The Russell School


Please also see the Music Enrichment website page for our wider musical provision; Music Instrumental Tuition page for details on instrumental lessons and the Music At Home page to see how we kept our music provision going during the pandemic. 


Music is taught weekly throughout the year by a music specialist and our personalised curriculum is linked to the Charanga scheme of work.

Each class receives at least 6 hours of specialist music teaching each year. As part of this programme, Year 2 and 3 learn the recorder in their classes - a great way to introduce the children to learning a musical instrument and to explore reading music. Year 5 learn the ukulele.  All other classes learn different elements of music through playing instruments, singing, improvising, composing and performing.

We regularly try to provide opportunities for groups of children to try musical instruments. In 2019 we organised an event which gave over 200 children from the school the opportunity to try out 15 different musical instruments.


Photo above: Year 5 and 6 listening to The Planets by Holst, drawing what they were hearing.

Photo above: Whole school 'Try Out a Musical Instrument' event.


Our Curriculum - Intent

We aspire for each child to develop a deep interest in, and love for, learning so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will require to be successful, both now, as children, and in the future. We offer an ambitious music curriculum, which is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils; promote diversity of life and celebrate difference and individuality. We investigate and discuss musical careers and the influence certain composers and singers have had regardless of age, gender, race or ability. Our music curriculum helps build resilience and courage through learning to read music, playing an instrument and performing.


We recognise the importance of children being given opportunities for ‘real-life’ experiences in the subject, to develop their cultural capital. Children who may not access musical clubs and activities receive opportunities to be exposed to this through specialist teaching of the music curriculum. Disadvantaged children receive financial support to access enrichment opportunities such as music lessons and theatre visits. Many of our children have strong starting points in music as a result of their musical abilities and their skills are nurtured and stretched through a wide range of opportunities to perform.


The breadth and depth of the curriculum provides stretch and challenge for all abilities.  It is sequenced to ensure the progressive development of musical concepts, knowledge and skills and makes links between other subjects to facilitate a diagonal sequence of the curriculum. Specialist music teaching from Nursery through to Year 6 classes extends opportunities for children to be taught to sing, understand musical theory and play musically and raises their aspirations for the future. The curriculum is enriched with a wide range of opportunities to engage with music, through instrumental music lessons, theatre visits, assemblies and performances. 


We promote positive mindset and resilience so that our children attain their best, are challenged to achieve their best and leave The Russell School ready for their secondary education and beyond. It enables them to want to learn and enjoy creating work that allows them to reach a high standard in all areas of the curriculum, with enough time given for researching, discussing, proofreading and redrafting. Having the confidence to ‘take risks’ is valued and ‘having a go’ encouraged in all areas of the music curriculum.


Within music we want to encourage children to develop a clear growth mindset of resilience, effort, independence and ambition. Also, children are encouraged to develop the skills of collaborative singing and instrumental performances. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves and try to learn elements of music that they haven’t learned before and are taught the knowledge and skills to be able to do this. All children during music lessons are encouraged to be positive and strive to do the best they can do to make progress.

Our Curriculum - Implementation

Our teaching of sequenced musical knowledge and skills builds on pupils’ prior understanding and musical experiences.  Each unit is structured around a key question and balances the teaching of context, style and genre alongside practical opportunities to compose and perform.

Music is taught weekly throughout the year by a music specialist and our personalised curriculum is linked to the Charanga scheme of work. Knowledge and skills are taught creatively and children work towards clearly defined end points, creating opportunities to make connections within and across their learning.

Pupils are taught to understand the key concepts that link their learning within music to other subjects by clearly defined learning intentions for each lesson, and use of ‘mind maps’ at the start of each new topic.

Children have frequent opportunities to compose and perform as well as learning the theory of music and there are many opportunities in school for children to access instrumental lessons on site, including piano, violin, guitar, flute, brass and drums. Children in KS1 learn to play the recorder as a class, and in Year 5, the ukulele.

Key Stage 1 Curriculum

In Key Stage 1, children are taught to use their voices expressively and creatively, through songs, adding movement to music and speaking chants and rhymes. The children are encouraged to improve their skills playing tuned and untuned percussion instruments. They enjoy having the opportunity to create rhythms and beats in small groups. Listening skills are developed and children are introduced to and taught to recognise a range of high-quality live and recorded music. Music notation starts to be taught in Year 2.

Key Stage 2 Curriculum

In Key Stage 2 children are taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory. They are taught to appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and also from world-class composers and musicians, as well as developing a knowledge of musical history. Music notation is also taught.

Photos Below: Year 5 creating their own class band

Our Curriculum - Impact

The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life as an adult in the wider world.

Children’s achievements in music are assessed through a variety of ways. Ongoing feedback and assessment address misconceptions and gaps in learning and inform planning to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils. Teacher assessment, outcomes from learning walks and performances at various points in the year demonstrate the progress children have made from their starting points. Pupil Voice activities are used assess what children know, what they can do and whether they have gained more understanding or skill than previously shown.


Progression and End Points in Music