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Music – National Curriculum Aims

The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

Attainment targets

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

Subject content

Key stage 1

Pupils should be taught to:

  • use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes
  • play tuned and untuned instruments musically
  • listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music
  • experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music.

Key stage 2

Pupils should be taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They should develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
  • improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
  • use and understand staff and other musical notations
  • appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians
  • develop an understanding of the history of music.


Curriculum Intent

At Coleridge, we want to equip children with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the music National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. For example, at Christmas our children are taken to sing at local charity events such as The Rotherham Toy Appeal. The concert was set at the local shopping area and the children’s sang a whole host of festive songs, spreading Christmas cheer to all those who attended. What a great start to the festive season it was! We are committed to putting music on the map here at Coleridge Primary School.

We want our children to use the vibrancy of our local area and to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong SMSC curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the music curriculum. For example, as part of our Eid celebrations, we invited a specialist into school to deliver expert Asian drumming workshops for our pupils.

We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this sparks their interests and passions. For example, earlier this year we provided our pupils with the opportunity to attend and experience a West End Show in London. Over 30 children experienced a unique performance of the Prince of Egypt. The event was a resounding success and many of the children commented what a wonderful and memorable experience they had. This has been supported with further visits to the local Theatre and having theatre companies attend workshops in school. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.


Curriculum Implementation

In July 2019, a complete audit of the music curriculum was conducted. On the back of the findings from this audit, the music curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. At Coleridge Primary School we use the Charanga Musical School scheme – which provides our teachers with week-by-week lessons for each year group in the school from ages 5-11. This scheme provides lesson plans, assessment, clear progression, and engaging and exciting whiteboard resources for every lesson. Our music scheme is based on: Listening and Appraising; Musical Activities – creating and exploring; and Singing and Performing.

Music subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in music and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics are:

  • A rapidly widening repertoire which they use to create original, imaginative, fluent and distinctive composing and performance work.
  • A musical understanding underpinned by high levels of aural perception, internalisation and knowledge of music, including high or rapidly developing levels of technical expertise.
  • Very good awareness and appreciation of different musical traditions and genres.
  • An excellent understanding of how musical provenance – the historical, social and cultural origins of music – contributes to the diversity of musical styles.
  • The ability to give precise written and verbal explanations, using musical terminology effectively, accurately and appropriately.
  • A passion for and commitment to a diverse range of musical activities.

We encourage staff to teach a weekly music lesson. This was a notable change after the music audit. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to music and that musical subject matter can be revisited frequently. We have ensured that music lessons have been delivered by specialists; in Y3 and Y4 our children learn how to play the ukulele and recorder. At the end of Y4, we us a proportion of the Pupil Premium funding to purchase a recorder for every child in class, so they have a instrument to practice with at home. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.

Curriculum Impact

Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in music. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each half-term. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. Monitoring in music includes: lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice. This all feeds into our Subject Leader Progress Reports.

All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.

Cultural Capital

At Coleridge, we know that Cultural Capital is essential to improve the life chances of our children by supplying them with essential knowledge and also experiences that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. One of our main cultural capital drivers is creating global citizens and delivering quality first teaching and these are always evident within our music curriculum.

Our music curriculum is diverse and caters for the many cultures within our school. As a result, this ensures that our children are exposed to a wide variety of music genres and ensures that they can thrive in the modern world. Children are exposed to classical music, rap and jazz; these genres have been selected to broaden children’s minds and develop a love and appreciation of different cultures. As we want to broaden children’s horizons, in Y3 and Y4, Rotherham music service deliver high-quality music lessons where children have the opportunity to learn how to play the ukulele and recorder. The culmination of these lesson’s are three performances per year to the children’s parents. We want to ensure every child has the chance to practice an instrument away from school; therefore, at the end of Y4 we purchase recorders, using our Pupil Premium funding, for each child to give them this valuable opportunity.

We also want to expose our children to music at a performance level and expand their experiences by taking them to events that maybe unfamiliar to them. As part of the HAF programme, we have ensured that 30 of our children attend a musical in London’s West End. We also ensure that children visit the local theatre, whilst also having drama performances delivered in school during term time and in the holidays. The Coleridge choir have several events that they attend throughout the year to provide opportunities to perform in front of live audiences,

At Coleridge we understand the importance of knowledge organisers and how they can support children’s understanding and learning.

They are also an excellent assessment tool which can help identify gaps in learning and inform planning, teaching and intervention. As we have developed our own curriculum, class teachers have also developed knowledge organisers to work alongside our curriculum. Children will be encouraged to refer to knowledge organisers throughout sessions to help support and enhance their learning.

Knowledge organisers can be a valuable tool for both children, staff and parents. Class teachers are the ones who write the knowledge organiser, to set out their expectations of what pupils should learn about a topic – and to clarify their own thinking around what is important.

School leaders, headteachers and subject leaders then may look at a series of knowledge organisers to check for progression and continuity both within and across curriculum subjects and to ensure standards and expectations for learning are being implemented, and if not, what CPD is required.

Pupils will review, revise and quiz themselves using their knowledge organisers. Knowledge organisers are a really clear and easy to understand way for parents to be more aware of what their children are learning and thus to support them.

Some of the benefits of knowledge organisers

  1. A knowledge organiser makes the teacher think hard about what will be taught.
  2. Knowledge organisers are an endless source of meaningful homework activities.
  3. Knowledge organisers are an excellent tool for inclusion.
  4. Knowledge organisers create opportunities for spaced retrieval practice.
  5. Ahead of a summative assessment at the end of a topic you can inform pupils that some of the questions will refer to previous learning; pupils can then refer to the knowledge organiser to access and practice those topics.
  6. Used appropriately, knowledge organisers can increase retention of facts

At Coleridge, we have several non-negiotiables that need to be included in a knowledge organiser, they are:

  • Key vocabulary (linked to Progression of language)
  • Key places and people
  • Useful diagrams (as required for the topic)
  • Key dates for a subject like history (e.g. when the two World Wars were)
  • Key themes
  • Important quotes
  • Stem sentences for a subject like Science or Maths

We use knowledge organisers throughout school, however, in EYFS they look different to other phases of school due to the away the curriculum is structure. In EYFS, we use a holistic approach to knowledge organisers and have a topic knowledge organiser, whereas, in KS1 and KS2 our knowledge organisers are subject specific.

If you would like any information about our knowledge organisers then please contact us at