About this qualification

Our Level 1/2 Technical Awards in non-EBacc subjects are ideally suited to learners with a preference for practical, in addition to, theoretical learning. Many of them are tailored towards specific career areas and all have a focus on creativity.

These vocational qualifications fulfil entry requirements for academic and vocational study post-16, and will count as equivalent to one GCSE in the Key Stage 4 performance tables.

Who is this Level 1/2 Technical Award in Performing Arts for?

This qualification is for learners aged 14–16 who wish to develop applied knowledge and practical skills in the performing arts. It's designed with both practical and theoretical elements, which will prepare learners for further qualifications in performing arts, drama, dance, music, media studies, film studies and art and design.

What will learners study?

Learners will complete three mandatory units (one externally assessed and two internally assessed) spread across 120 guided learning hours.

Unit 1: Unlocking creativity (internally assessed)

Learners will be asked to come up with a performance idea based on guidance from a range of practitioner DVDs. Learners will understand, plan and deliver the activities required to put on a successful performance including business planning and pitching. Learners will produce a portfolio of research, planning and ideas to enable them to put on a performance. They will then go on to to pitch this idea as a group to camera. A short extract of the performance idea will also be presented.

Unit 2: The production/performance (internally assessed)

Learners will work towards producing a performance to an audience based on a list of five briefs. Learners will choose one discipline from either a list of performance roles including acting, dancing, singing, instrumental musician, musical theatre, variety performance, pantomime, physical theatre and circus skills or a list of production roles including costume, set design, properties, make-up, lighting, sound, stage, original writing, directing, choreography, PR and film production.

Unit 3: The performing arts experience (externally assessed)

Learners will draw on knowledge and understanding from units 1 and 2 and also from:

  • roles and responsibilities within the performing arts industry
  • the role of performing arts in society
  • approaches to rehearsal
  • working as a deviser/performer/director
  • marketing and public relations
  • health and safety
  • design and technical elements
  • reviewing performances.

The synoptic nature of this unit allows learners to respond to a range of questions designed to assess their knowledge across the performing arts.

Will knowledge and skills developed be useful for further studies?

Learners will research different performing arts disciplines and show/reveal their creativity when developing ideas for a performance and develop the practical skills associated with performing arts. The latter requires self-discipline, motivation and commitment – key elements that are all needed for further study.

In addition, learners will develop a broad knowledge of creative business practices, including functions and roles, marketing and event management, develop knowledge of how to put on a production and be able to perform effectively in their chosen area. The analysis and evaluation of skills will come through independent, team and collaborative work, and will develop an awareness of industrial practices and employment opportunities.

The course will develop a variety of transferable skills including self-appraisal, evaluation, teamwork, leadership, research, presentation, communication and problem solving. These are skills that will stand any learner in good stead for the future, irrespective of career path. Literacy and numeracy skills will be developed in addition to an increased awareness of the positive effects of performing and production.

Which subjects will complement this course best?

Our Level 1/2 Technical Award in Performing Arts is complemented by a wide range of creative GCSEs including Dance, Drama, Music, English, Media Studies, Film Studies and Art and Design. This new qualification can also be delivered alongside other vocational courses such as Fashion and Textiles, Materials Technology and Business. This course will offer a progressive route through to Tech Certificates, Tech Levels, BTEC Level 3, AS and A-levels.

Support and resources to help you teach

We’ve worked with experienced teachers to provide you with a range of resources that will help you confidently plan, teach and prepare for exams.

Teaching resources

Visit to see all our teaching resources. They include:

  • schemes of work and lesson plans to help you plan your course with confidence
  • example materials to showcase sets of marked learner's work supported by senior moderator commentaries and guidance
  • learner textbooks that have been checked by AQA
  • training courses to help you deliver AQA qualifications
  • teacher standardisation (T-OLS) system to help work through example and standardisation material quickly and easily
  • subject expertise courses for all teachers, from newly qualified teachers to those looking for fresh inspiration.

Preparing for exams

Visit for everything you need to prepare for our exams, including:

  • past papers, mark schemes and examiners’ reports
  • specimen papers and mark schemes for new courses
  • exemplar learner answers with examiner commentaries.

Analyse your learners' results with Enhanced Results Analysis (ERA)

Find out which questions proved the most challenging, how the results compare to previous years' and where your learners need to improve. ERA, our free online results analysis tool, will help you see where to focus your teaching. Register at

For information about results, including maintaining standards over time, grade boundaries and our post-results services, visit

Keep your skills up-to-date with professional development

Wherever you are in your career, there’s always something new to learn. As well as subject specific training, we offer a range of courses to help boost your skills.

  • Improve your teaching skills in areas including differentiation, teaching literacy and meeting Ofsted requirements.
  • Prepare for a new role with our leadership and management courses.

You can attend a course at venues around the country, in your school or online – whatever suits your needs and availability. Find out more at

Help and support

Visit our website for information, guidance, support and resources at

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Alternatively, you can call or email our subject team direct.


T: 01483 437 750

National legislation

Schools and colleges should note that if there are any references made to legislation within this specification that does not apply (ie NI, EU), the relevant legislation in the county of study should be substituted.