Drama 7–10 (2023) Syllabus – information for school leaders

The Drama 7–10 (2023) Syllabus replaces content in Drama 7–10 Syllabus (2003). Planning and preparation will commence from 2024 with implementation in 2026.

The NSW Drama 7–10 (2023) Syllabus recognises the critical importance of developing understanding of the world through exploration, enactment and interpretation of real and imagined experiences. By making, performing and appreciating drama and theatre, students develop artistic and cultural knowledge, empathy, autonomy and collaborative skills as they challenge themselves and others to consider new perspectives.

What you need to know

  • The Drama 7–10 Syllabus (2023) will be taught in all NSW high schools from 2026.
  • The syllabus is available via a digital platform and is a live document. Teacher advice and support materials will continue to be added throughout the implementation process.
  • The NSW Department of Education will be providing support materials to schools to assist and guide the implementation process.
  • The core practices of making, performing and appreciating have been retained as the syllabus focus areas.

Changes to the syllabus

The Drama 7–10 syllabus (2023):

  • has been streamlined through a reduction in outcomes and content
  • language of ‘playbuilding’ has been replaced by ‘devising’
  • requires students to make, perform and appreciate at least one scripted work in every 100 hours of elective study, in addition to at least one group-devised performance
  • features explicit content points and advice related to working with Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander content
  • divides content into 3 groups – dramatic contexts, dramatic processes and dramatic elements
  • includes explicit reference to safe drama processes
  • includes elements of drama, performance and production as dramatic elements
Syllabus structure diagram shows the organisation of the outcomes and content for 7 to 10 drama. Syllabus structure diagram shows the organisation of the outcomes and content for 7 to 10 drama.
Image: This diagram shows the organisation of the outcomes and content for 7–10 drama. © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2023

Prior to implementing the Drama 7–10 Syllabus (2023), leaders will need to consider:

  • the complexities for staff working across 2 syllabuses to teach drama 7–10 and the added complication of a staggered implementation structure (Syllabus differences include structure, language, outcomes and content)
  • implications of multiple syllabus release dates across the subjects within creative arts and implementation structures staggered across multiple cohorts and subjects
  • building teacher understanding about working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content when designing and delivering drama learning activities and assessment
  • developing school processes and systems for effective task design and valid assessment of reduced outcomes (3 outcomes in Stage 4 and 6 outcomes in Stage 5)
  • supporting teachers’ understanding of the principles of inclusive education, adjustments and access to the drama curriculum for all learners
  • building teacher understanding of how subject-specific writing is defined in drama, including multimodal and embodied processes
  • resource and budget implications, including:
    • providing time for staff to engage with syllabus expectations and build their skills and understanding to effectively teach and plan for syllabus requirements across 7–10 drama to implement in 2026
    • equipment to support the teaching and assessment of new elements of production content and outcomes, such as lighting, sound, set, costume and design tools
    • determining what resources are currently available to address new course requirements and purchasing additional scripted works
    • resources which enable students to engage in new syllabus content, including developing scripted drama from multimodal stimulus and research
    • equipment that enhances learning and supports all students to access the curriculum, such as screen readers, audiovisual material and other inclusive learning tools.

The syllabus for Drama 7–10 is based on evidence summarised in the bibliography published by NESA. The evidence base highlights:

  • the value of the collaborative, imaginative and embodied learning experiences involved in the exploration of the interrelated practices of making, performing and appreciating
  • the importance of formative assessment and learning through experimentation, invention and reflection when making drama
  • that diverse perspectives and identities can be shaped, expressed and communicated through performing drama
  • that deep creative and critical thinking can be explicitly developed through the interpretation and appreciation of drama.

Knowledge of the syllabus and professional learning needs

  • To what extent do staff understand the syllabus and the evidence underpinning the new syllabus?
  • How will the new syllabus affect classroom practice? What is in place to support and evaluate this practice?
  • What school practices and systems are in place to support teacher professional learning?
  • How are these evaluated to maximise support for teachers?

Collaborative planning and development

  • Which communities of practice does the school collaborate with to enhance teacher curriculum knowledge and pedagogy?
  • Do staff have the skills and understanding to collaboratively undertake syllabus implementation?
  • What explicit systems are in place to foster collaboration?

Resourcing and support

  • What structures are in place for tailored professional support for all staff to strengthen curriculum implementation?
  • What else might be required for this syllabus?
  • What resources are required to commence syllabus implementation and meet planning, programming, assessing, and reporting requirements?

Ongoing evaluation and refinement

How is the new syllabus being used to lift teaching practice?

Further support

Contact the Creative arts curriculum team:


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
  • Educational Standards
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