Pupils in a music lesson at Elms Bank



Music plays an important role within Elms Bank School. It develops a pupil’s self-esteem, confidence and supports wider learning in essential areas such as communication and social interaction. The teaching of music develops a pupil’s ability to listen and appreciate a wide variety of music and to make judgements about musical quality. It encourages active involvement in different forms of music-making, both individual and communal, developing a sense of group identity and togetherness. The ultimate aim is to give every child the opportunity to develop their musical ability, be creative and enjoy the immense benefits it brings.

The music curriculum aims:

  • To enable pupils of all abilities to take an active role in musical activities
  • To develop pupils self-esteem and confidence
  • To develop communication skills and social interaction
  • To enhance awareness, knowledge and enjoyment of the many forms of music
  • To integrate music into the celebratory life of the school
  • To give pupils the opportunity to sing and use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others
  • To give pupils the opportunity to learn and play a range of musical instruments and use technology appropriately
  • To give pupils the opportunity to perform, listen, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • To develop pupils skills and understanding of how music is created, produced and communicated
  • To develop pupils knowledge of the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations


To support pupils to develop their mathematical fluency and confidence across the curriculum, mathematical skills are embedded into the music Schemes of Work, where meaningful e.g. playing and clapping musical rhythms, reading and playing rhythm notation, singing and playing in time with the beat of the music.

The teaching of spoken language, reading, writing and key vocabulary is embedded throughout the schemes of work, e.g. listening and appraising a range of music referring to key words, learning songs by listening/reading lyrics, self and peer assessment.


Our music curriculum is shaped by our school vision, which aims to enable all pupils, regardless of background, ability, additional needs, to become resilient and confident learners. We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression through the long term plan. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all pupils.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
  • Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music
  • Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
  • Use and understand staff and other musical notations
  • Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians
  • Develop an understanding of the history of music

Music is taught on a weekly basis to all classes in Key Stage 3 by a specialist Music Teacher. Schemes of work are tailored to the needs and ability of each pupil. This includes pathways for our pupils with Complex Needs and pupils within our Specialist Provision, Nurture, Explore and Inspire pathways.

Performing Arts is delivered collaboratively at KS4 by the Music and Drama teachers. We offer four exam pathways to cover the wide ability range of our pupils. These include:

  • NCFE Level 1 Certificate in Performance Skills (GCSE D – G equivalent)
  • Arts Award Silver (Level 1+)
  • Arts Award Bronze (Level 1)
  • Arts Award Discover (Entry Level)


Expressive Arts is delivered at KS5 on a carousel with Music, Art and Drama. All three genres contribute to the following qualification:

  • Arts Award Explore (Entry Level)


Students are encouraged to experience a range of live music during the course of the year and cross curricular activities occur on a regular basis including the whole school where the use of all genres of the arts is required. Opportunities exist for pupils to experience music through visits to the theatre, concerts, in school master classes and workshops from theatre companies, authors and musicians.


Elms Bank is keen to provide many musical opportunities for pupils to enjoy and achieve outside of the classroom. The school choir meets regularly and performs in a variety of concerts in and outside of school.


Instrumental lessons are offered to all pupils in the school and include:

Singing lessons
Drum lessons
Percussion lessons
Guitar lessons
Music therapy
All instrumental teachers provide individual feedback to parents and pupils in the form of a report at the end of the academic year.


A Christmas Concert and School Play are held annually to showcase pupils’ talents and achievement. Pupils having instrumental lessons are encouraged to perform in the concert. We ensure that the concert and play fully inclusive and all pupils from the different pathways have an opportunity to perform.



Refer to: Pathway documents for qualifications; termly data analysis; end of year data analysis.

See also pupil voice following events such as Arts Week, School Performance, etc.

Our Music Curriculum is high quality, well thought-out and carefully planned to demonstrate progress. We measure the impact of our curriculum through:

  • Lesson evaluations
  • Termly/end of year data analysis
  • Pupil discussions about their learning, which includes discussion of their thoughts, ideas, processing and evaluations of work
  • Folders / progress trackers
  • Concerts and performances



The Music department has a particular responsibility to include all pupils regardless of their social or academic background. The variety of Music provision allows all pupils to be included in extracurricular activities. Pupils who receive Pupil Premium are able to apply for a music tuition subsidy. Looked After Children who want to learn to play an instrument have their lessons fully subsidised.



Spiritual – Developing deep thinking and questioning the way in which music has the power to influence and change behaviours, opinions and actions. Music lessons provide pupils with the opportunities to be creative and express their response to a range of stimuli. Pupils are encouraged to share their responses to a range of genres, instruments, lyrics and rhythm. Pupils develop their spiritual awareness of music through their enjoyment of listening to and making music either alone or with others. Spiritual education in Music is encouraged through the experience and emotion of response to the creative process. Through a sensual approach to feeling, seeing and hearing pupils respond creativity themselves. We aim to nurture feelings, enhance moods and enable pupils to reflect.

Examples of Spiritual lessons in music:

Investigate of favourite band, their background and similar musical features within songs
Reflection activities on a range of styles, eras and types of music
How music can evoke a range of different responses

Moral – Pupils discuss the purpose of music and messages shared through lyrics and various images associated with music and artists/bands.

Moral education in music, involves pupils expressing their response to moral dilemmas and emotions. Encouraging critical discussion in response to challenging music will be an integral process in learning development.

Examples of Moral lessons in music:

  •  Mood and music – how does the music make you feel?
  • Analysing song lyrics
  • Singing with feeling and emotion in response to lyrics
  • What was acceptable and unacceptable in music in 1960s and why
  • Why do some music stations refuse to play some songs/artists
  • What are the consequences facing famous people in relation to their music choices and actions.

Social Development in Music – Problem solving skills and teamwork are fundamental to music, through creative thinking, discussion, explaining and presenting music. Students are always encouraged to develop their musical skills, communicating with others and explaining responses to each other. Self and peer reviewing are very important to enable pupils to have an accurate grasp of where they are and how they need to improve. Working together in pairs or groups and supporting others is a key part of music lessons.

Examples of Social lessons in music:

  • Working as a duet or larger groups to perform music e.g. choir.
  • School, assembly, show performances

Cultural – Music is a universal way in which to communicate feelings, emotions and express responses to a variety of stimuli with a myriad of cultural inputs throughout the ages. It is important to encourage an appreciation of various cultures and the range of music and dance associated with them. Pupils are to be made aware of the importance of music.

Cultural education in music involves students developing appreciation of music drawn from a wide variety of traditions with a diversity of genres, forms and purposes. Pupils have the opportunity to explore aspects of their own culture and begin to recognise and appreciate differences in music, from different times and places. They can also begin to make connections between different cultures.

Examples of Cultural lessons in music:

  • African drumming
  • World music
  • Music through the decades
  • Music genres
  • Creating lyrics to a response to our community issues e.g. recycling



By visiting theatres and working with a range of outside practitioners students see the range of careers that can be pursued with the Arts. Students also get hands on experience through taking part on stage and behind the scenes in our end of year show, in addition performing in other local venues, e.g. local schools, festivals, churches, etc.