Mission Statement

“Every student is a musician”

  • Music is often viewed as a subject or activity only open to those with the resources and time and talent to pursue it. We will promote the belief that every student is a musician at a different point on their musical journey. Some may have just started, some may be years into their musical journey already, but all will be viewed as capable of performing, composing and analysing music, in accordance with the department’s metacognition strategy.
  • Music forms an integral part of an individual’s identity, and we will therefore look to integrate music from students’ lives into the music that we teach, whilst also maintaining the integrity of the subject by presenting the great canonical masterworks and cultural milestones that carry a musical legacy.
  • Music relies on a shared set of skills and vocabulary: this will be promoted to students by methodical integration within schemes of work, as well as well-designed classroom environments that are designed to inform and empower students.
  • We aim to allow every student that leaves the department after KS3,4 or 5 to consider themself a musician.

Through the study of music, each child will develop:

  • Performance skills: Students will develop their ability on a range of instruments and in a range of styles including keyboard, ukulele, singing, djembes, band instruments.
  • Listening Skills: Students will develop an understanding of the different elements of music and how they are crucial the analysis of music.
  • Composition skills: Students will use real instruments and music technology to create their own pieces of music, integrating the knowledge that they have developed about the musical elements to create new pieces in a wide range of styles and genres.
  • Communication SkillsStudents will learn to work effectively in a range of different group, from pairs and small groups to whole class performances.

Music learning has long been understood to develop students’ character. The skills needed to become a successful musician will also help students to become better at communicating with others, working collaboratively with others and creating artistic experiences. Music in the classroom allows students to work with others every single lesson and gives them the responsibility of being a supportive but critical peer. Music outside the classroom gives students the opportunity to be part of amazing extra-curricular provision, and the opportunity to be a part of high-quality performances. This really develops character, and the students who have been part of concerts, shows and trips would definitely agree!

Music is a fundamental part of our world, and understanding it can be a useful tool for understanding the world. From National Anthems to singing ‘Happy Birthday’, Christmas carols to football terrace songs, music shapes our world and is literally the soundtrack to our lives. In Music lessons, students are exposed to a wide range of music from different cultures and traditions, enabling them to understand the world around them better. Students are exposed to controversy, rebels, narratives, plagiarism and many other issues that shape the musical world. Students will gain life changing experiences in music. Whether this is by immersing themselves in a new culture, performing to an audience for the first time or composing their own piece of music. Every child will have the opportunity to be part of our busy extracurricular timetable, music concerts and department trips. Ultimately, we want our students to develop a lifelong love of music.

Music develops a range of critical thinking skills, from problem solving and music theory to analytical thinking and making value judgements. Students are encouraged to listen to and analyse music at all key stages, from breaking down a melody at KS3 to full Bach Chorale analysis and writing at KS5. Critical thinking in Music also extends to contextual awareness and understanding the conditions under which the music was composed, who it was written for and what the effects of that music were on society. Students will consider these questions carefully while completing discussion tasks in KS3 and extended writing exercises at KS4 and 5.

Overview of Learning Years 7-11

Terms Autumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1 Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
Hours of learning Minimum of 10 weeks (10 hours) Minimum of 10 weeks (10 hours) Minimum of 10 weeks (10 hours)
Year 7 Assessment: Performance (Ukuleles in Autumn 2) Assessment: Composition (Programme Music in Spring 2) Assessment: Appraising & Listening
Year 8 Assessment: Performance Assessment: Composition Assessment: Appraising & Listening
Hours of learning Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours
Year 9 Film Music Musicals Music Theory Pop Music Baroque, Classical and Romantic Revision
Assessment: Performance Assessment: Pop Composition Brief Assessment: Appraising & Listening
Year 10 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Since You’ve Been Gone Classical Devices & Structures Jazz & Blues Free Composition Bhangra & Fusions
Assessment: Performance Assessment: Structure Brief Assessment: Exam Paper
Year 11 Film Music Music for Ensemble Set Works Revision Revision
Assessment: Eduqas SAM Exam Paper Assessment 1: Eduqas 2018 GSCE Paper Assessment 2: Composition & Performance
Year 12 [Please refer to the individual academy planning overview for topic, timings and structures]
Year 13 [Please refer to the individual academy planning overview for topic, timings and structures] Final revision

Overview of Years 7 and 8

Students will develop the knowledge, understanding and skills outlined in the fundamentals by reaching the expected standard in the following content.

Year 7 Year 8
Autumn Identity

Students will learn about what makes Music a key feature of people’s lives, including music being composed or performed in their local areas.


Students will learn about the role that Music has played in conflicts both historical and current, and examining the role that musicians have had in conflict.

Spring Narrative

Students will learn about the role of Music in telling stories, from Programme Music to Film and Game Music.


Students will learn about the links between different styles of music, from cover versions to fusion styles.

Summer Celebration

Students will learn about music’s role in celebrations, from weddings to festivals.


Students will learn about renowned composers, their pieces and songs from a range of different styles and genres.

Overview of Year 9

Hours of learning Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours Minimum of 12 hours
Year 9 Film Music Musicals Music Theory Pop Music Baroque, Classical and Romantic Revision
Assessment: Performance Assessment: Pop Composition Brief Assessment: Appraising & Listening

Year 9 in Music is designed to be the springboard to an effective GCSE in year 10 and 11. This is achieved by spending the academic year building students’knowledge and understanding of the musical elements in a more profound way than at KS3. This is achieved by performing, composing and analysing music in a wide range of styles and ensembles, giving students the opportunity to explore a work from multiple different angles.

An example lesson in year 9: Musicals.

Students would study the musical Les Mis. This would start with an exploration of the topics/ subjects of the musical in class discussion. Students would then analyse a song focussing on one specific musical element, for example harmony. Students would then have an opportunity to learn their part, and then perform the piece as part of a class ensemble, followed by class discussion about the effectiveness of the music. Students would then compose a piece of music that has similar aims as the studied work, integrating the new music theory knowledge (harmony) to develop their own style. Students would then look at other students work, offering critical commentary and feedback to help them improve their work, and by extension, their own.

Overview of Years 10 & 11

Year 10

  • In Year 10, students start to cover the GCSE content, including the Eduqas Set Works and more advanced Music theory. Students will be assessed on their individual performances and will also spend time in the summer working on their first GCSE composition.

Year 11

  • In year 11, students finish the remaining areas of content as detailed in the specification. They will compose the second composition set by the exam board, and finish off their first composition. They will complete their GCSE performances in March of the examination year, and complete a period of revision in preparation for their final exam.

Examinations and assessment

The following information gives the examination and assessment breakdown for each component in the GCSE.

Component 1: Performing NEA (30%)

Two performances, lasting a combined 4 minutes or more. One must be an ensemble piece of at least a minute in length. Standard difficulty is approx. Grade 3.

Component 2: Composing NEA (30%)

Two compositions, one to a brief set by the exam board, one set by the student. These must last a minimum of 3 minutes.

Component 3: Listening (40%)

A 1 hr 15 minute listening exam based on the four areas of study.

Exam Board Website

Extra-Curricular Music

The Music department runs a comprehensive extra-curricular programme, featuring a wide range of ensembles including:

  • Senior Orchestra
  • Junior Orchestra
  • String Ensemble
  • Concert Band
  • Choir
  • Chamber Choir
  • Guitar and Ukulele Ensemble
  • Senior Jazz Band
  • Junior Jazz Band
  • Percussion Ensemble
  • Music Technology Club

Students in years 7-9 usually join the junior groups first, and then progress on to the senior groups when they have improved, however students may request to join any ensemble and will be auditioned accordingly. GCSE and A-Level music students are expected to play in at least one ensemble, and many play in three or more!

The Music department runs many events during the year, including:

  • Winter Concert
  • Christmas Carol Concert at St Alphege Church
  • Christmas Pantomime (in collaboration with the Drama department)
  • Battle of the Bands
  • Spring Concert
  • Vocal and Instrumental Showcase Evenings
  • TGAS Young Musician of the Year competition
  • Summer Showcase (In collaboration with Drama and Dance)

We also participate in concerts and events organised by Solihull Music Service, which have included:

  • OSoSiC Concerts at Birmingham Symphony Hall and Warwick Arts Centre
  • Armonico Consort Gala at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Carmina Burana at Warwick Arts Centre
  • SMS Music Festival at the Cavern Club Liverpool
  • SMS Rock and Pop Day at Abbey Road Studios London
  • Beowulf world premiere at the BushellHall Solihull