Music & Performing Arts

Curriculum Intent:

The curriculum aims to support all pupils in their musical progression through the Key Stages. By offering a rich and varied musical framework that nurtures fundamental musical techniques alongside building musical knowledge, it offers a clear pathway towards mature musical understanding. Staff notation not only complements developing aural skills, improvisation, memorisation and composition, but also provides the opportunity for pupils to be taught music independently both in class and after they have left school.

By the end of Key Stage 3 (Year 9), pupils will have

  • gained an aural knowledge of some of the great musical output of human civilisation
  • engaged with creative processes through improvisation and composition
  • built an understanding of how musical elements work and discussed how these interact with subjective and objective models of musical meaning
  • developed knowledge of a wider range of notes and improved their fluency in music notation. Notation can grant access to a lifelong passion for music making if this skill is nurtured


In Year 7, students develop a variety of skills that will enable them to discuss music, develop recorder, singing, percussion skills and read staff notation. Students perform using an instrument of their choice once fluent at reading notation and this is differentiated to their performance level after the 1st baseline test. They will be encouraged to work both in groups and as an individual throughout the units of work and be assessed in all three subject areas for music performing, composing and listening & appraising in line with the KS3 national curriculum guidelines.

Students will study: –

  • Singing Skills
  • Instruments of the Orchestra/The Musical Elements
  • Notation on recorder
  • Listening to Music

In Year 8 music, students expand on the skills that they have developed in Year 7. As with year 7, the year 8 students will be working in groups and as individuals throughout the year and they will continue to work through all three units of learning for music e.g. performing, composing and listening & appraising.

Students will study: –

  • Singing skills
  • Keyboard and glockenspiel Skills
  • Notation work on recorder
  • Chords and harmony


In Year 9 are following a programme of exploration of the music industry focusing on Health and Safety, job roles in the industry and organisations this work links to BTEC Music level 1/2 which is an option at KS4.

Pupils will study pieces of music from a range of genres in preparation for performance in their chosen instrument. they will be developing their composition skills responding to a range of stimuli and using a variety of different media to produce their work. They will study relevant theory to support their learning of pieces to perform and also compose.


Year 10 and 11 are both studying AQA TECH AWARD Level 1/2 -Performing Arts

This qualification is modular and is split into three units. One is an externally assessed exam and the other two are internally assessed.

Unit 1: Unlocking creativity
Unit 1: This unit assesses the theoretical content of the learner’s chosen discipline (performance or production).

Learners will demonstrate core knowledge and understanding of: the following:

  • Research
  • Idea development
  • Planning and budgeting
  • Presentation (skills and content)
  • Transferable skill of communication.
How it’s assessed

  • Internally assessed
  • 36 GLH (guided learning hours) approx
  • 60 marks
  • 30% of Technical Award
Unit 2: The production/performance
This unit provides the opportunity for learners to be assessed on the theoretical content of a holistic

production or performance, both as an individual and as a member of a group.

  • A key performance or production role in a performance based on one of five performance briefs
  • Transferable skill of teamwork
How it’s assessed

  • Internally assessed
  • 36 GLH approx
  • 60 marks
  • 30% of Technical Award
Unit 3: The performing arts experience

Core knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • Roles and responsibilities within the performing arts industry
  • The role of performing arts in society
  • Approaches to rehearsal
  • Working as a deviser/performer/director
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Health and safety
  • Design and technical elements
  • Reviewing performance
  • Theatre/film in education.
How it’s assessed

  • Externally assessed
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 48 GLH approx
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of Technical Award

A combination of multiple-choice questions, short answers, extended responses, design/devising questions.


Curriculum Implementation

Teaching and learning at KS3 is delivered through whole class teaching, small group work, one to one support and use of TEAMS. Performance pieces, composition tasks and theory work are differentiated for all learners once baseline tests have been conducted and the progression works on the accumulation of skills. Retrieval practise is done in the department through Knowledge organiser tests and through revisiting performance pieces. Literacy is promoted through use of keywords displayed and also highlighted on assessment sheets. Numeracy is emphasised through understanding of counts and duration of notes.

At KS4 the course demands a mixed approach with emphasis on practical work to learn key skills and create a good working practice in groups in preparation for the devised pieces produced  and written  work is structured with exemplars from the board and key assignments set to break down the work needed. Students study key concepts in the performing arts industry in preparation for the unit 3 written paper and are also taken to see live performance to support their response to questions about this area.

Career Links


St Thomas More has its very own dedicated careers team.  To find out more about careers at St Thomas More, please click here. 


Tips and Advice

Pupils are at KS3 expected to purchase their own recorder to enable practise at home to develop their instrumental and also notation skills. Students at KS 4 are encouraged to rehearse their exam work after school at designated after school clubs and also participate in afterschool clubs to develop their skills. All students are informed about trips planned and also expected to develop their own understanding of performance by going to see live performance

Further Information

The Music and Performing Arts department have an extra-curricular programme

Tuesday – Band / Drama and Dance club

Wednesday – Choir

Thursday -Yr. 10/11 rehearsal time

ODM provide a peripatetic music service to the school – Instruments on offer are :-  Voice, Guitar, Drums and keyboard / piano.

Subject Leader Information

For more information or if you have any questions please use the contact details below.

Ms C Milan –

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