During their time at Spring Gardens Primary School, our aim is for all children to become confident in their abilities as musicians, to enjoy music and to develop creatively as musicians. The children will experience a broad and balanced music curriculum, giving them the skills, knowledge and self-confidence to access music and musical activities throughout their lives.
From Early Years to Key Stage 2, children are encouraged to develop these three key skills:
Our music curriculum is progressive and the children’s learning follows a logical sequence. As music is a skills based curriculum, progress is not always linear. Therefore, the children will revisit key skills and vocabulary regularly but in increasingly different and more complex contexts, showing progress over time, including in their use of musical language. We feel that it is important for all children to have access to the full music curriculum and extra-curricular experiences and that this access should not be restricted by any social disadvantage.
During the Early Years Foundation Stage, children follow the Early Years Framework where musical skills are developed through the Creative Development strand. In Key Stage 1, music is delivered as a discrete subject, either on a weekly basis or in short bursts throughout the week. By Key Stage 2, children are taught music on a weekly basis, allowing children to revisit skills regularly and build up their competences. In Year 6, music is taught in blocks. Staff ensure that children know that they are developing their musical skills and will use and build on specific musical vocabulary including specific vocabulary relating to the interrelated dimensions of music.
In Key Stage 2, all children will have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument and to read music. Year 3 and 4 children learn to play the recorder, children in Year 5, the ukulele, whilst children in Year 6 develop their musical skills as part of a samba band. All children are encouraged to take their instrumental playing further through extra-curricular activities.
In music, our curriculum is supported by North Tyneside Music Education Hub, the Charanga scheme of work and a singing strategy linked to the national ‘Sing Up’ programme.
Our scheme of work is based around Charanga units of work, ensuring logical progression and regular revisiting and development of basic musical skills and vocabulary. Cross curricular links are made where this is relevant.
In Early Years Foundation Stage, children use everyday language to describe their music and develop their musical skills through singing, playing, exploring instruments and moving to music. They are given regular opportunities to access musical experiences with an adult and to explore independently as part of their classroom environment. Children develop their singing skills by following our singing strategy with key songs in each year group to develop their skills progressively.
Throughout all musical units, children are introduced to and use vocabulary linked to the interrelated dimensions of music: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations. These are introduced gradually across Key Stage 1 and used and revisited regularly in Key Stage 2. In Year 1, children follow the Kodaly project to embed their understanding of pulse, rhythm and pitch and begin the year with short bursts of daily singing. This gives them a sound understanding and fluency with these basic but vital elements of music.
In Key Stage 2, all those children who choose to, can extend their learning and enjoyment of music by participating in extra-curricular clubs and activities free of charge. Information provided by North Tyneside Music Education Hub encourages children to join the music hub ‘Beginner Band’ and ‘Ukulele Club’ following recorder and ukulele wider opportunities lessons. Year 6 children can choose to learn to play steel pans in school. Guitar lessons also take place in school where there is a charge. Children who access guitar lessons have the loan of a guitar. Key Stage 2 children can also choose to sing in the choir.
Children are given regular opportunities to perform within school and as part of the wider community, for example, carol service, nativity, family assemblies, steel pan festival, Mouth of the Tyne Festival, and the Victorian Market. Additional opportunities are available through the music hub. For example, in 2018-19 Spring Gardens took part in the collaborative Ceilidh, the ‘Big Band’ and ‘Mahogany Opera’.
Specialist music staff are employed (through NTMEH) where needed. We currently have specialist teachers for choir, ukulele wider opportunites lessons, guitar lessons and steel pan club. Within school, staff regularly access training from NTMEH when needed and can get support from the music lead.
Music assessment is ongoing throughout each musical unit and informs teaching. Lessons are differentiated as needed to ensure all children’s needs are valued and met. Progress is reported termly, using teacher observations and pupil voice to support teachers in making accurate judgements of children’s musical knowledge skills.
Through quality first teaching, our aim is for children to develop creatively as musicians and become confident to access musical opportunities throughout their lives. Evidence of learning is shown through video or audio recordings each term, showing progression over time.
Pupil voice has shown that children enjoy learning about music and value it in their lives. Assessments and monitoring show expectations in Music are high and match standards in other subject areas. Numbers of children accessing extra curricular activities are monitored to ensure that these activities are enjoyed by the children, including those facing social disadvantage, and contribute to their musical development. Taking part in performances helps to develop children’s resilience, confidence and teamwork and helps them to feel part of the community.
Music at Spring Gardens is seen as a valuable subject intrinsic in its own right, but also making valuable contributions to all areas of children’s development, for example developing listening skills, resilience and confidence, perseverance and teamwork.