Porthcawl Comprehensive School / Ysgol Gyfun Porthcawl


Mrs R Giles (Head of Department)

Key Stage 3

Pupils will be exploring music through a variety of practical activities. They will learn to complete tasks through the three main areas of the subject: Performing, Composing and Appraising. Pupils will develop their own performance skills through vocal, keyboard and xylophone work. Pupils are of course encouraged to use their own instruments in class when appropriate. An awareness of basic musical theory will be taught to facilitate the progression of composition skills. The use of music technology will also be used, where appropriate, to enable pupils to explore and record their individual ideas.

Year 7

Expressive Arts

In Year 7, pupils will receive five lessons a fortnight in Expressive Arts. This is made up of two lessons of Art, one lesson of Drama and two lessons of Music. Pupils will develop a range of skills through a thematic approach to the Expressive Arts, where each unit will end in a showcase or celebration of pupil's work. Pupils will also have a range of opportunities to experience working with outside providers and there will be many opportunities to further their skills in the rich extra-curricular programme provided - Various Lunchtime Clubs, Termly Concerts, and Showcase Evenings.

Term 1:

Theme: African Culture.

Learners will explore a sense of identity and belonging through the lens of African tribal cultures.
SKILLS: Pattern, Colour, Ceramic Work, Movement Skills, Ensemble Skills, Singing Skills, Keyboard Skills, Rhythm Skills

Term 2:

Theme: Land of My Fathers.

Learners will explore 'What it means to be Welsh', and strengthen their appreciation for Welsh traditions culminating in a celebration of pupil's work at the annual school Eisteddfod.
SKILLS: Observational Drawing, Imaginative Composition, Performance Skills, Storytelling Skills, Vocal Skills, Communication Skills

Term 3:

Theme: Discovery

Learners will discover artistic works that reflect time, culture and place
SKILLS: Drawing Skills, Communication Skills, Imagination and Empathy, Mime Skills, Slapstick Comedic Skills, Dialogue Skills, Improvisation Skills, Composition Skills

Year 8

Term 1

  • Pop music

Term 2

  • Riff and hooks

Term 3

  • Film music: "Pirates of the Caribbean"

Year 9

Term 1

  • Dance Music

Term 2

  • Film Music

Term 3

  • Showcase

Ways in which parents can help

  1. Encourage pupils to actively participate in lessons
  2. If pupils have instruments at home, parents can listen to them and encourage them to practice
  3. Reminding their children to visit the websites listed below and/or buying some of the books suggested below (to help with theory knowledge - particularly useful for children who may wish to continue music into GCSE or A level)

Useful Books/Magazines/Publications

  1. Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory Books 1, 2, 3
  2. Eric Taylor: Music Theory in Practice Grade 1
  3. James Sleigh and Mike Sheppard: How to Crack Music Theory

Key Stage 4

Music GCSE

GCSE Music is designed to offer all pupils a creative and interesting course based on the three primary musical activities of PERFORMING, COMPOSING and APPRAISING. During the course pupils will be encouraged to develop their performing skills and will be given the opportunity to take part in a wide range of musical activities. They will also be encouraged to develop an appreciation and enjoyment of various different musical styles.

The skills acquired through the study of Music can be used as a basis for further study or for leisure time. Many of the skills sought by employers are the ones learned in Music and are easily transferable to many walks of life.


  1. Gives a good basic education as it contains elements of Maths, Physics, History, Modern Languages, Literature, Art, Drama & Movement;
  2. Trains you to follow detailed directions;
  3. Trains the mind to think logically, analyse situations and solve problems;
  4. Has to be clear and precise and therefore encourages accuracy;
  5. Gives lots of opportunities for decision making;
  6. Encourages you to be 'on time' and 'in time';
  7. Helps develop reliability and loyalty to others;
  8. Helps you to communicate and to work with others in a constructive way;
  9. Stretches the imagination and develops confidence;
  10. Encourages the use of IT skills through use of computers/music technology.

The GCSE Music course is based on 4 areas of study

  • Music in Wales
  • Music for Stage & Screen
  • Music Evolution
  • Musical Forms and Devices

Performing (30%)

At the end of the course, all pupils will be required to sing/play one solo and one group piece. One of the pieces must be linked to an Area of Study and the total performance time should not exceed 10 minutes.

Composing (30%)

During the course, pupils will compose several pieces in class, linked to different Areas of Study. Two pieces will be submitted as coursework and will be teacher assessed and externally moderated.

Appraising (40%)

In the listening/written exam, pupils will respond to musical extracts heard on a CD e.g., recognising instruments, styles, musical characteristics etc. They will also write an evaluation of a performance or composition undertaken during the course.

Key Stage 5

Music AS & A Level

Course Details

Qualification Level: AS & A Level
Awarding Body: WJEC
QAN Ref. No. - AS Level: 500/2021/6
QAN Ref. No. - A Level: 500/2633/1

Course Content

The course consists of three units per year where pupils develop their performing, composing and appraising skills through a study of music from the Classical era to the present day. Within AS, learners develop their knowledge and ability to read music by completing a detailed study of ‘The Symphony from 1760-1830' including analysis of one set work. They also study either Musical Theatre, Jazz or Rock and Pop. The AS is worth 40% of the overall A Level. Within A2, learners further develop their knowledge of ‘The Symphony 1830-1910' by analysing one further set work and also develop their knowledge and understanding of 20th Century, modern Music.

Assessment Procedure

AS Level

AS Unit 1 - Performing:
Students perform a recital of 6-8 minutes of solo/ensemble pieces for a visiting examiner - 12% of qualification

AS Unit 2 - Composing:
Students submit 2 contrasting compositions. One free composition and one in response to a brief set by the WJEC. Externally assessed by WJEC - 12% of qualification

AS Unit 3 - Appraising:
A listening/written exam based on set works and unfamiliar musical - 16% of qualification

A Level

A Level Unit 4 - Performing:
OPTION A:Students perform a recital of 10-12 minutes for a visiting examiner - 22% of qualification
OPTION B:Students perform a recital of 6-8 minutes of solo/ensemble pieces for a visiting examiner - 14% of qualification

A Level Unit 5 - Composing:
OPTION A:Students submit 2 compositions. One free composition and one in response to a brief set by WJEC. Externally assessed by WJEC - 14% of qualification
OPTION B:Students will submit 3 compositions. One in response to a set brief, another to reflect an 'area of study' and the third a free choice - 22% of qualification

A Level Unit 6 - Appraising:
A listening/written exam based on set works and unfamiliar musical extracts - 24% of qualification

Entry Requirements

  • At least a grade C at GCSE Music or a performance skill of at least Grade 3 on an instrument/voice
  • Credit is given for performance skills of Grade 5 or above within the marking of performing
  • A willingness to improve or develop the ability to read music notation


A degree that specialises in traditional music, pop/world music or music technology/recording and songwriting. All universities value the skills of analysis, knowledge, understanding, team work, confidence to perform and commitment that students learn from completing A Level Music.

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