The Music Department

Key Stage 3

The department offers the National Curriculum in Years 7 and 8 with a primary focus on practical music making. Students learn about a variety of music from different times, places and cultures, which form the basis of units of work (1 per term).  All students have the opportunity to listen to, compose and perform music every lesson and are encouraged to take up an instrument to complement their studies.

Key Stage 4

GCSE music has grown in popularity and the department currently has a healthy intake in Years 9, 10 and 11. Students study the Edexcel course over two years, beginning in Year 9.  Unit 1 (30%) is a performance unit where students are given the opportunity to perform as soloists and within ensembles.  Unit 2 (30%) requires students to compose two pieces of music that can be based on, but are not limited to, pieces that we study.  Unit 3 (40%) is taken at the end of Year 10 and students are examined on 8 out of 12 set works that we study over the course.  Students who do not opt to take GCSE music in Year 9 can opt to take it over one year in Year 11.

Key Stage 5

In the 6th form the department offers two courses:

AS/A2 music builds on the skills developed during the GCSE course. Students are required to study set pieces of music in depth and identify key musical features, as well as writing about it in more detail. Students will also learn fundamental harmonic principles and apply these practically (40%).  As with the GCSE course, students are required to perform (30%) and compose (30%). AS/A2 music is a key requirement if students are wishing to continue music at higher education level.

IB music is offered at both Standard and Higher Level.  This course covers music from many different times and places, with a clear focus on comparing and contrasting.  Students are expected to produce portfolios of work. Higher Level students compile both performance and composition portfolios, whereas Standard Level students choose between these two options. This course gives students a good grounding in the skills needed to take music at university and its content is flexible depending on the intake.

Beyond The Curriculum

The music department is committed to the growth of music within the school and has built up a loyal following. This has led to good attendance at the following extracurricular activities:

Orchestra after school on Mondays, Jazz Band after school on Tuesdays, Guitar Club, lunchtimes on Thursdays, Choir and String Group after school on Thursdays.

Many informal groups (saxophone group, flute club) do develop during the year, depending on the types of events that are running.

We offer lessons on the following instruments: flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, violin, voice, drums, guitar(s), piano, brass.

The department runs many events during the academic year. Our most recent events include ‘Barton Court’s Got Talent’ and the musical ‘Oliver!’. All events are well supported by staff, students and parents. The Carol Concert in Canterbury Cathedral is always a personal highlight, as is our participation in the Canterbury Festival.

The department welcomes students at break and lunchtimes, as well as after school (by appointment).


The music department consists of a dedicated teaching area. This contains a large main classroom, four practice rooms, a music office/technology room and a good sized instrumental cupboard for storage.

Students regularly use Sibelius 5 and Guitar Pro 5 and the main classroom contains PCs designed for these programs. The department also has a portable MP3 recorder and a multi-track recorder, both of which are available for use by all students.


Ms G Fenn Lead Teacher of Music and Head of Year 8
Mr T Archer Teacher of Music (p/t)
Mrs K West Faculty Learning Mentor


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