Summer 2021 exam support

In August 2020 Ofqual confirmed there will be changes to the 2021 examination series due to the impact coronavirus has had on students’ education. Here you’ll find the information you need to help you understand the changes to A level Drama and Theatre.

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Links to content support are listed below and we will let you know when further information is added as it becomes available.

Please note that the changes outlined are correct at time of publication and apply to the 2021 exam series only. For students due to be examined in 2022 these changes do not apply.

Changes to Pearson Edexcel A level Drama and Theatre examinations for 2021

Ofqual has confirmed that the changes for the 2021 series will be:

  • Final outcomes can differ from intended pre-Covid outcomes in the portfolio.
  • There will be the option of monologue and duologue for performance/design realisation, so therefore group work is not compulsory.
  • There are new regulatory minimum timings in place for all performance routes.
  • An audience can be a small live or virtual one but must include the teacher.
  • The designer requirements on page 17 of the issue 4 specification are suspended for 2021 and designers are to follow the Component 2 requirements on page 40. NB: the same Component 1 assessment criteria (pages 31–33) is to be used for 2021 when assessing design students.
  • There is a new process in place for designers who are not able to realise their designs in performance.
  • Performance/design realisation will be done for one key extract only, rather than two.
  • The component will be marked out either 24 marks (for monologue and duologue performances/design realisations) or 36 marks (for group performance/design realisations).
  • There will be two entry codes for component 2 to allow for the differing marks: 9DR0 02A will be for the monologue/duologue option and 9DR0 02B will be for the group option.
  • Marks for 9DR0 02A and 02B will be scaled up to ensure this component remains out of 60.
  • There are new regulatory minimum timings in place for all performance routes and therefore the penalty tables have been changed to reflect these new minimum timings.
  • An audience can be a small live or virtual one but must include the teacher.
  • There is a new process in place for designers who are not able to realise their designs in performance.
  • This component will be assessed by an examiner via recorded evidence rather than by visiting examiner.
  • The live theatre requirement can be satisfied through live streamed, digital or recorded performances.
  • We still require centres to complete a live performance statement (as per page 8 of the specification) when submitting text choices on our website, however this will be altered to reflect the changes for 2021.

Details of what this means for our specifications and assessments can be found in

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Further support you can contact the Subject Advisor, Paul Webster, if you have any questions via Contact us, by emailing teachingperformingarts@pearson.com or calling 0333 016 4141.

Paul presented a webinar for drama teachers on 24 September about the 2021 changes - the recording is below.

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