Select Page

In this section

Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Intent



Progress and Attainment

Year 9 Options

Learning Support

School Library

Exams and Revision

GCSE Results

A Level Results


School Trips

School Council

Equality Group

D of E Award Scheme

Jack Petchey Foundation



The Music Industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK and contributes over £3.5bn to the UK economy each year. At Forest Hill School our curriculum is passionately designed to equip our students with the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to access this fast-growing industry.

Our tailor-made curriculum features a wide range of topics and styles, and it is specifically designed with three core musical principles in mind: listening and appraising music; composing; and performing. A combination of these core strands are evident in all schemes of work at all Key Stages. The department is an exciting place to be and it is a hive of creative activity!

The music department’s fantastic facilities enable us to deliver high quality and exciting lessons. Our curriculum is designed so that students experience practical music making in an engaging way. In order to deliver this we have a huge wealth of specialist resources. These include:

  • Two mac suites (40 state-of-the-art Apple Macs and specialist music production software)
  • A recording studio (running Pro-Tools software)
  • Four large teaching classrooms
  • Eight fully equipped rehearsal spaces (each with drums, stage pianos, guitars and basses)

At Forest Hill School, all students (regardless of socio-economic background) have access to free instrumental lessons with specialist peripatetic teachers, as well as music clubs/enrichment activities and the opportunity to make use of practice rooms at lunchtime and after school. As a result of this offer we have lots of dedicated students using our facilities like a rehearsal studio after school.

Our department comprises of teachers with specialisms in a range of areas and skills in order to help meet the needs and interests of all students. Mr Livingstone, a contemporary music, guitar and technology expert, Ms Heerey, string, theory and Classical Music expert, Mr Coggle, percussion, Jazz and World Music specialist and Ms Carini vocal, piano and composition expert.

Music Curriculum Map

Music at Key Stage 3

All students in Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) have one curriculum music lesson a week and are mixed ability. The three strands of listening and appraising, composing and performing are interleaved within all schemes of work. Our lessons are planned so that ultimately students thoroughly enjoy their time in the department.

Key concepts and elements of theory are taught from the start of Year 7 and are re-visited in greater detail in later topics in an interesting and engaging way. In Year 7, students are introduced to the basic key elements of music through listening and appraising music and performing simple pieces. They learn the basic concept of playing the piano and basic musical notation and group drumming sessions are used to focus on rhythm.

In Year 8, students will study classical music; salsa music from South America; and folk music from different parts of Europe and the Middle East. They will learn about the creation and development of Blues music, performing key techniques and pieces, and will explore musical structure to compose their own pieces of music.

In Year 9, students look at what makes an effective performance and will develop their instrumental skills for a solo performance. They will study Indian music and use music technology to create their own authentic Indian pieces; explore techniques and conventions used for composing music for film and television; and learn how to write a pop/rock song, with a range of musical layers, again using music technology.

Homework is not routinely set during KS3 but students are encouraged to practice their instruments either at home or in school; to make use of our ICT facilities to develop their composition and arranging skills; and to join in with our extra-curricular clubs and enrichment activities.

Music at Key Stage 4

The music curriculum at KS4 is a continuation of the three main strands at KS3. The curriculum is tailored for students as it offers different pathways. Students have the choice of: Music GCSE, BTEC Performance or BTEC Music Technology, which will be taught over three periods a week. Recruitment is always strong and plays testament to our engaging offer at KS3.

The GCSE course allows students to develop composition skills; to perform as both a soloist and as part of an ensemble; and to listen and appraise a range of musical genres from Classical, Popular, Film and World Music.

The BTEC Performance course is a practical, hands-on approach to music with an emphasis on performing, composing, learning about the music industry and developing skills as a musician. The course is assessed through coursework and a written exam with a mix of video/audio and written evidence.

The BTEC Music Technology course is designed for students who are keen on creating music using computers rather than instruments. Students can create music within the style that they are interested in. They will learn how to use microphones and how to set up recording equipment and MIDI workstations. Students will further develop their composition and production skills using Logic Pro X music software, and looking at mixing, editing and mastering techniques. They will also spend time learning about the music industry and which organisations and jobs make the industry run smoothly.

GCSE Music Specification

BTEC Performance Specification

BTEC Music Technology Specification

Music at Key Stage 5

At Sixth Form, we offer BTEC Level 3 in Music Performance. This is a practical course which is equivalent to one A level. Students study four units across five periods a week. Two of the units are examined. Students will develop their skills at reading and writing music and composing and arranging music thorough a unit on Practical Music Theory and Harmony.

They will also explore what it is that makes someone a professional in the music industry and how to put forward a bid for work through the Professional Practice in the Music Industry unit. Students develop their ensemble skills – working and rehearsing as part of a group – in a wide range of musical genres though the Ensemble Music Performance and Performance Session Styles units.


The Music Department offers a wide range of musical activities outside the classroom including regular concerts, assembly performances, lunchtime and after-school enrichment clubs, and the opportunity to book and use music practice rooms. Current enrichment clubs on offer can be viewed via the timetable on the Clubs page.

Useful Links

Forest Hill School has a Music website FHS Music containing further information and resources.