Curriculum Intent

Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity; as such, it is highly valued at The Dorcan Academy. We aim to engage learners in practical music making activities, inspiring them to develop a love and appreciation of music of different styles, genres and traditions, enhancing their enjoyment of the world. Through the skills of performing, composing, listening and appraising, students learn to think and act like musicians, to be inquisitive, to be collaborative, to be persistent, and disciplined and to use their imagination to discover their talents and develop them to become the best they can be.

Our curricula builds on the National Curriculum for Music and specifically aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to:

●         Be inducted into the powerful cultural knowledge associated with music.

●         Discover and develop their performing skills to a level of proficiency that enables them to participate in social music making activities.

●         Use improvisation to unlock creative potential and musical identity/individuality.

●         Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the music they engage with through systematic analysis and reflection.

This is a cumulative and knowledge-rich curriculum that is designed to introduce and secure key musical learning in a sequential and connected manner.

As such we have created a pathway that progressively builds students’ musical understanding, through the development of knowledge (music thinking: knowing ‘about’) and skills (music making: knowing ‘how to’) in context. Knowledge is broken down into elements that anticipate the language used by exam boards: structure, pitch and melody, harmony and tonality, texture, tempo, metre and rhythm, dynamics and articulation, and sonority (performing forces and playing techniques) are developed into the school wide mnemonic – MAD TSHIRT. Skills are broken down into the traits that we encourage in our students; skills that will prepare them for the world of work and life beyond the school (inquisitiveness/persistence/collaboration/discipline/imagination). In addition, students will grow their knowledge of the context in which the music with which they engage was created and performed. It is this development of knowledge, skills and an awareness of context combined which drives musical understanding; a deep, personal and internalised understanding of how music ‘works’ and how it enables meaning. Studying music requires discipline, perseverance and a growth mindset; the music curriculum is designed to increase confidence, foster creativity, and enable a sense of achievement, preparing students for success at GCSE and beyond.

All students take part in at least one musical experience or performance within the performing arts faculty each academic year, promoting positive relationships, encouraging collaboration and supporting wellbeing. We offer all our students the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and to explore music technology. We provide a wide range of extra-curricular experiences to ensure everyone has the cultural capital to succeed and use the Pupil Premium to ensure no student is disadvantaged.


In Music last year, 43.8% of students achieved grades 9 to 5; and 68.8% achieved grades 9 to 4.

What we study – Topic Overview

 Term 1Term 2Term 3Term 4Term 5 and 6  
Year 7Stomp and SingStomp and SingThe Power of PentatonicThe Power of PentatonicBand Musicianship 1: The 4-chord trick
Year 8The Beauty of the BaroqueThe Beauty of the BaroqueWest African MusicWest African MusicBand Musicianship 2: The Blues
Year 9FusionsFusionsUsing technology musically: EDM & Film MusicUsing technology musically: EDM & Film MusicBand Musicianship 3: Songs for a better world
Year 10Forms and DevicesPopular MusicEnsemble MusicFilm MusicRevision and Exam Practice, NEA completion
Year 11Forms and DevicesPopular MusicMusic for EnsembleFilm MusicExam Preparation

How we assess

Music knowledge is assessed by cumulative weekly quizzing on SMHW.  We check comprehension of key terms, recognition of music symbols and learning in the classroom.  Practically there is a KS3 skills assessment tracker that looks at practical capabilities eg. can sing in tune, can read chord boxes etc.  These are graded as working below, working at or working above.

Meet the team

Miss Bethany Durston, Head of Music

Curriculum Allocation

All students will study Music throughout Years 7 and 8 at The Dorcan Academy and may choose to continue to follow through to GCSE. 

In Year 7 and 8, all students have 2 lessons a fortnight. In Year 9 students, that have selected to specialise in Music will receive 4 lessons a fortnight.

Students in Year 10 and 11 that select Music as an option subject will receive 5 lessons a fortnight. 

Enrichment Opportunities

Music has many enrichment opportunities including choirs, guitar club, keyboard club and one-off opportunities (Christmas, Sports Day) to get involved with music making.  All regular clubs are listed on the enrichment list termly. 

The Dorcan Academy
St. Paul’s Drive
Covingham, Swindon
Wiltshire SN3 5DA
Switchboard: 01793 525231
Fax: 01793 431461
The Dorcan Academy is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales under company number 07831414. The registered office is St. Paul’s Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN3 5DA.