Accessibility links

Performing Arts: BTEC Extended Diploma at The Howard School

Course description

The BTEC Extended Diploma is aimed at students who really want to go on to further training at drama school or university with the goal of pursuing a career in the Performing Arts industry – in acting, directing, writing or administration. It is an intensive course, leading to a qualification equivalent to 3 A Levels. The course is highly practical - you will work as a theatre company on a programme of public productions (both on school site and in local venues), including contemporary plays, devised pieces, musicals and classical performance, as well as learning about key theatre practitioners and playwrights to develop a range of specialist skills and knowledge in performance. During your second year, you will prepare for drama schools or universities, with help being offered to choose appropriate audition material or prepare portfolios and CVs. There is no final written exam however, written coursework must be produced to a high standard and is demanding. There are many in-house and public performances and students must be prepared to perform in front of audiences, putting in rehearsal time and preparation both within class and in their own time. The course runs alongside and extends content from the Extended Certificate and Diploma.

The course offers the opportunity to take part in numerous theatre trips, workshops, and projects. Performing Arts students are also offered the chance to participate in a trip to New York.

Applications made to The Howard School can be made by both male and female students.

Course content

The course is very rewarding, but hard work! Along with classwork, students are expected to put in additional time for rehearsals and performances outside of school hours. In order for lessons to be almost entirely practical, written work needs to be completed in study periods and at home, including keeping an online blog of daily work and portfolios of evidence. We expect Performing Arts students to complete at least 8 hours of independent work outside of lesson time, in addition to watching and taking part in performances. Preparation work is set over the Summer holiday.

Entry requirements

Grade C in Drama or a related subject, or a Merit in a Level 2 BTEC in Performing Arts. In addition, we ask all prospective candidates to take part in a workshop and individual audition.


The 2-year course is continually assessed which means there are no final exams as such, however there are both practical and written tasks which are set and marked by the exam board throughout the year. 60% of the course is externally assessed via online submissions of written tasks and visiting examiners, with the remaining 40% marked by tutors and moderated by the exam board. Around 90% of classwork is practical, but this does mean that students are expected to complete written assignments in their own study time. Written work includes keeping a detailed rehearsal diary, research, preparation for presentations, and reading scripts.

Future opportunities

BTEC Level 3 qualifications are valued by employers and Higher Education (Universities and Colleges) and gain UCAS points in the same way as A Levels. The vast majority of our students go on to university of drama school to study Performing Arts, Drama, Theatre Studies or a related subject. We also have an excellent track record with students gaining places at drama schools and dance colleges. The course equips students with confidence and excellent interpersonal skills to succeed in interviews and leads to a wide variety of careers, including work in the theatre, advertising, project management, PR, venue management, teaching, and journalism.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 06 December 2016

Key information

  • Start date: Next September