Subject Intent

‘Where words fail, music speaks’

Music and performing arts are uniquely positioned to bring together intellect and feeling, enabling personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of our culture, past and present, music and the performing arts helps students to understand themselves, relate to others and develop their cultural understanding, forging important links between home, school and the wider world. Whilst music and the performing arts are valuable in their own right, the study of them can enhance so much more: teaching transferable skills to develop well-rounded students. 

At Derby Cathedral School, our music and the performing arts curriculum is challenging, inspiring and engaging, building resilient, curious, tenacious and independent learners. We do this by providing quality first teaching to each and every student, teaching each scheme of learning through performance, composition and appraising ensuring a comprehensive approach that really cements each student’s learning.  

At Derby Cathedral School, we value the diverse range of interests, abilities and backgrounds our students have, and we build upon these by broadening students’ experiences of different musical styles, genres and cultures, but also by developing their own ‘voice’ and opinions, whilst respecting and valuing the opinions and perspectives of others.  

The music specialism at Derby Cathedral School - along with mathematics - helps to support students’ cognitive development, teaching students how to think, explore and problem-solve. This is in addition to building students’ self-esteem and self-confidence through performance which in turn, increases students’ engagement in all lessons.  

Students have the opportunity to learn a range of musical instruments in the classroom, and this is supported by the Derbyshire Music Partnership, which provides peripatetic music lessons on a range of instruments.  We are proud of our fully-inclusive and relevant curriculum which is reviewed regularly to ensure it is personalised and meets the needs of all our students.  

The performing arts curriculum incorporates both dance and drama. In drama, students are given the opportunity to develop their understanding of da practitioners and performance styles through evaluating and performing a diverse collection of dramatic texts, which span a range of genres. Students have the opportunity to watch professional and amateur productions of plays and musicals, as well as having performance opportunities with Derby Theatre.  

The sequencing of the curriculum taught is underpinned by a carefully planned and ambitious progression in musical skills, knowledge and understanding in which the requirements of the National Curriculum are met. We begin in year 7 by building upon students’ experiences from key stage 2; by developing the use of the voice and student’s confidence in this - through unison and progressing to singing in harmony. Students develop their musical accuracy and fluency on a range of instruments, suited to their choice, which helps build tenacity and transferable learning. Additionally, students have the opportunity to develop their skills as not only solo performer, but also in ensemble groups, developing their understanding of the importance of fellowship and humility. Ultimately, the curriculum meets the needs of all our learners through rigorous assessment and feedback, practical teaching in which students actively learn through independent learning activities, and is supported by learning outside of the classroom through our extensive extra-curricular programme and opportunities to perform within the community. All performing arts subjects promote an overall appreciation of the arts, both inside and outside the curriculum, developing discipline, control, focus and giving students ‘a voice’.  

The music and performing arts departments are outward-facing, making links beyond the school community including the local community of Derby and the world of work and careers. Derby is a renowned centre of innovation in many sectors, and the creative arts is a burgeoning area. We believe our school should play an important part in developing the creative arts in Derby through opportunities to perform within the local community and experience live performances outside of the school context through our links with Derby Cathedral, Derby Theatre and Deda. (Derby and Derbyshire music partnership) 

Our careers education informs students of possible careers within the arts, which raises aspirations and provides opportunities for students to develop their skills and experiences in these fields. We are working closely with a number of local providers as well as our cultural educational partnership to access local and national opportunities.   Our work with our cultural partner (based at Derby Theatre) also provides opportunities for students to thrive in Derby city and to experience a variety of cultural experiences to develop their skills, life chances and fulfil their highest ambitions. Additionally, our students are engaging with pathways beyond key stage 4 and 5 through our collaboration with a number of universities. 

Finally, our music and performing arts team are constantly researching new developments and teaching strategies within music and the performing arts to ensure students at Derby Cathedral School receive the best possible arts experiences matching the ‘vibrancy’ of Derby as a city centre, promoting self-worth, confidence, resilience and understanding of the world around them through a cultural and creative eye.  

Music Long Term Plans

Updated: 03/11/2022 33 KB



Mrs J Eaton Head of Performing Arts and Music
Mr J Emberley Assistant Head Teacher 
Mr A Goodhead Deputy Headteacher



Homework is set each term to correlate with the scheme of learning students are studying. The homework is a small project, which requires students to work through a short task booklet. The tasks ask students to view videos or complete tasks to consolidate their learning from lessons and give them a comprehensive understanding of the terminology used within drama. After completing the tasks in the homework booklet, students complete an assessment which equates to 20 marks for the total assessment for each unit of work. All homework is set on teams.  


Students received a lot of formative feedback whilst studying each scheme of learning, which is recorded in their workbooks. This takes the form of teacher verbal feedback, RAG self-reflection and self and peer assessment. Summative assessment is broken down into three components for drama;

1. Performing (30 marks),

2. Devising (30 marks) and

3, understanding drama (40 marks – 20 assessment in class and 20 for homework).

Students are marked on each aspect, totalling 100 marks (relating to the grade boundaries for drama). This helps both teachers and students keep track of their individual progress against student targets, ensuring relevant and timely intervention is put into place, if needed.  

Study skills & revision

In music, we focus upon developing students’ performance, composition and appraising skills through classroom activities, homework and our comprehensive extra-curricular programme.  

We look at three areas of music in both key stage 3 and 4: 

Understanding music (music theory, notation, dynamics, rhythm, texture, structure, melody, instrumentation, harmony and tonality). 

Performing music  

Composing – using music technology for example Logic Pro, Soundtrap and Sibelius.  

Below is a collection of links to websites that support music at both key stage 3 and 4: 

BBC Bitesize: 

Music Mark: 


Extra-curricular Activities

The performing arts department offers a wide range of opportunities for students to take part in dance, drama and music. These opportunities are available for both key stage 3 and 4 students. These range from music groups (brass band, concert band, guitar group, house band) and school productions in which all performing arts students can take part. These opportunities allow students to gain further insight into performing arts and help them to gain confidence in performance roles. There are also ‘behind the scenes’ roles that are available, from support with lighting, sound, prompts and set design.  


In lessons, we will use a variety of resources that your teacher will create for you into a student booklet, ensuring all the resources you need are in one place.  All lesson resources are developed by your teacher to ensure that you have the best information to support your learning and skill development in drama.

We will also be using a GCSE text book to support with the understanding music aspect of the course at key stage 4.

Eduqas Music GCSE Student Book – this is a comprehensive study guide covering all aspects of the course:

Eduqas Revision Guide – A concise revision guide supporting students in preparing for the listening examination in GCSE music.

In lessons, students will be using music technology to arrange their compositional ideas. Students can use logic Pro, Sibelius and Soundtrap. Soundtrap is also available for students to use at home.