Pupils in a music lesson at Elms Bank


Music plays an important role within Elms Bank. It develops students' self-esteem, confidence and supports wider learning in essential areas such as communication and social interaction. The teaching of music develops pupils’ 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 and enjoy the immense benefits music brings.


  • 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 ensure that listening, and applying knowledge and understanding, are developed through the interrelated skills of performing, composing and listening and appraising
  • To experience making music using a range of tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments
  • To experience a variety of music from different times and cultures (including live music)
  • To provide and maintain enriching extra-curricular activities

Extra-Curricular Activities

The music department offers a variety of extra curricula activities to enhance and develop the pupils' musical learning and enjoyment. All clubs are entirely inclusive and are open to all students in the school. Extra-curricular activities include Choir, Karaoke Club andSamba Band. 


The school choir is very popular, consisting of over 40 students of all ages and abilities including students with profound and multiple learning difficulties and autism. The choir has performed in a number of concerts including the Inscape Musical Festival at the Lowry Theatre, Bury Hospice Choir of the Year at Radcliffe Civic Hall and the Bolton Music Festival at the Victoria Hall. The Choir received a fantastic adjudication from the vocal coach of the Halle Orchestra at the Bury Hospice Choir of the Year Competition. They were recognised for their professionalism, enthusiasm and passion for singing. One of the choir’s greatest accolades came from Andy Burnham who was overwhelmed by the high standard of the choir’s performance. 

Instrumental Lessons

Elms Bank is keen to provide many musical opportunities for pupils to enjoy and achieve outside of the classroom. There are currently 52 pupils learning to play a musical instrument. Instrumental lessons are delivered by experienced peripatetic teachers on a one-to-one basis. Elms Bank currently offers pupils the opportunity to take singing, Drum, Keyboard, Percussion and Guitar lessons. We also offer one to one Music Therapy sessions for pupils in our Complex Needs Department.


In Key Stage 4, we offer four different exam pathways. These include:

  • NCFE Level 1 Certificate in Performance Skills (GCSE D-G equivalent)
  • Arts Award Bronze (Level 1)
  • Arts Award Explore (Entry Level 3)
  • Arts Award Discover (Entry Level 1)

Each pathway is personalised to meet the needs and ability of each of our pupils. Employers and colleges recognise these qualifications as they show a great level of commitment and progress in the arts and in developing new skills. Music and Drama is combined and delivered in the form of Performing Arts for pupils in Group 2 and Group 3.

The Arts Award recognises achievement, but is designed to be inclusive. Pupils of all abilities can take part as long as they are committed to participating in Music and Drama, improving their skills and building transferable skills such as leadership and team work. Over the two year course, parents and friends will be invited to concerts to watch pupils' performances.

The Arts Award provides opportunities to try new expereinces in Music and Drama and gain a valuable Level 1 national qualification.

Music Unlimited

At Music Unlimited we believe there is a pathway into music making for everyone. Our mission is to conceive, pioneer, develop and spotlight such pathways for children and young adults with special needs.

We run performance projects to promote inclusive performance practice and share understanding.

We fuel musical aspiration in special education through services and products.

We devise professional development packages for teaching assistants, class teachers and subject/instrument specialists.