Day School Curriculum

ArtsEd’s expert teachers encourage and support students to realise their full potential with a perfect balance between vocational and academic curriculum. Vocational promise is developed through individual study, ensemble work and outstanding performance opportunities, while academic prowess is nurtured by experienced and engaging teachers in small classes.

“Pupils have a sense of responsibility; they apply effort to their work and are self-motivated and ambitious
Independent Schools Inspectorate – March 2024  (paragraph 17)

Academic Results and Destinations 2023


Expert tutors, many with industry experience, encourage and support pupils to realise their full potential in Dance, Drama and Music. Pupils develop their individual talent, gain essential team-working skills through ensemble work, and emerge as self-assured and poised performers.


Our Dance tutors combine teaching expertise with extensive performance experience. This combination ensures that pupils not only master the techniques of their chosen art form, but also are encouraged to develop their versatility and individuality.

Classical Ballet sits at the heart of our Dance course, enhanced by classes in Modern, Tap, Contemporary and Choreography in Years 7 and 8. GCSE Dance is introduced in Year 9, and in Year 10 the course is expanded to include Jazz.

Pupils take Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) examinations. In addition to acquiring the skills required for each dance form, they are encouraged to develop their analytical skills and to use dance terminology with confidence.

Every year there are opportunities to perform in large-scale productions, including our annual Dance Show, the Evening of Dance, and the Choreographic Platform.

Regular theatre visits inspire pupils’ performances, encouraging them to see their training within the context of the professional dance world.



Our Drama course is both creatively fulfilling and intellectually demanding. Pupils develop their individual performance skills alongside invaluable literacy and communication skills. At the same time, they broaden their knowledge of culture and society, and their understanding of successful teamwork.

In Year 9, pupils start working towards their GCSE, building on the many disciplines developed in Years 7 and 8. They experiment with physical and expressionistic theatre, stylised and abstract work, naturalism, comedy, musical theatre, and text and off-text work, as well as devise and create their own pieces. There is a significant amount of written work, which is well balanced by the practical elements.

There are numerous opportunities for pupils to perform, including our own Pupils Showcase and the Independent Schools Association (ISA) Drama Festival.

Musical Theatre

Musical Theatre at ArtsEd gives pupils the opportunity to develop skills in singing, dance and acting alongside a GCSE in either dance or drama. Our pupils have professional industry experience as performers, directors and vocal coaches and have crafted a programme designed to stretch each pupil to their full potential.

Pupils opting to specialise in Musical Theatre will take classes in singing technique, singing ensemble, ballet, jazz, tap, and acting as well as performance workshops combining all three disciplines. Musical Theatre is a wide reaching and rapidly developing art form and we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of this exciting industry.

The course is designed to prepare pupils for post-16 study in the genre as well to celebrate and nurture their creativity and individuality.  There will be opportunities to perform in the school’s Music Concert, Dance Show and Drama Showcase, as well as in the Junior Musical Theatre production.  Musical Theatre pupils will also be entered into Trinity College of Music group musical theatre exams as part of their training.  Entry is by audition into Year 9 and we will be looking for performance quality as well as potential across the three disciplines.

ArtsEd Music Concert

All our pupils engage in a wide variety of musical activities that enrich their creativity. Our highly experienced teachers develop each pupil’s passion for music, nurturing talent and fostering individuality.

Pupils are encouraged to explore a wide range of musical styles, while regular workshops and performance opportunities inspire them to develop their technique and extend their repertoire. Music theory lessons provide a solid foundation that allows composition skills to flourish. Singing, percussion and keyboards are all used alongside digital technology, including Apple Macs with full access to Logic Pro X and Sibelius.

Additional vocal and instrumental tuition is provided by our pool of talented professional musicians who delight in sharing their passion for music. Pupils benefit hugely from the opportunity to work on a 1-2-1 basis, and these weekly lessons are highly subscribed.

All pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 sing as part of a choir, as do pupils who choose to study GCSE Music. Performances from the choirs are a highlight of our annual Music Concert. Other performance opportunities include the acoustic Live Lounge in the summer term.

Visual Arts

Our Visual Arts Department encourages experimentation, inventiveness and ambition. Pupils explore a broad range of approaches and working practices, and are encouraged to be creatively bold. In Years 7 and 8, pupils enjoy an art lesson every week, equipping them with knowledge and enthusiasm to choose a specialism for GCSE from our offer of Art & Design, Photography or Film Studies.

  • Art & Design
    Drawing, painting and printmaking form the foundation of the Art & Design GCSE. Pupils are challenged to consider the inspiration and context behind their own work whilst developing their creative practice.
  • Photography
    During their GCSE studies, pupils respond to a set theme, exploring portraiture and landscape work, and developing their knowledge of composition alongside their technical skills.
  • Film Studies
    GCSE Film Studies offers a thorough grounding in the theory of film, as well as giving pupils the opportunity to showcase a variety of skills in the production of their own short films. Pupils enjoy exploring a diverse range of critically acclaimed films on a course that is creative, practical and inspiring.


“Employers are looking for good people skills, their ability to work as a team and to present themselves confidently. This is why arts subjects are so important in later life – they give children the skills they need to succeed later on.”

– Parent


Our academic curriculum is rich and varied. Expert teachers create a nurturing and stimulating learning environment which engages pupils academically, intellectually and creatively.

“Pupils develop linguistic, mathematical, scientific and technological skills.  Leaders strategically plan ahead and adapt their curriculum in the light of the changing demands of the world of performing arts.”  Independent Schools Inspectorate – March 2024 (paragraph 17)

“My daughter’s maths grade has really shot up because of the brilliant teaching and small class sizes.” Parent


Our aim is for each pupil to be engaged and enthused in every maths lesson. We do this by identifying and addressing the individual needs of each pupil and creating building blocks from Year 7 to assist their future studies. Maths topics are linked to the everyday, enabling pupils to relate to them as valuable skills for life.

Many of our pupils have been surprised to find that they have developed a passion for maths during their time at ArtsEd. We believe that this is a result of our unique balance of time between vocational and academic subjects, creating an overall enthusiasm for learning.


Our teaching encourages pupils to see how science plays an integral role in their everyday lives. Topics are explored in engaging ways and demonstrate how science explains much of the world around them, while considering the impact that humans have upon it. The curriculum ensures that all pupils are offered the opportunity to achieve success, regardless of whether they go on to study science.

Every year, pupils can take part in a major trip that helps to build on their knowledge of the living, material and physical world. In 2018, we visited Florida, which included trips to NASA and the Kennedy Space Center. Other regular outings closer to home include the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Holland Park Ecology Centre.


English lessons aim to stimulate and enthuse pupils to develop essential analytical and evaluative skills that they can use in their everyday lives. Self-expression, both written and spoken, is enhanced through the study of texts that cover a range of historical, social and cultural contexts, and lively debate and discussion about textual meaning is encouraged.

The study of plays, alongside literature, from Shakespeare through to modern-day texts, teaches pupils how language shapes meaning and acts as a fundamental basis for theatre.


Learning how the past has shaped modern Britain, as well looking at major world events in the twentieth century, nurtures pupils’ curiosity and enthusiasm for history. They are encouraged to develop questioning, analysis and evaluation skills, which are all essential to the discipline and valuable to their development as thoughtful and informed citizens.

Learning extends beyond the classroom, with visits to many local museums and places of historical interest, such as Rochester Castle and the Imperial War Museum.


Geography inspires a lifelong curiosity about the world and its people. Pupils learn about current events, both global and local; investigate people, places and resources; and study natural and man-made environments. All year groups enjoy regular trips to museums, rivers and field study centres. Recent visits have included Swanage, Slapton and Walton-on-the-Naze. An international trip to the Bay of Naples is planned for 2019/20.



Our aim is simple: to nurture our pupils’ confidence in their ability to understand and speak French. We do this by embracing the power of the arts to support everyone’s learning. French stories are used to bring French culture and history to life, alongside music and drama to increase engagement and integrate learning. In Year 7, we assume no prior knowledge of the language, and every year we run a residential trip to Paris.

Classical civilisation

Classical Civilisation is a comprehensive subject and the perfect choice for pupils with enquiring minds. Classicists develop skills in language and analysis via the study of literature, philosophy and archaeology. This training in such a wide variety of disciplines develops great intellectual flexibility.

GCSE Classics has two components, the first is Thematic Study: Myth and Religion which studies the pantheon of Greek and Roman Gods, their associated myths and focuses on the impact of these on everyday life for the people of the ancient world. The second component is Literature and Culture: The Homeric World which focusses on life in the Mycenaean age, decorative arts and architecture as well as a close study of Homer’s epic The Odyssey.


Geography inspires a lifelong curiosity about the world and its people. Pupils learn about current events, global and local, investigate people, places and resources and study natural and man-made environments. Trips to museums, rivers, and field study centres are an exciting part of the curriculum.


Statistics gives pupils the opportunity to broaden their knowledge in a key component of maths that is relevant to everyday life. They will develop a core statistical grounding, as well as transferable skills and understanding that’s applicable to a range of other subjects.

Statisticians need to have a solid foundation and understanding of Mathematics. However, many strong Maths students will not necessarily find this course easy. Conversely, those a bit weaker in Maths may find ways to excel in statistics. Statistics is not just an extra Maths course, as well as calculating data, pupils need to be able to describe its importance and relevance.

Film Studies

GCSE Film Studies offers a thorough grounding in the theory of film as well as giving pupils
the opportunity to showcase a variety of skills in the production of their own short movies. Pupils enjoy exploring a diverse range of critically acclaimed films on a course that is creative, practical and inspiring.

The students’ achievements are celebrated at the Eddies, an annual awards ceremony in the main cinema of the Riverside Studios, an event that is a highlight of the school calender.

Co-curricular Opportunities

We encourage all of our pupils to get involved in activities that extend and complement their daily timetable. There are opportunities every day to take part in clubs and performance groups, and we add to and enhance the options every term, building on the enthusiasms of our pupils and teachers. The following are examples of the regular co-curricular activities that run alongside weekly booster sessions in all academic subjects:

Clubs Performance
Sports Club Junior Musical Theatre Company
Film Appreciation Club Junior & Senior Choir
Science Clubs Samba Club
Pupil Council Tap Classes
Debating Club Acting for Dancers
Chess Club Dance for Actors
Spoken Word Club Audition Support


From Year 9, pupils have the opportunity to study nine GCSEs. Our core subjects are English Language & Literature, Maths and Science. The optional subjects on offer are Art, Dance, Drama, French, Geography, History, Film Studies and Music.

“I am delighted with my son’s progress since he’s been at ArtsEd. The small class sizes and the creative environment have really helped him thrive.”

– Parent