Senior Associate Diploma

The Senior Associate syllabus of the Ulster Academy of Speech and Drama allows trainees to develop the skills and techniques that will ultimately form the basis for their teaching of practical speech, drama and communication syllabi from grade 6 to grade 10.

Entry Requirements

  • Each candidate must have completed the Junior Associate Diploma with the Ulster Academy in speech and drama examinations or have completed an equivalent course with a recognised examining body.
  • If the candidate has not completed the Junior Associate Diploma with the Ulster Academy but with another recognised body, he/she will have to attain a minimum of ten teaching hours with the Ulster Academy or have proof of practical teaching experience in his/her own private setting.
  • Candidates that have their own private teaching school will be given preference over those that do not.
  • Each candidate must be interviewed by a member of the Ulster Academy board.
  • All candidates must have full PSNI/Garda vetting on entry to the programme.

Documentary evidence of the above must be submitted with the candidate’s application.

The Ulster Academy reserves the right to refuse any applicant with the above entry requirements admission to the Senior Associate Diploma, if deemed to be unsuitable.

Part A

Section 1: Practical Assessment [70 marks]

Prepare a written lesson plan that documents the learning outcomes for a class of secondary school students.

Implement the lesson plan.

Teach a group of students for 40 minutes on any practical aspect of the speech and drama syllabus from grade 6 to grade 10. The lesson should be a planned and structured learning experience for the students and should be interactive and participative.

Demonstrate a good rapport with the students and be able to deal with unexpected occurrences as and when they arise.

Demonstrate capability to discipline and control the class whilst maintaining the students’ respect, trust and safety.

Incorporate child safety as a focus of classroom delivery, including the implementation of child protection measures and the development of a trusting relationship with the students so that they feel that they are in a safe environment for learning.

Section Two: Individual one-to-one pedagogy [20 marks]

Teach one student on any aspect of the speech and drama syllabus for 10 minutes. The examiner will decide on the day of examination which aspect of the syllabus he/she wants the trainee to teach. This may include poetry speaking, drama direction, public speaking, mime, improvisation or reading aloud. The trainee should be prepared to work on all aspects of classical theatre including Elizabethan, Restoration, Greek, Jacobean and Russian Periods and on any aspect of the syllabus up to and including grade 10.

The trainee must demonstrate an ability to assess the student’s oral communication, stage craft skills, physicality of movement and use of stage and posture where relevant. She/he must document in writing what the student needs to focus on for the following week.

Section 3: Viva Voce with examiner [10 marks]

The trainee must show an ability to evaluate what the actual learning outcomes were at the end of the lesson, outlining what, if any, learning outcomes/objectives from the lesson plan were achieved and also what, if any, unexpected learning outcomes were attained.

The trainee will discuss with the examiner what they may have done differently if they were to implement this lesson plan again. The trainee will give the external examiner his/her reflective journal, which documents his/her teaching practice throughout the year.

The examiner will discuss with the trainee any aspect of the course undertaken.


Each trainee must have secured a minimum of 10 hours teaching experience in the classroom in order to secure a pass in this examination. The teaching experience secured while doing the Junior Associate Diploma is sufficient. However, it is expected that trainees should at this point be engaged in the running of their own private teaching practice. 

Part B

Written Paper [100 Marks]

Two hours are allowed for this paper. Candidates must answer three questions, one of which will be compulsory.

Topics covered:

The history of theatre in Ireland.

The history of theatre through the centuries.

Drama-In-Education techniques and strategies and how they can be used in the secondary school setting.

All aspects of theory, up to and including grade ten in the Ulster Academy syllabus.

The study of voice, language and movement, with particular reference to the different periods of theatre.

The selection of material for secondary school students in the classroom, with particular reference to targeting educational objectives/learning outcomes for the participants.

Directing drama.

Theories of theatre practice (e.g. Berthold Brecht, Constantin Stanislavski, Anton Chekhov, Peter Brook, Dorothy Heathcote and Cecily O’Neill).

Child Protection policy, safety and implementation.


Each trainee must attend all theoretical study days. Where a trainee misses a study day, a percentage of his/her overall mark will be deducted on a sliding scale depending on the number of absences.

Learning Outcomes

Having completed the Senior Associate Diploma, the trainee should have:

  • gained practical experience of using process drama in a private teaching setting and have a good theoretical insight into its structures.
  • explored how the process of making theatre can incorporate aspects of the speech and drama syllabus and/or primary/secondary school syllabus as well as themes based on the needs and interests of the participants/students.
  • acquired a good knowledge of drama techniques and strategies that will equip him/her to teach the subject in an imaginative and innovative way to primary and secondary school children.
  • acquired a methodology on how to write a lesson plan that includes objectives/learning outcomes in order to ensure that the lesson has structure.
  • acquired a good knowledge of how to assess the needs of the participants.
  • acquired a good knowledge of how to evaluate a lesson plan after the lesson is completed.
  • practical experience of a variety of educational techniques and an understanding of how to tailor these to suit different target groups.
  • become familiar with a range of workshop games and exercises suitable for primary and secondary school going students.
  • developed inter-personal skills, an ability to read a group dynamic, listening skills, an ability to think on his/her feet and rapidly adapt his/her planned programme of work to changing circumstances in the secondary school setting.
  • gained an excellent understanding of the key elements of voice production, with particular reference to the theatre and poetry speaking.
  • acquired a basic knowledge of the history of theatre through the centuries up to and including contemporary Irish theatre.
  • acquired a basic knowledge of the major drama theorists and their impact on current theatre and drama-in- education practice.
  • gained an excellent knowledge of the necessary skills and techniques needed to teach the Ulster Academy syllabus up to and including grade ten.

For more information please use the form below.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top