National 4 & 5

Drama helps your personal and social development through a variety of activities. Your language and movement skills will improve and your self – confidence, concentration and imagination will develop. Working with others helps you to learn patience, tolerance, self–discipline and respect. This is therefore a useful course for any student, as well as those of you who are interested in a career in the theatre or film world.

Course Outline:

The Course uses an integrated approach to learning which develops practical skills as well as knowledge and understanding of drama. As learners develop their creating skills, they will also learn how to use a range of drama skills. They will experiment with presenting through portrayal of character and by using a range of production skills.

Through creating and presenting drama, evaluation skills will also be developed as learners evaluate their own skills and progress, and that of other learners. Learners will also consider cultural values, identities and ideas which influence drama.

Units are statements of standards for assessment and not programmes of learning and teaching. They can be delivered in a number of ways.

The Course consists of two mandatory Units and the Course assessment.

Each of the component Units of the Course is designed to provide progression to the corresponding Units at Higher.


Drama Skills:

In this Unit, learners will explore and develop a range of drama skills and ways of communicating thoughts and ideas to an audience. They will develop a range of skills as an actor. They will learn how to respond to stimuli, including text. They will also learn how to develop portrayal of character in a range of ways and develop knowledge and understanding of form, structure, genre and style when creating and presenting drama.

Learners will develop knowledge and understanding of social and cultural influences on drama. They will also learn how to evaluate their own progress and that of other learners.


Drama: Production Skills:

In this Unit, learners will develop a range of production skills. They will use these skills to enhance drama when presenting. Learners will use problem-solving skills in order to generate ideas for presenting drama.

Conditions of award:

To gain the award of the Course, the learner must pass all of the Units as well as the Course assessment. The required Units are shown in the Course outline section. Course assessment will provide the basis for grading attainment in the Course award.

You will be required to attend the Theatre to widen your appreciation of the Performing Arts.




Higher Drama develops the central concept of exploring relationships and promotes candidates’ knowledge and understanding of theatre. The course focuses on the skills of acting, directing and investigating in a variety of dramatic contexts.

Higher Drama is an excellent medium for personal and social development. The subject’s links with personal growth have long been acknowledged: drama methodology is founded on the development of a fuller understanding and awareness of self and others, and on the promotion of personal and interpersonal skills in communication, co-operation and relationships. These relationships may be between people, between people and ideas or between people and the environment.

The exploration of relationships is undertaken mainly through the practical process of ‘acting out’, which incorporates self-expression through language and movement.



Advanced Higher


Introducing Advanced Higher Drama:

Advanced Higher is SQA’s highest level of National Course. It is very demanding. This course extends students’ knowledge and skills beyond Higher. Students will face new academic and personal challenges, requiring them to develop their knowledge and abilities, and to think and work independently.

The Course consists of three mandatory Units:

  1. Devised Drama
  2. Twentieth-Century Theatre – Theories of Performance
  3. Drama: Special Study

The aim of the Advanced Higher Course is to allow the exploration of relationships in the context of the study of the art of theatre. This is achieved by exploring drama and performance skills and studying leading world theatre practitioners. Candidates will also study drama through direct experience of live theatrical performance, which will illuminate knowledge and understanding of the practice of theatre.

The Units are assessed, as follows:

  • Devised Drama: A folio of work generated whilst devising, designing, preparing for rehearsing and presenting a coherent and integral piece of theatre. There should also be a written report.
  • Twentieth-Century Theatre – Theories of Performance: an assignment exploring aspects of theatre practice in one or two recent productions which reflect theories and practice of a 20th century theatre practitioner.
  • Drama: Special study: a two-part report – Part 1 focuses on research done by the candidate to arrive at performance concepts for a chosen play; part 2 is a short evaluation of the performance concepts.

The Course is externally assessed by a Question Paper (55% of the Course award) and a Practical Examination (based on a choice of Acting, Direction or Design — 45% of the Course award).

The students should endeavour to see as much live theatrical performances as possible throughout their course to widen their experience and to extend their expertise and knowledge.