Music - Gordon's School - Highly Commended for the BMC Award

The departmental vision was to allow students to see that an arts education is for life, not just at KS3 and to involve as many students as possible in that vision.

In the curriculum, a cross-curricular project was devised based on the concept of 'Protest' (as the end result of the PTI Subject Leadership Qualification). This topic was first devised by Music in 2020-21 as a song writing unit for Year 9, and has been well received by students. In 2021-22, this was rolled out to Drama (topic on Brecht, followed by a devised piece based on their choice of protest) and Art (Birds with Issues project). Feedback from the students has been very positive and an unexpected win for both music and drama is that the students have really started to consider the impact music can have on a piece of theatre. This has also helped foster a culture of songwriting which did not exist previously.

In terms of co-curricular provision, to support an instrumental bursary scheme in year 7, the department launched a number of new ensembles to provide opportunities for beginner students to play or sing. These include a girls’ choir, a boy’s choir, a Junior wind group and a Junior Jazz Ensemble. Students can join these ensembles as soon as they have learnt to play one note. It has been clear to see the students loving the social impact of learning an instrument or singing and being involved with an ensemble from the outset.

Finally, after attending a careers speed dating event where no creative careers were on display, students voiced their desire for change and so the department decided to initiate the first ever Creative Careers Day. The department fought for a day off timetable for the students studying music, art, drama and dance and also for the staff. The Heads of Departments have designed a stream for their subject including both presentations and practical workshops for students. CPD sessions for teachers enriching their subject knowledge of careers and arts links were also arranged, including talks on Artsmark from the Bridge Organisation and Arts Award qualifications. They also learned how to apply for higher education courses and what a teacher reference should look like for conservatoire. In total across all three strands they had about 100 students and 10 staff taking part (including some Careers Dept leads), including participants from other local secondary schools.