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Within the music department, we aim to offer a practical based and enjoyable experience of music making in the 21st Century. All staff are fully committed to the delivery of exciting and inspirational lessons, enriched by a full and varied extra-curricular timetable.


  • Miss C. A. Thompson - Head of Music 

For detailed biographies of our instrument and voice teachers, please click here.

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Music is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way learners feel, think and act. It brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, it helps learners understand themselves and relate to others, forging important links between the home, school and the wider world.

The teaching of music develops learners' ability to listen, work as a team, develop self confidence, inspire motivation, become creative thinkers and give them an understanding and appreciation of a wide variety of music.

In an inclusive school, music is essential for developing communication skills and initiating expression, ideas and feelings. In addition, through purposeful, imaginative and creative activities, learners learn to take managed risks, trying out new ideas, and new ways of working without fear of failure.

The music curriculum at Upton is a practical and musically analytical scheme that gives our learners the opportunity to develop these skills and intent. It aims to provide an experience and understanding for learners to become ambitious, creative adults.


Delivery of this musical journey will comprise of lessons based around core knowledge, performance, composition and appraisal through listening and score reading. It will also encompass a variety of extra curricular experiences for learners.

Be knowledge based, accessible and aspirational for all learners:

  • All learners study music at KS3
  • All learners have the option to continue studying music at KS4 and KS5
  • Use assessments to monitor pupils progress and inform future planning
  • Provide opportunities for learners to perform to a high standard, developing strategies for sustained learning and long-term recall

Raise aspirations and prepare learners for successful progression post 16:

  • Teach speaking and listening skills 
  • Provide guidance on the effective use of ICT where appropriate
  • Potential careers links  are discussed with our subject where appropriate

Ensure students develop knowledge, confidence and skill within English and maths:

  • Across KS3 & KS4 learners are taught subject specific vocabulary and are tested on the understanding of the key words through activities in lessons and homework
  • In music at KS3 and at GCSE level, learners are taught techniques to answer ‘essay style’ questions which are level marked  using exam question command words
  • Focus on the whole school literacy policy through understanding of key words and vocabulary, literacy posters “Read Like a Musician” 
  • Develop skills in timing and counting music.

Promote the development of personal qualities such as commitment to learning, respect for others, resilience, pride in achievement and independence

  • Challenge opportunities are built into lessons to allow all learners to develop their  knowledge & understanding
  • Ensure there is one voice in lessons to  show respect to others
  • Offer a range of learning activities that encourage resilience and independence
  • Set high expectations in lessons and reward learners through praise cards and through nominations in rewards assemblies leading to pride in achievement
  • The 1,2 system and learning for progress grades are used to promote these behaviours

Develop skills and understanding for life in modern Britain:

  • Explore themes of tolerance, diversity, democracy, law, respect, empathy, individuality, black lives, Pride through lesson content

In Music, the Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, skills, behaviours and experiences that a learner can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence. Cultural capital represents the key ingredients that a leaner will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work. Through the element of performance, the appreciation of music from many different genres and cultures and the appreciation of how music is put together, learners will gain skills which will enable them to become successful adults in today’s society.

  • Expose students to a range of music which they would not normally experience
  • Develop their knowledge of the historical context of music 
  • Arrange trips and visits relevant to the curriculum

Key Stage 3

Pupils study music within UNITS of study.

Year 7

  • Unit 1: Experimental Music
  • Unit 2: Melody, Pitch, and Rhythm
  • Unit 3: Musical Journeys
  • Unit 4: Ensemble Work
  • Unit 5: Rhythm around the World
  • Unit 6: Films and Soundtracks

Year 8

  • Unit 1: Music in Advertising
  • Unit 2: Nationalism and Programme Music
  • Unit 3: Structures and Forms
  • Unit 4: Dance Music around the World
  • Unit 5: Opera versus Musicals
  • Unit 6: Computer Generated Sound

Year 9

  • Unit 1: Chords and Melody
  • Unit 2: Theme and Variations
  • Unit 3: Rhythm, Bass and Background
  • Unit 4: Technology or not!
  • Unit 5: 19th and 20th Century Music
  • Unit 6: History of Pop

The curriculum at Upton is delivered under the 3 key areas of Composing, Performing and Listening. Pupils are assessed in each area every term.

GCSE and A Level

Music is offered at GCSE level, studied through the AQA syllabus, and A Level, studied through WJEC.

Extra-Curriculur Activities

At Upton, there is the opportunity to extend pupil’s music studies through extra-curricular activities. Some of the clubs offered are:

  • Senior Band
  • Junior Band
  • Senior Flute Ensemble
  • Junior Flute Ensemble
  • Choir
  • Ukulele Group
  • Guitar Group
  • Senior Clarinet Group
  • Clarinet Quintet
  • Year 7 Choir
  • Music Theatre Group
  • Music Theory Group

The Music Department has an open-door policy, where pupils are actively encouraged to “pop in” during their lunch times and break times to rehearse. Fledgling bands are actively encouraged to make use of the new drum kit on a rota system.

Please click here for further details of the school's extra-curricular timetable.


The Music Department sets homework in line with the whole school policy.Homework is set according to the nature of the lesson, and will include research, further study and completion of classwork.