BTEC Performing Arts

Course overview

The BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Performing Arts is a practical based qualification. This means there is a lot of emphasis on performing. Every year our BTEC performing Arts pupils perform their plays in our Performing Arts Centre and to an audience of pupils and parents. At Kingham Hill this qualification is very much directed at the acting specialism within the broader performing arts area. To prepare our pupils for the practical vigour of the course, pupils are introduced to the theatre practitioner Stanislaviski, using his theories to explore and develop pupils’ knowledge about rehearsing and performing to a live audience. The course is spread over two years and is delivered in the form of internally and externally assessed units.  


Over the two years, pupils will study four modules:

  • Unit1: Investigating Practitioner’s Work. This is an externally set and assessed controlled exam which takes place in January or May of the second year.
  • Unit 2: Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance. This is an internally assessed module.
  • Unit 3: Group Performance Workshop*. The theme is set externally and pupils’ work is also externally assessed.
  • Unit 4: Optional unit. This unit varies each year to reflect the uniqueness of each cohort. This is an internally assessed module.

*This unit has greater weighting than the other three with 120hrs guided learning hours (GLH) compared to 90hrs. 


  • Units 1 and 2 are assessed with an examination at the end of the course.
  • Units 3, 5 and 8 are assessed by putting together a portfolio of coursework evidence.

Exam Board

Pearson Edexcel.

Entry Criteria

A grade 4 or above in GCSE English is essential to access this course. While a GCSE in Drama is desirable, it is not essential and pupils can still access this course as long as they have a clear understanding of the practical weighting. More practical experiences such as LAMDA grades are also desirable.

For American Program pupils: two years of English. Drama is desirable but not essential.

Career Pathways

This course is not only about wanting to be a performer (although this can be part of it). To study the arts is to study about life, there are many transferable skills that will serve pupils not only at university but beyond. Pupils who study performing arts can explore a number of careers including:

  • The Arts
  • Teaching
  • Human Resources