In Music, our philosophy is clear. We learn by listening, watching and… DOING! Music is a universal language, and at Outwood Academy Shafton we truly understand this. As an art form music represents a common bond between all people from all backgrounds and cultures. It allows us to communicate beyond our natural boundaries, through age ranges and across the divide of history. For these reasons the music department is deeply committed to inspiring young people musically. Learning music improves teamwork, communication and builds self-esteem. It enables young minds to explore their own emotions and interpret those of others, which in turn fosters more sophisticated, empathetic minds – minds which are expanded and often more capable as a result of learning an instrument.

We offer a broad and diverse curriculum throughout KS3 and KS4, with extended learning outside school hours. Lessons are very much practical based and offer many opportunities for students to access a variety of different instruments. Students develop their musical appreciation, listening, performance, improvisation and composition skills throughout KS3, including regular singing and rhythm based activities. Students also now have access to music technology. There are also five practice rooms, and two classrooms which students can access.

Overview of Music at Key Stage 3

In Year 7 topics that students study include the elements of music, Rhythmic Performances, Staff Notation and ‘Oh When the Saints, Instruments of the orchestra through Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf and Reggae music. Throughout the different units students develop their keyboard skills, guitar skills and have opportunities to perform independently and in ensembles. Singing is regularly encouraged. Students are also introduced to the Sibelius software, which enables students to develop their compositional skills and understand the use of notation.

In Year 8 topics that students study include: Film music, Blues music and Popular song. Students continue to develop their performance, listening, and compositional skills throughout all units. Improvisation is encouraged as much as possible throughout the Blues. This allows student to explore and create within the context of the style and genre and further develop students’ performance skills on keyboards, guitars, drums and singing.


Overview of Music at Key Stage 4

Students follow the Edexcel BTEC First Award in Music. Throughout the course students develop their musical performance skills as solo and ensemble performers and are encouraged to perform regularly to their peers. Students gain access to Music Technology and are taught how to set up and operate industry standard live sound equipment – preparing them for future employment within the music industry in a wide range of job roles.

Unit 1: The Music Industry

This is an externally assessed unit which focusses on the business aspects of the world of music. This unit allows students to gain a good understanding of the scope of the music industry with a view to getting work in and using the organisations which exist to support the various aspects of the industry. You will also be given the opportunity to find out about the people who work in these organisations, from performers to people who work in technical, production and administrative roles.

Unit 2: Managing a Music Product

In this unit you will plan an event. You will work in a role to apply to apply the specialist skills, knowledge and understanding required for the aspect of the work for which you are responsible. For example, you could be a performer in a live concert or on a recording (either traditionally or performing with technology such as DJing), or you could be taking on the technical role of producing recordings for a CD or online product. Whichever role you take, you must demonstrate appropriate planning skills for the creation of your product. Your planning will lead to the final delivery of your product and its presentation to others.

Unit 3: Live Sound

As a sound engineer, you must be able to manage the technical requirements for an entire concert. You will begin by considering the sound requirements of the venue. You must ensure that there is sufficient amplification for the audience to enjoy the performance without exceeding safe sound limits. You must organise and direct sound checks and you must know how to use and operate equipment safely

During performances you will mix sound signals together from a variety of sources in real time to give the audience a balanced sound.

Unit 4: Music Performance

Over the course of this unit, you will explore skills and make decisions as you prepare for performance. Planning and practising are both vital parts of a successful performance; you should be aware of when your performances are due to take place so that you are able to plan your preparation time. You will choose your own pieces for performance to an audience. You should work to improve your technique as a musician and should keep a practice/production log that details how you have improved over the duration of the unit.


Extra-Curricular Activities

Peripatetic Music Lessons

At Outwood Academy Shafton we have experienced peripatetic staff who are dedicated to give a high standard of music teaching. Students are able to learn a variety of different instruments including, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, Keyboard, Drums, Singing, Flute, Clarinet, and Saxophone.

Practice Sessions

Students are able to access the practice rooms at set times during the week whether during lunch and break times or after school.

Voices of Shafton also rehearse every Monday evening during the enrichment hour.

Post 16 Pathways

If you wish to continue to study Music Post-16, there are a variety of course available in our local area.

Barnsley College offers a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music or Music Technology. Each qualification is a 2-year course and you will need 5 GCSEs at Grade A* – C, you will also need to have an audition for this course.

New College Pontefract offers A Level qualifications in Music and Music technology. Each qualification is a 2-year course and you will need 5 GCSEs at Grade A* – C. You will also need to be at a high standard as a musician and have the ability to read Music fluently. New College also offers a Diploma in Music which is an equivalent qualification to 2 A Levels; this is a more practical qualification.

Meet the Team


Miss Kate Wragg

Head of Department

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Mrs Esther Littlewood

Teacher of Music

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