Our arts programme

Our arts programme

Through our three International Baccalaureate programmes, we provide a stimulating and challenging arts curriculum.

We believe studying the arts is an excellent way for our students to begin to think and express themselves differently, increase their understanding of the world, and develop a stronger sense of who they are.

Primary Years Programme

Visual Arts

During their time at Southbank, PYP students may get to study aspects of architecture, bookmaking, ceramics, collage, costume design, drawing, graphic design, film, illustrations, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and woodwork.

In addition, we organise trips to art galleries, museums, theatres and the cinema to help students experience visual arts from all over the world. We also invite artists to our PYP campuses to discuss their work.



Our PYP music classes focus on composition, performance and reflection, and expose students to music from different times and places.

In addition, all students from the age of five learn to play either the violin, viola or the cello through the Suzuki music programme. When they reach Grades 4 and 5, they also have the opportunity to learn guitar or flute.

From kindergarten, all our PYP children take part in a termly solo concert and an annual school concert.

Read our Primary Years Programme curriculum   for more information.

Middle Years Programme

In our Middle Years Programme, our teaching of the arts becomes more comprehensive and individualised. In Grades 6 to 8, students separately study Drama, Visual Arts and Music for one term of each year. In Grades 9 and 10, they study Design all year and choose either Drama, Visual Arts or Music to study.



Our MYP Drama classes help students gain an understanding of drama and theatre in contemporary society, throughout history and across the world.

They also have the opportunity to extend their own dramatic and presentational skills, as well as develop skills in the sourcing or design and construction of sets, costumes, props, and in the technical areas of lighting and sound production.


Visual Arts

MYP students develop and acquire new skills in drawing, painting, sculpting, photography and printmaking. As part of their Visual Arts classes, they also learn about important artists, artworks and techniques.

Overall, the aim of our MYP Visual Arts classes is to give our students the knowledge and skills they need to solve problems creatively, critique the work of others, and confidently express their feelings, experiences and ideas.



Our MYP music course provides students with lots of hands-on opportunities to compose, produce and perform their own work, either individually or in small groups. This work can involve the use of their own voice, instruments or music technology.

The course also helps to build up a strong understanding of musical theory and techniques.


Read our Lower Senior Prospectus   for more information.

Diploma Programme

During their two-year Diploma Programme, our students have the opportunity to study standard or higher level courses in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts or Music.


Our Film course enables our DP students to fully engage with the practical, theoretical and conceptual aspects of filmmaking. This includes learning how to tell a story visually, write a script and plan a production schedule, use lighting kit and sound recording equipment, and edit and create a final cut.

Overall, the course is excellent preparation for any student who wishes to study a film theory, filmmaking or any arts or communications course at university, or wants to work in the film industry.



Our Theatre course teaches our DP students the theory and practice of theatre arts. This involves the study of contemporary theatre around the world and the history of the theatre.

The course also helps students develop their own dramatic and presentation skills and teaches them about sourcing, designing and constructing sets, costumes and props, as well as stage lighting and sound production.


Visual Arts

Throughout our Visual Arts course, students are given the opportunity to develop their personal visual language in a range of two and three-dimensional media.

Initially, this involves challenging preconceptions to help students develop fresh perspectives to the fundamentals of art and design. Then, as students progress, they begin to direct their own visual enquiry and reach a point where they are behaving like practising artists and designers.



Our Diploma Programme Music course gives students the chance to develop their knowledge and potential as musicians, both personally and collaboratively.

Students create, participate in and analyse music from their own background and those of others. They develop practical and communicative skills which provide them with the opportunity to engage in music for further study, as well as for lifetime enjoyment.


Read our Upper Senior Prospectus   for more information.

Arts field trips

As part of our arts programme, we organise a wide range of field trips for our students, both in London and further afield. These give students a fantastic opportunity to view performances, artwork, films and concerts from world-class artists in some of the UK’s best venues.


Arts extra-curricular activities

During their time at Southbank, our students can participate in a wide range of excellent arts extra-curricular activities. These include animation, concert band, drama club, junior strings, movie club, painting and sculpting, photography, pottery, script writing, string orchestra, theatre production, and many more.

In addition, students can get involved in the production and performance of Southbank’s annual school show. In recent years, this has seen students wow their parents, teachers and peers with fantastic productions of Little Shop of HorrorsGrease and The Wizard of Oz.

Visit our
 Extra-curricular activities section for more information.

Southbank Kensington
+44 (0)20 7229 8230
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+44 (0)20 7431 1200
Southbank Westminster
+44 (0)20 7436 9699