Sixth Form 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. This unique combination of vocational and academic study creates young people who are poised, self-assured and well-prepared for any onward path that they choose.

“Students demonstrate very positive attitudes to learning and develop many excellent learning skills.”
Independent Schools Inspectorate – November 2019

Sixth Form Options

Our Sixth Form curriculum allows students to immerse themselves in the subjects that they love. They can focus entirely on their vocational development or pursue academic interests alongside their passion for the performing arts.

A choice of three different learning pathways ensures students can select the course of study best suited to their talents and ambitions.

  • BTEC pathway & one A Level

  • BTEC pathway & two A Levels (equivalent to five A Levels)

  • Three or four A Levels

Extended BTEC Diploma: Acting | Dance | Musical Theatre

A Levels: Art | History | History of Art | Dance | Drama & Theatre Studies | English Literature | French | Film Studies | Maths | Music | Photography

Take a look at the ArtsEd Sixth Form Option Blocks 2022 – 2023

BTEC Extended Diploma

The Level 3 Extended Diploma carries the equivalent UCAS points to three A Levels. Each course teaches students the professional and personal skills that will help them to move forward on their chosen path, be it continued training or employment. Alongside vocational training, students explore the history and business of the sector, which gives them a clear insight into the opportunities and demands of the creative industry.

Assessment is varied and based on industry-level performance expectations. These include undertaking detailed research, keeping effective rehearsal logs, and analysing and evaluating performance skills.

During the course, students complete a range of assignments, requiring the submission of written, verbal and practical evidence. The resulting portfolio determines the final grade. Detailed feedback is given throughout the programme to ensure that students meet their full potential.

Studying at ArtsEd provides students with contacts and experiences that will give them a clear advantage throughout their careers, in what is an extremely competitive industry.

Our BTEC programmes offer students exciting opportunities to learn in an organisation dedicated to the performing arts, with professional production teams and under expert guidance. Upon completion of the courses, students emerge as confident performers with a clear understanding of the demands of the performing profession.

* The BTEC courses are subject to change in line with National Curriculum requirements. Full notice will be given.

BTEC Acting

The BTEC Acting course is studio-based, empowering students to gain full control of their performance skills though exploration and mastery of a variety of techniques. Students discover, explore, reflect on and develop their abilities whilst forming a solid foundation of skills as practitioners.

An average week includes classes in acting technique, voice, movement skills, improvisation and text work, all of which is documented in a working journal.

Students form small companies to complete performance-based projects, which comprise the basis of their assessment. The following are recent pieces:

  • Pornography by Simon Stephens
  • 13 by Mike Bartlett
  • Two by Jim Cartwright
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare
  • Oh, the Humanity by Will Eno

The course is enhanced by theatre trips into Central London, and workshops, masterclasses and careers talks run by industry professionals, including West End writers, directors and actors.

Full support is provided to students throughout the application and audition processes for further training, study or professional work.

Some Sixth Form graduates remain at ArtsEd to study on our degree course, many secure places at other leading drama schools, including RADA, RCSSD, LAMDA and the Guildhall.


BTEC Musical Theatre

“All our teachers are experienced professionals in the arts, so they teach us about life after ArtsEd in a realistic way.”

– Sixth Form Student

ArtsEd has a long history of producing many of the leading musical theatre performers in the UK. Our BTEC Musical Theatre has been designed to form the foundation of this training.

Students on this pathway rapidly develop the singing, dancing and acting skills necessary to progress in this demanding genre. Regular training in each area quickly establishes the level of discipline required and gives students the opportunity to master technique and gain full control of their performance skills.

In an average week, classes include singing, acting, ballet, tap and jazz. These skills are assessed throughout the year in performance-related projects created by small companies of students. The following are recent assessment performances:

  • Hello Dolly by Herman & Stewart
  • Smile by Hamlisch & Ashman
  • The Last Ship by Sting
  • Soho Cinders by Stiles & Drewe
  • Violet by Teson & Crawley

The course is enhanced by regular theatre trips and workshops run by industry professionals, including musical directors, choreographers and West End performers.

Full support is provided to students throughout the application and audition processes for further training, study or professional work.

Some Sixth Form graduates remain at ArtsEd to study on our degree course, many secure places at other leading drama schools including GSA, Mountview, RCSSD, LAMDA and the Guildhall.


BTEC Dance


“Dance is really spectacular here. The teachers are able to support and push you at the same time”

– Sixth Form Student

The BTEC Dance course is an exciting and challenging pathway. Students develop their technical skill and artistic expression through performance, creation, exploration and discussion of their chosen art form. Classes are wide-ranging and taught by experts in their field. They include the following:

  • Performance Workshop
  • Performing Art Business
  • Historical Context of Performance
  • Rehearsing for an Audience
  • Performing to an Audience
  • Dance Performance

Additional classes may include the following:

  • Classical Ballet
  • Contemporary Dance Technique
  • Jazz Dance Technique
  • Tap Dance Technique
  • Choreographing for Live Performance
  • Healthy Dancer
  • Improvisation

Assessment methods combine research, performance and reflective evaluation, with details varying from project to project. The range of assessment methods enables students of all learning styles to achieve in a way that is not always available in a more traditional learning environment, reflecting the vocational core of the qualification.

The course is designed to prepare dancers for further training and for the demands of the performing arts industry. Our success is demonstrated by an excellent track record of Alumni going on to pursue dance at prestigious organisations, including ArtsEd, Alvin Ailey School, Rambert, London Studio Centre, London School of Contemporary Dance, Bird College, PARTS and Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

“All our teachers are experienced professionals in the arts, so they teach us about what can happen after ArtsEd in a realistic way.”

– Sixth Form Pupil

A Levels

The range of A Levels we offer encourages students to explore how the performing arts connects with the study of humanities and the visual arts. By combining A Levels with BTECs, students can choose an enriching course of study that allows them to fulfil both their academic and vocational promise.

Fine Art

A Level Art teaches students to think creatively and communicate visually, equipping them with invaluable practical skills and artistic confidence. Students experiment with a variety of media, creating artwork rooted in their experiences and emotions. Workshops during the initial stage of the course ensure that students have an excellent skill base from which their individual artistic voice can flourish.

Visual Arts is a highly successful department with students consistently gaining high grades. Small class sizes ensure that all students benefit from extensive tutorial time and focused support from staff.


Drama & Theatre

Drama is a creatively fulfilling and intellectually demanding subject that sits at the forefront of ArtsEd’s curriculum. Students hone and extend their individual performance skills during independent study, whilst ensemble work develops their understanding of what it takes to be an effective team player. Learning to take direction and use constructive criticism is a key element of the course, and one that is both challenging and immensely rewarding.

Assessment is through performance, coursework and a final written examination. Recent students have enjoyed the experience of examined plays being performed in professional working theatres, including the Lyric Hammersmith and the Tabard Theatre.



A Level Politics encourages students to develop a varied knowledge around the different types of political thought and the motivations of government, igniting informed political discussion. This fascinating course allows students to gain a varied insight and in-depth foundation in UK and US government, politics and political ideas to help form a true understanding of society at large.



A Level History is a fascinating and challenging course. Students develop the analytical and critical skills that are essential to the discipline but also valuable to their development as thoughtful and informed citizens. The course covers the Cold War and the Tudor period. Alongside historical knowledge, students also gain an understanding of the historical process.

History is a challenging A Level subject that is well regarded in university applications.


History of Art

History of Art gives students the skills and critical vocabulary necessary to analyse and interpret works of art and architecture from across the world. The course encourages candidates to develop their knowledge and understanding of the impact of practitioners, the relationship between society and art, and how works are interpreted and evaluated. It is an exciting and varied subject which equips students with detailed analytical skills and the means to better understand social history via the artefacts and buildings that the human race has created.



Maths is a demanding and immensely rewarding subject at A Level. Students who enjoyed GCSE Maths and have a creative streak should certainly consider studying the subject at a higher level. A Level Maths demonstrates an ability to problem-solve and think logically, aptitudes admired both by universities and employers.

Students with Grade 7 or above in GCSE Maths and a desire to explore the subject in greater detail will find the A Level an engaging course of study.




Our Dance tutors combine teaching expertise with extensive performance experience. Their first-hand knowledge of the industry equips them to recognise and foster students’ individuality as performers whilst ensuring that the technical skills are mastered.

The A Level Dance course is the perfect springboard for students hoping to pursue a career in dance and the performing arts. Students are given the opportunity to create and perform work while developing their knowledge of the dance-making process. Theoretical and practical classes, lecture demonstrations, discussion groups and theatre visits make up the core of the course, 50% of which is assessed by written exams. A Level Dance is designed for students who are keen to learn about the world of dance, and who enjoy individual choreography as well as developing ideas with other students in collaborative and independent projects.

English Literature

English Literature at A Level is academically demanding and creatively stimulating. A range of prose, poetry and drama texts are studied, and students learn to discuss, analyse and evaluate writers’ choices, drawing links across works, traditions and genres. Discussion and debate about production and reception are central. English Literature sits very well with a performing arts course, providing an additional way to study storytelling and the development of narrative.

Film Studies

Film Studies explores the creative potential of film and active film-making, exploring the relationship between films and the societies they portray. Students investigate US, British and world cinema covering major, mini-major and independent films. The course explores social, historical and cultural films from a range of eras, and includes in-depth analysis of critically acclaimed films, analysing performance, cinematography, sound, editing and mise-en-scène.

ArtsEd school teaching session

A Level Music encourages students to combine imagination, talent and creativity with academic study, as they explore aspects of performance, composition and analysis.

Composition and performance coursework allows students to explore and develop their personal musical interests. The set works offer the opportunity to study a variety of musical styles, including film scores, instrumental and vocal music, world fusion, jazz, pop and rock.



Photography is a challenging and dynamic A Level that encourages experimentation and inventiveness. Students explore a broad range of approaches as they develop and then express their artistic vision.

At the outset of the course, students are given set starting points or photographic projects to explore independently. As the course progresses and students master the underlying technical elements of the medium, they are given the freedom to explore their own projects in depth and to develop their own photographic style. The resulting images are showcased in a final exhibition.

Enrichment Programme

To add richness and variety to our vocational training, we offer regular opportunities for students to develop new skills and interests outside of their core courses of study. Classes in a wide range of disciplines are offered on a weekly basis throughout the year. Students can enrol on several of these mini enrichment courses during their time here, examples of which include script-, creative- and song-writing, actor musicianship, acting for screen, counselling skills, Show Choir and mindfulness.

ArtsEd Youth Dance Company

The ArtsEd Youth Dance Company is run as an extra-curricular class for dancers in Years 10 to 13. Entry is by audition and participants experience the excitement of performing as a member of a contemporary dance company. Students learn repertoire and work with guest choreographers to prepare for performances at prestigious venues.

Recent venues have included the Royal Albert Hall, The Place, Trinity Laban and Sadlers Wells, the home of dance in the UK.

Drama Opportunities

Drama Opportunities include entry into competitions, recently the National Theatre Connections Programme, the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) and the Independent and Schools Association (ISA) Drama Festival. These sit alongside opportunities offered by our own Acting Company and Musical Theatre Company.

Dance Stream

Dance Stream is an excellent option for highly skilled dancers who are considering a career in dance. The course includes Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary, with the potential to add Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) Modern and Tap classes. Invitation is via audition.

One-to-One Voice/Instrumental Lessons

One-to-one lessons for voice, and a wide variety of instruments are available. We work with a pool of experienced peripatetic teachers, many of whom also work with our degree students. The cost of these lessons is not included in the school fees.

Additional Opportunities

Alongside LAMDA exams, we offer our Sixth Form students additional enrichment opportunities. These include BONUS, a programme for those who are conversationally fluent in French, Spanish, Russian or Italian; creative writing; play writing; and regular sessions offered by our specialist Sixth Form Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), focusing on writing and study skills. Students can also opt for additional dance classes, mindfulness sessions and workshops on acting for screen.