At St Mary’s Catholic School we pride ourselves on providing an exemplary curriculum for all students, including our students with special educational needs.  Our Year 7 to Year 13 curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced, allowing all students to know more and remember more in lessons, and to achieve exceptional progress.  Our curriculum is planned to stretch and challenge all learners, with highly effective scaffolding in place to ensure our students with SEND and other additional needs also achieve highly.  Our curriculum meets and exceeds all national curriculum requirements.  Due to the numerous strengths and sustained success and impact of our curriculum year on year, St Mary’s supports many other schools within the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust and more widely to share this exemplary practice.

The Music curriculum is exemplary because:

  • It encourages and inspires students to develop a deep love of music and develop their talent as musicians.
  • Increases student’s self-confidence, resilience, creativity and collaborative skills.
  • Equips students with the skills, knowledge and vocabulary to critically appraise music from a wide variety of musical genres, styles and musical periods. Incremental development of these skills as students’ progress through Key Stages.
  • Develops students understanding of the music they perform, compose and listen to.
  • Provides students with a multi-sensory approach to their music learning.
  • Rooted in a deep understanding of the musical elements (the building blocks of music). This allows students to become confident performers, composers and appraisers.

The Music curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced:

  • Student engage creatively with a varied collection of genres and styles of music from different cultures and traditions. Student’s get to know musical pieces and analyse them through listening and appraising, performance and composition.
  • Develops student’s critical engagement and appreciation of music from a wide variety of genres, styles and tradition
  • Instil a passion for performance and develop communication and expressive skills through this.
  • Develop creativity through the promotion of strong musical compositional skills and group work.
  • Encourages students to use subject specific (Italian, where necessary) to describe and critically appraise music.

The Music curriculum has effective scaffolding to support our SEND students/other students with additional needs:

  • The firm belief and ethos of Music as a unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act.
  • Larger print, symbols, colour-coding, multi-sensory reinforcement and an emphasis on aural memory skills are used.
  • Opportunities to learn about music through physical engagement with instruments.
  • Clear and well thought out seating plans to aid the progress of SEND students.
  • Flexibility in groupings – some students during practical may feel more comfortable working in a smaller group or individually.
  • A variety of engaging activities will occur during the course of a lesson, such as moving, listening, playing instruments, performing and composing.
  • Transitions from whole class work to smaller groupings is clearly signalled so that all students are aware of what is happening.
  • Students can be assigned specific roles in group work.
  • Keyboard templates/staff notation help is available in all lessons where required.
  • SEND students are involved as equal contributors to all aspects of the curriculum and lesson activities.
  • Key words and concepts are clearly displayed and are accessible for SEND students.
  • Modelling and practical demonstration supports verbal questioning and occurs before moving into practical activity.
  • Graphic scores feature within the curriculum as an alternative to traditional stave notation.
  • Much music can be shared without the need for words but students are actively encourage to talk about their work and the work of their peers. Students are invited to verbalise how work may be improved.
  • The culture of the music classroom is inclusive and welcoming and students feel good about exploring, experimenting and making ‘mistakes’. Rhythmic repetition is used to aid aural memory/retention.

The Music curriculum is worthy of sharing more widely with other schools because:

  • The high quality way the music curriculum is implemented by very skilled subject specialists.
  • It meets and exceeds the needs of the National Curriculum.
  • It is stimulating and inspirational for students exposing them to an exceptionally varied range of musical styles and genres.
  • The curriculum has outstanding impact. The sequencing/planning of the curriculum allows students to build outstanding knowledge and retain knowledge over the course of a sequence of lessons or unit of work