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St Francis Xavier


Musical education is an integral component of Saint Francis Xavier School, and seeks to explore and build upon students’ knowledge, expanding their understanding and to compass a vast range of music from classical to the modern.

Music is central to our cultural life and is intrinsic to our assemblies, services and concerts. Our aim is to stretch, encourage and support students’ natural musical talents whilst ensuring its accessibility to all. This is achieved by the opportunity of playing a range of instruments, understanding music technology and participating in the wider curricular activities.  Students from across all year groups are encouraged to immerse themselves in worship band, choir, string orchestra and wind band.

The music curriculum is designed in such a way it is taught to complement and enhance other subjects such as History and English, this inspires interest and actively engages students in their music and its context.

As a universal language, our music curriculum seeks to develop unique and meaningful values that include transferable skills, creativity and vibrancy, team work, resilience and perseverance whilst broadening students’ cultural capital.

Curriculum team

Mr C Rodaway – Curriculum Leader

Peripatetic instrumental tutors

KS3 topics

Students are taught Music 1 lesson per week throughout Key Stage 3. Many topics are revisited throughout the Key Stage to allow students to further develop their skills.

Topics include:

Band skills, Find Your Voice, Reggae, Keyboard Skills, Live Lounge, Sequencing, Blues, Adverts, Musicals, Writing Melodies, Film Music, A Capella, Sibelius

KS4 / GCSE topics


The course is split into three units: Composing, Performing and Understanding Music.  We work on these areas concurrently throughout the course to allow students the time to develop their skills and make improvements to their work.

Topics include:

Solo performance, Ensemble performance, Music Theory, The Elements of Music, Compositional skills and General listening skills.

We also discover two Study Pieces set by the exam board.  These are currently Haydn’s Clock Symphony and The Beatles and will soon be changing to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Little Shop of Horrors.

GCSE assessment

There is only one exam paper for GCSE Music with 60% of the course being Non-Examined Assessment:

The exam is titled Understanding Music.  It assesses general listening skills as well as looking at student’s contextual understanding of Music over the last 400 years.

The NEA is made up of two performances (one solo and one ensemble) and two compositions (one free choice and one to a given brief).

Wider curriculum

All students can access further practical music-making through our instrumental tuition scheme whereby visiting teachers provide lessons for the vast majority of instruments, both orchestral and electronic.

There are also many extra-curricular opportunities within the department which all students are welcome and encouraged to engage with.  These opportunities currently include a choir, string orchestra, worship band and wind band.  The department also stages many concerts and shows and provides music for services and functions throughout the school year.