Faculty Leader (inc. Music)

We develop the musical skills of each and every child. We enthuse and challenge our young students with a rich and well developed curriculum. We offer them opportunities to communicate effectively through performance and composition. We offer opportunities to develop their confidence and self esteem through all aspect of music.

Our aims are:
  • To enjoy all aspects of music
  • To motivate our students to achieve their full potential
  • To develop confidence in our students through successful performance or achievement in composition
  • To develop their own sense of music within their lives.
Key Stage 3
Year 7
  • Rhythm & Pitch (Composition and Performance)
  • Vocal Ensemble (Christmas Concert Performance)
  • Instruments of the Orchestra (Appraisal)
  • Music for Adverts (Composition)
  • Calypso & Ukulele (Performance)
  • World Music (Appraisal)
Year 8
  • Folk Music (Performance)
  • Rap (Composition & Performance)
  • Garage Band (Music Technology)
  • Blues (Performance)
  • Music for Film (Appraisal & Composition)
Key Stage 4 (Years 9-11)

We teach the Music GCSE across three years. During this time students explore a broad range of musical styles and genres. They also develop the technical skills needed to perform and compose their own music. Year 9 builds on what students have learned in Key Stage 3 and applies it to the three components of Understanding Music, Composing Music and Performing Music through deepening their knowledge, understanding and skills in preparation for the requirements of the GCSE. This process continues throughout Years 10 and 11 in support of the assessed work.

In Year 10 students will learn the study pieces needed for their exam and complete their first of two compositions.

During Year 11 students will complete their second of two compositions, two instrumental performances (this can be voice), and they will prepare for and sit the final summer exam.
Exam Board: AQA 8271
Component 1: Understanding Music

What’s assessed
• Listening
• Contextual understanding

How it’s assessed
Exam paper with listening exercises and written questions using excerpts of music.

• Section A: Listening – unfamiliar music (68 marks)
• Section B: Study pieces (28 marks)

The exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
This component is worth 40% of GCSE marks (96 marks)

How we prepare:

Aural exam techniques are part of every lesson in some form. Lessons include regular testing to encourage and support good use of vocabulary. This skill enables students to respond to the exacting time demands of the paper.

Component 2: Performing Music

What’s assessed
Music performance

How it’s assessed
As an instrumentalist and/or vocalist and/or via technology:
• Performance 1: Solo performance (36 marks)
• Performance 2: Ensemble performance (36 marks).
A minimum of four minutes of performance in total is required, of which a minimum of one minute must be the ensemble performance.
This component is 30% of GCSE marks (72 marks).
Non-exam assessment (NEA) will be internally marked by teachers and externally moderated by
AQA. Performances must be completed in the year of certification.

Component 3: Composing Music

What’s assessed

How it’s assessed
• Composition 1: Composition to a brief (36 marks)
• Composition 2: Free composition (36 marks).
A minimum of three minutes of music in total is required.
This component is 30% of GCSE marks (72 marks).
Non-exam assessment (NEA) will be internally marked by teachers and externally moderated by

How we prepare

We encourage our students to use the appropriate staff notation and we offer the ICT programme “Sibelius” to facilitate this. We also intersperse composition with wider listening to enable students to gather ideas for their own pieces. Students produce work under controlled conditions. The final recording is taken for submission.

Key Stage 5

We currently offer the full two year Music A Level (Edexcel) through our Link Partnership with other Plymouth schools. If you would like more information about this, please contact the Subject Leader – Music via email: [email protected]

All students are assessed on entry to the school. This is formed by an assessment of the performance ability and key musical knowledge of each student. Some students have had prior learning in a musical instrument and this will form an expectation of a higher degree of ability in the early Key Stages. This Value Added ability will form the basis of an assessment which will be adapted throughout their musical experience. The teacher will allow all students opportunities whenever possible to exhibit their skills.
Key Stage 3

Individual targets are formed and developed through the first three modules. Students will complete 6 assessments each year. These 12 modules are balanced throughout the whole of KS3 to deliver assessment of performance, composition and appraisal in all elements of music and musical genres. Student work is assessed both paired and individually. Assessment is completed in class time and balanced with homework. All assessment will be given a further target for achievement and transferred to their music progress log, which is kept in their class folder.

Key Stage 4

The students will study for three years a broad and balanced GCSE music course. They will complete 3 components and are assessed throughout in performance, composition and appraisal. As with KS3, they will develop personalised targets to enable high achievement. Music GCSE is an enriching course which leads students through all genres of music and embeds their key skills as they move towards KS5.

Key Stage 5

Key Stage 5 music is delivered across a 2 year period. Individual targets created from regular and rigorous assessment form the basis of a high quality course which has delivered excellent results across the years. The regular target setting and assessment procedures identify a clear passage towards higher level achievement throughout the course.

Target Setting

The assessment procedures form the target for each individual student to achieve their full potential. In all Key Stages targets are transferred to the student planner at the end of each module. Students should know and be fully aware of their individual target for development in each new module. Regular discussion and updating of targets often forms part of the lesson. House points are issued when a student achieves a high level in their modules, or exceeds the original target set.