Why Study Music?

If you already play an instrument or sing, you can develop your skills and get a GCSE out of it!

If you already enjoy writing your own music or songs, you can use this ability and experience towards your GCSE.

If you are a creative person who wants to learn to make music, this course will give you that chance.

If you love listening to music, and can spot all the details, sing every riff and “air-drum” every beat you have already developed some of the abilities you need. OK, so you can’t mime playing it in the exam, but if you can already think that rhythm or sing that tune in your head, you have some skills!

Course Content & Development of Expertise

You will improve your skills in performing and composing different styles of Music. You will listen to a wide variety of Music and learn more about how and why it was written and/or performed. 

You will receive instrumental lessons to aid you on your instrument. Please see Mr Atkinson about this, before choosing Music as an option. If you don’t already have instrumental (or singing) lessons, you may struggle to pass this course.

In order to do well on this course, basic keyboard skills are also important, particularly to help with composition.  The keyboard work we have done in class is enough, but students who have keyboard lessons in addition to their main instrument tend to do best in the composition aspect of the course.

Most students opting for Music at GCSE will already play an instrument and be having individual lessons. You should be willing to contribute to the musical life of the school in terms of the activities we have on offer. It is expected that you will spend time at home practicing your instrument and using the Music Department facilities at break time, lunchtime and after school, particularly for composition. We have a varied programme of musical experiences provided within and beyond the school environment.

Studying Music, at any level, develops the following skills: 

  • Self-Confidence: through self-improvement as well as performance
  • Problem Solving: fixing errors when practicing and finding your own solutions
  • Creativity: writing music and coming up with own ideas
  • Self-Discipline: being able to practise alone and set your own deadlines
  • Teamwork: performing with others, being a reliable and dependable classmate

Career Pathways

Due to the varied skills (listed above) we learn as musicians, people who have studied music are very employable.  A survey by the Guardian in 2013 found that music graduates were employed in areas (beyond music) such as publishing, editing, media production, broadcasting, and marketing, many worked in management roles and they were many employed in finance/banking, legal and consultancy fields.

Qualification Information

Optional Subject

Qualification: GCSE Music

Awarding Body: EDUQAS

Entry Tiers: One Tier

Assessment Structure

Teacher Assessment 30% of grade
Candidates are required to perform throughout the course and will two recordings for final assessment; this is a combination of SOLO and/or ENSEMBLE performances.

This can be in any style and on any instrument (including DJ skills, rapping, singing, band and orchestral instruments). Grade 3 music is the standard level and can score full marks if played perfectly.

Teacher Assessment 30% of grade
A ‘free choice’ composition. Candidates should explore instrumental combinations and capabilities, within the chosen style or genre.

A ‘set brief’ composition, where the exam board dictate a style in which to compose, from a choice of four each year. There is still plenty of freedom to be very creative!

Examination Paper 40% of grade
A written exam paper (lasting approximately 1 hour 15 minutes) assessing knowledge and understanding of music. There will be 8 questions, 2 for each of the Areas of Study:

1. Musical Forms and Devices (including a Set Work*)
2. Music for Ensemble
3. Music for Film
4. Popular Music (including a Set Work*)

* = a set work is a piece of music which everybody has to learn about

Why Study Performing Arts?

Performing Arts is about providing a glimpse into the professional Performing Arts sector. You will explore different styles of acting and performance, including different professional practitioners. Both theoretical and practical exploration of styles such as physical theatre, naturalism, devised and scripted work give a well-rounded experience of performance and development of practical skills. This qualification assess students through assignments and tasks (including performance) rather than traditional exams.


  • Assessed with performance-based tasks and assignments.
  • Content to interest and engage those interested in Performing Arts.
  • Planning and teaching made simple: all the support materials you need and a performing arts specialist on hand.

If you want to experience learning about a subject through fun, practical and creative methods; developing confidence, teamwork skills and building relationships, this is the course for you.

Course Content & Development of Expertise

The course is made up of three components: two that are internally assessed and one that’s externally assessed. The three-block structure: explore, develop and apply, has been developed to allow students to build on and embed their knowledge, understanding and practical skills. This allows them to grow in confidence and then put into practice what they have learned over time. The assessment structure is also designed so that students can build on what they learn, and develop their skills, as they move through the course.

Career Pathways

Studying Performing Arts, at any level, develops practical and transferrable skills:

  • Creative Thinking: Exploring existing material and devising own ideas both theoretically and practically
  • Problem Solving: Time management and meeting a brief
  • Responsibility and Dependability: Organisation, self-discipline, empathy
  • Collaboration and Teamwork: Rehearsing and performing with others
  • Self-Discipline and Time Management: being able to practise alone

A taster of the sector

The Tech Award is a practical introduction to life and work in the Performing Arts sector, so students can develop their understanding of the industry and see whether it’s a career they’d like to be in.

A well-rounded foundation for further study

As they’re designed to be taken alongside GCSEs, with a Tech Award students have the opportunity to apply academic knowledge to everyday and work contexts, giving them a great starting point for academic or vocational study post-16, as well as preparing them for future employment.

Recognised by employers and Universities

In 2015, 1 in 4 students who entered university in the UK did so with a BTEC. BTEC is a recognised and well-known qualification suite, providing reassurance that students who study a BTEC meet the levels required by employers and Higher Education.

Qualification Information

Optional Subject

Qualification: Vocational BTEC Level 2 Performing Arts

Awarding Body: Pearson Edecxel

Entry Tiers: One Tier

Assessment Structure

Internally Assessed Assignments – 60%
Externally Assessed Task – 40%

Exploring the Performing Arts – understanding existing styles and repertoire

  • Internally assessed assignments
  • 30% of the total course

Developing Skills and Techniques in the Performing Arts – putting practical skills into group and individual rehearsal and performances

  • Internally assessed assignments
  • 30% of the total course

Performing to a Brief – working as a group to create and perform original material to fit a brief

  • Externally assessed task
  • 40% of the total course


  • Students achieve a grade for each component, which are allocated points. At the end of the course, the exam board calculate the final grade by adding the points from each component, and matching this against the qualification grade point thresholds.
  • Level 2 Distinction*, Level 2 Distinction, Level 2 Merit, or Level 2 Pass.
  • The BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts has been included on the DfE List of qualifications which will count towards performance tables in England (2019 results), meaning that it can be included in the third tier of Progress 8: the ‘open’ (non-EBacc) category

Why Study Physical Education?

Physical Education seeks to give young people a positive approach towards physical activity and recognise its contribution to their personal, social, physical and emotional well-being.

Course Content & Development of Expertise

GCSE Physical Education theory is divided into two sections: fitness and body systems, which covers topics such as applied Anatomy and Physiology and movement analysis. Health and performance covers topics such as health and wellbeing. In the practical area you will learn the skills and tactics relevant to sport. There will be opportunities to participate in new activities.

You will develop a range of skills that will also be transferable i.e. the ability to work with other people (in teams), the ability to enhance decision-making skills, the ability to evaluate movement and develop physical skills in a range of sporting activities.

There are a range of school teams in the major sports of Football, Netball, Cricket, Cross-country, Athletics, Basketball and Badminton. Clubs run throughout the year and selection for school teams is based on attendance at these clubs.

Career Pathways

The skills you learn in Physical Education such as working in teams, decision-making and analytical capabilities are useful in many jobs. Physical Education is useful when considering a career in Physiotherapy, Education, Sports Development, Sports Science, Emergency Services, Research, Nutrition, Sales and Marketing.

Qualification Information

Optional Subject

Qualification: GCSE Physical Education

Awarding Body: Pearson Edexcel

Entry Tiers: One Tier

Assessment Structure

The course is divided into Theory and Practical activities.

  • The Theory Component is assessed by two written examinations: (60%)
  • The Practical Activities are assessed by Controlled Assessment (30%). At the end of the Course students must choose THREE
  • One must be a team activity (e.g. football/ netball)
  • One must be an individual activity (e.g. trampolining/ Athletics)
  • The final activity can be a free choice.
  • Personal Exercise programme internally marked (10%)
    • Aim and planning analysis
    • Carrying out and monitoring the PEP
    • Evaluation of the PEP

Why Study Sports Studies?

Cambridge Nationals in Sport are targeted at 14-16 year olds in a school environment. They’re available as an Award and a Certificate, with the Certificate being the same size as a GCSE. They use both internal and external assessment and meets the DfE’s requirements for attainment tables and headline performance measures.

This course is more suited for students who have a genuine passion for participating, spectating and officiating in sport, rather than sports science.

Course Content & Development of Expertise

The Cambridge Nationals in Sport Studies take a more sector-based focus, whilst also encompassing some core sport/Physical Education themes. Students have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge about different types of sport and physical activity, skills development and sports leadership to their own practical performance. They will learn about contemporary issues in sport such as funding, participation, ethics and role models, and sport and the media. Students will develop an appreciation of the importance of sport locally and nationally, different ways of being involved in sport and of how this shapes the sports industry.

Students will be studying 4 units over the course of the 2 years to achieve Level 2 pass/merit/distinction certificate.

The units consist of an exam which is worth 25% of the final course.

Unit R051:  Contemporary Issues in Sport

1 hour written paper 60 marks (60 UMS)

OCR set and marked

This question paper: comprises short answer questions, extended response questions and some use of multiple choice questions

Assesses the quality of written communication.

Unit R052: Developing Sports Skills

Developing skills, techniques and use of tactics/strategies/compositional ideas in both an individual and team sporting activity, as well as understanding rules to allow performances in a number of officiating roles. Considering the use of different practice methods in order to improve performance.  

Approximately 10 hours internal assessment 60 marks (60 UMS)  

Centre assessed and OCR moderated  

The assessment for this unit: comprises of centre assessed task(s). 

Unit R053: Sports Leadership  

Learners will develop knowledge of the different qualities, styles, roles and responsibilities of sports leaders with positive and/or negative role models in sport. They will plan, deliver and review a safe and effective activity session to others. 

Approximately 10 hours internal assessment 60 marks (60 UMS)  

Unit R056 Developing knowledge and skills in outdoor activities

Developing knowledge and skills in outdoor activities –Many skills required in outdoor activities relate to leadership and working with a team.

Approximately 10 hours internal assessment 60 marks (60 UMS)

Centre assessed and OCR moderated

The assessment for this unit: comprises of centre assessed task(s).

Career Pathways

The skills you learn in Sports Studies such as working in teams, decision-making and analytical capabilities are useful in many jobs. Sports Studies is useful when considering a career in Physiotherapy, Education, Sports Development, Sports Science, Emergency Services, Research, Nutrition, Sales and Marketing.

Qualification Information

Optional Subject

Qualification: Vocational Level 2 Cambridge National in Sports Studies

Awarding Body: OCR

Entry Tiers: One Tier

Assessment Structure

  • Three Internal Assessments = 75%
  • Written Exam Paper = 25%

To claim the Level 1/2 Cambridge National Award (60 GLH) qualification, learners must complete both Unit R051 and Unit R052.

Students will also need to take part in a practical unit worth 25% in which they will need to be competent in an individual sport, a team sport, as well as officiate.

Finally, the two units studied in Year 11 are looking at Sports Leadership and Outdoor Education.

 All results are awarded on the following scale:

  • Distinction* at Level 2
  • Distinction at Level 2
  • Merit at Level 2
  • Pass at Level 2