Anthology   

Questions will add up to 80 marks   

Total for component 2: 40% of the GCSE course   



How can you support your child with their GCSE Dance?  


  • Support your child to regularly practice dance technique  
  • Make sure your child is organised with dance kit, planning rehearsals and attending practice    
  • Discuss creative ideas relating to dance choreography for example ‘How would you create a dance based on the ideas in this film we are watching?’   
  • Encourage your child to keep a dance diary/ journal/ scrapbook to document ideas for choreography  
  • Watch professional dance together, either on the television or at the theatre. Talk about how you interpreted things such as the themes, movements,  set design, costume, music and lighting.  


Use the following links to access resources to assist with theory work

Curriculum Key Stage 5

KS5 – A-Level Dance 

  • A-LEVEL  


Component 1  

Performance and Choreography 50%  

  • Solo Performance in the style of a practitioner  

For this unit you will take part in regular technique classes to build your physical, technical and expressive skills. You will learn a variety of different solo performances in the style of a variety of choreographers such as Matthew Bourne, Akram Khan, Christopher Bruce and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui  

You will then select a solo to perfect ready for assessment  

  • Building knowledge of the choreographic process  

Throughout year 12 you will develop your knowledge of more complex choreographic devices. You will explore a variety of themes and we will prepare you to research, improvise, generate imaginative material, select the most appropriate movement for your theme, use motif development, build structures for your dances and refine your work.  

  • Performance in a quartet  

In this unit we will also use regular technique sessions to build your confidence when dancing with others; focusing on timing, spatial awareness, contact work and sensitivity to other performers. You will learn and create a variety of group dances. You will then select a group dance in a style of your choice and perfect it ready for assessment 



  • Creating your own group choreography  

In year 13 you will receive an examination paper from AQA with 3 possible themes for your choreography. You will then follow the choreographic process learnt in year 12 to build your choreography ready for assessment. You will have to select your own dancers, manage rehearsals and perform to a live audience and visiting examiner  




  • A-LEVEL  


Component 2  

Critical Engagement 50% 



Set work 1: Rooster by Christopher Bruce  


Set work 2: Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui  


Area of study 1: Rambert Dance Company (formally Ballet Rambert) 1966-2002  


Area of study 2: The Independent Contemporary Dance Scene including the choreographers Matthew Bourne and Akram Khan  



A-Level Dance KS5 Assessment  


Component 1: Performance and Choreography   


What’s assessed:   

  • Solo performance linked to a specific practitioner within an area of study   
  • Performance in a quartet   
  • Group Choreography   


How it’s assessed:   

Practical exam   

80 marks   

Total for component 1: 50% of the A-Level   


This component is non-exam assessment (NEA) marked by a visiting examiner from AQA   



Component 2: Critical engagement   


What’s assessed:   

Knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of two set works    

  • One compulsory set work within the compulsory area of study   
  • One optional set work within the corresponding area of study, from a choice of four   


How it’s assessed:   

Written exam that is 2 hour 30 minutes   

Questions will add up to 100 marks   

Total for component 2: 50% of the A-Level course   



How can you support your child with their A-Level Dance?  


  • Support your child to regularly practice dance technique at a high level  
  • Encourage independent organisation of dance kit, planning rehearsals and attending practice    
  • Discuss creative ideas relating to dance choreography for example ‘How would you create a group dance based on this sculpture?’   
  • Students should keep a dance diary/ journal/ scrapbook to document ideas for choreography – ask them to share their creative ideas   
  • Watch professional dance together, either on the television or at the theatre. Talk about the choreographer's intentions, the different styles of dance, the use of design and also the musical accompaniment   


Use the following links to access resources to assist with theory work


All students have one hour of Dance a fortnight at KS3  

In year 9 students can select to continue Dance by opting for the GCSE course that will commence in year 10  

In year 11 students can opt to take Dance as an A-Level subject



Each year we put on shows in school and perform at local theatre venues such as the Regent Theatre Stoke-on-Trent, the Crewe Lyceum and the Lowry in Salford.  


Theatre visits  

We organise theatre trips to see professional dance, sometimes relating to the GCSE or A-Level courses and also for enrichment for all years  



We have dance artists that come into school to deliver workshops and we also take opportunities to go to workshops at other venues