Music Curriculum Intent

Our model of learning is based around working towards mastery throughout the course of KS3, the programme of study functioning as a railroad preparing students to either continue their studies at KS4 or to finish in year 9 with a broad understanding and awareness of a range of musical cultures, conventions, and styles. There is a strong focus on supporting Global Learning and whole-school Literacy as well as focussing on and developing the higher-level thinking skills to support learners on their journeys towards becoming lifelong learners and problem-solvers. Students learn music through a range of activities and tasks that centre around performing, composing, and appraising music. This is supplemented by introducing them to career opportunities through learning about the music industry and wider creative industries forming strong links with Drama and Dance in the wider faculty of Performing Arts. Strong and explicit cross-curricular links are made during KS3 helping them to link their learning into a wider cultural context, deepening the learning potential. Our curriculum is evolving and aims to provide a meaningful experience to our students, within which they feel valued and identified.

We encourage them to be involved in music outside of school through the many ensembles and opportunities offered by Bristol Plays Music, as well as offering them a diverse range of extra-curricular opportunities within the school.

In our programme of study, we embed opportunities for our students to learn about local Bristol history. Pupils are challenged and encouraged to discuss and develop understanding of and sensitivity towards a range of cultural music and traditions, thus contributing to the wider focus of our efforts as a school to decolonialise our collective curriculum, whilst arming and empowering our learners with the knowledge and understanding to continue this effort and carry this mindset forwards with them in their own lives.

General Information

We have four Apple Mac based recording studios plus two classrooms in the Music department which will enhance the curriculum and provide extra-curricular enrichment, as well as being available to our GCSE students to use for their composition coursework. It is a very exciting time for Music within the School with the School Orchestra, Choir, ‘Mr Roderick’s School of Rock’ plus Ms Herbert’s Jazz Band. Uptake of instrument lessons has increased steadily and we have had many memorable performances.

Music is a unique form of communication that can change the way students feel, think and act. Music forms part of an individual’s identity and positive interaction with music can develop students’ competence as learners and increase their self-esteem. Music brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal and cultural expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, music helps students to understand themselves, relate to others and develop their cultural understanding, forging important links between home, school and the wider world. At FHS, we encourage a respectful and positive environment, within which students feel secure and able to express themselves. They develop an aesthetic appreciation of music and culture, whilst reflecting on their own and others’ performances in order to make progress.

Music education encourages active involvement in different forms of music-making, both individual and communal, helping to develop a sense of group identity and togetherness. Music can influence students’ development in and out of school by fostering personal development and maturity, creating a sense of achievement and self-worth, and increasing their ability to work with others in a group context.

Music learning develops students’ critical skills: their ability to listen, to appreciate a wide variety of music, and to make judgments about musical quality. It also increases self-discipline, creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfillment.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 students study Music with a specialist music teacher once a week in a dedicated music classroom.

Music is very active here at FHS. Students learn through performing, composing and appraising. They learn on a variety of instruments including keyboards, tuned percussion, guitar, bass guitars, drums, singing, and percussion instruments. Students also use ICT to enhance their work.

Students study an array of music from around the world and from different times, including dance music, vocal music, blues, reggae, African and samba drumming, film music, rap and pop music.

Key Stage 4

Music at Key Stage 4 continues the work studied at Key Stage 3 in more depth.  Some areas of study include pop music, classical music, dance music, film music and developing competency on their chosen instrument. Students choosing to study Music at GCSE level are encouraged to have instrumental lessons. This will support their learning, as well as the course requirements for their solo and ensemble performances.

GCSE involves coursework which is based on the students’ own choice. This allows them to focus on the music they are interested in for their compositions whilst learning about and absorbing a wide range of musical traditions from which to draw upon and explore through their compositions.

Extra Curricular

The music department now offers five practice rooms, which students can book to use to create and rehearse their music. They are allowed to use the school’s instruments or bring in their own.

We also offer:

  • Choir
  • School of Rock
  • Chamber Group
  • Jazz Band
  • KS3 Music Club
  • Year 11 Theory / Revision

The music department works closely with the Drama and Dance department to produce an annual school musical. Past shows have included ‘Hairspray’, ‘Oliver’, ‘Bugsy Malone’, ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘We Will Rock You’.

Peripatetic lessons

Here at FHS we offer a wide range of instrumental lessons on orchestral as well as more popular music focused instruments and singing, plus music production. These are taught by visiting specialist professional instrumental teachers from the award-winning ‘Bristol Plays Music’ music support service.


The music department likes to offer at least four trips per year, some of which collaborate with Dance and Drama departments. This is in order to give students a chance of experiencing professional live performances.  Past trips have included The Royal Albert Hall, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Hairspray’ the musical. Plans this year include taking a group of students to see ‘The Cirque du Soleil’ at The Royal Albert Hall.