Curriculum rationale:

In Expressive Arts we aim to foster a love for the Arts by offering a broad and balanced experience across art, dance, drama and music.  We want to enthuse passion, creativity and a love for our subjects that you may not have previously experienced.

The KS3 curriculum is intended to adequately prepare students for and feed into OCR Music at KS4 but ultimately, should serve as an enjoyable, engaging and broad musical experience for all students. 

Our music curriculum has been designed around the three fundamental strands of musical development; performing, composing and listening and appraising.  The curriculum is predominantly practical and aims to engage students in the activity of making music for as much of their time in the classroom as possible.  We believe that learning ‘about’ music should be minimal when a curriculum of ‘doing’ music develops the practical skills that will inform and strengthen students’ wider understanding and appreciation of music.  Students study singing, keyboard, ukulele, guitar, percussion (including drum kit) and use Garage Band and Musescore software for composition work.  Each of these areas are progressively built upon over time using a spaced-learning approach e.g. ukulele is introduced in Year 7 for one topic, a more in-depth guitar unit is delivered in the Spring term and is then returned to in the Summer term as part of the ensemble performance unit.   We aim for all students to have developed functional performance skills by the end of KS3 that they can use beyond the classroom and continue to develop into adult life. 



Curriculum Design:

Aspects of the Areas of Study from the GCSE specification are incorporated into the KS3 curriculum in various topics e.g. students study Indian Classical music in Year 7 which links with Rhythms of the World, and Film Music is taught in Year 8 which directly links to GCSE.  Listening and appraising music is incorporated into every lesson at KS3 through means of directed listening and targeted questioning used at the start of each lesson.  Notational skills and theory are also woven into the performance and composition topics and are appropriate and relevant i.e. staff notation is taught and used for keyboard work, TAB notation/chord charts for ukulele and guitar etc.  Assessment is regular and uses the SJNC model personalised to our curriculum allowing students to make rapid progress and take ownership of what is required from them to progress to the next step.

The curriculum is designed around securing deep understanding of key knowledge and developing academic literacy through exploratory talk and oracy.

The 4Rs are at the core of the Music curriculum and can be seen throughout curriculum planning and delivery.

Curriculum Plan:

Key Stage 3

In Years 7-9 drama is taught on a rotation system so modules are not tied to specific terms.


Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Rotation 1

1.       Baseline assessment

2.       Introduction to performance (vocal, ukulele, keyboard & percussion)

1.       Ukulele/Guitar skills development

2.       Composition techniques

1.       Instrument/Vocal skills development

2.       Composition project

Rotation 2

1.       Guitar skills

2.       Keyboard skills

3.       Listening & Understanding Assessment 1 (Review)

1.       Ensemble skills/Vocal development

2.       Composition techniques

3.       Listening & Understanding Assessment 3 (Review)

1.       Ensemble Workshop

2.       Composition project (cont.)

3.       Listening & Understanding Assessment 5 (Review)

Rotation 3

1.       Improvisation & Composition

2.       Ensemble skills/Vocal development

3.       Listening & Understanding Assessment 2 (Review)

1.       Keyboard skills development

2.       Ensemble skills/Vocal development

3.       Listening & Understanding Assessment 4 (Review)

1.       Instrument/vocal skills development

2.       Composition project (cont.)

3.       Listening & Understanding Assessment 6 (Review)


GCSE Drama

Half Term

Year 9/10

Year 10/11

Sep - Oct

·         AOS: Pop - voices, instruments, Rock n Roll.

·         Composition - starting points/techniques.

·         Performance - workshop.

·         AOS: Film - Classical, MAD T SHIRT.

·         Composition - comp 2                   

·         Performance - rehearsal.

Oct - Xmas

·         AOS: Pop - Rock anthems, ballads, solo artists.

·         Composition - development techniques.

·         Performance - workshop.

·         Exam: Revision/Practice.  

·         Composition - comp 2.  

·         Performance - rehearsal.

Jan - Feb

·         AOS: World - Indian/bhangra, African, Greek, Palestinian.

·         Composition - developmental techniques.

·         Performance - workshop.

·         Exam: Revision/Practice.  

·         Composition - comp 2.  

·         Performance - rehearsal.

Feb - Easter

·         AOS: World - Latin, Calypso.   

·         Composition - coursework.  

·         Performance - rehearsal.

·         Exam: Revision/Practice.  

·         Composition - comp 2.  

·         Performance - rehearsal.

April - May

·         AOS: Concerto - Baroque, Classical, Romantic.  

·         Composition - coursework.  

·         Performance - rehearsal.


·         COMPLETION of work

Jun - Jul

·         AOS: Film - Film, MAD T SHIRT

·         Composition - coursework.                    

·         Performance - rehearsal/recording.



Curriculum Assessment:

Years 7 - 9 we use the LAT grading criteria (beginning, working towards, secure) at the end of every topic (summative) alongside regular formative assessment in the form of verbal feedback. The data is used to inform planning, progress and reporting to parents. They will also have an end of rotation practical and listening written assessment. The data is used to inform planning, progress and reporting to parents.


At KS4 we use 9-1 grading criteria specific to each subject and exam-board.  Classroom assessments are graded according to weighted grade boundaries. They will also have regular, low stakes diagnostic tests to check understanding and various accumulative written tests every half term to check their understanding. These tests build each half term in length and complexity as they review previous topics as well as current ones. Alongside this they will be assessed in their practical work where they receive regular, personal verbal feedback and written feedback on areas of strengths and areas to improve.

Extra-curricular opportunities:

  • Choir
  • Orchestra (all instruments)
  • Guitar Group
  • Keyboard Club (lunch time)
  • Rock Bands
  • Winter concert
  • Summer Arts Festival
  • Expressive Arts collaboration producing whole school musical production

Alongside this we also offer a wide range of peripatetic lessons including:



Guitar (acoustic/electric/bass)

Drum Kit