Art & Design

Art and Design is an essential part of the curriculum. Skills are progressively developed throughout Key Stage 3 which enables those with an interest and aptitude to enter the GCSE course at Key Stage 4.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)

All pupils in Years 7 and 8 take Art and Design, and in Year 9 it forms part of the options scheme. A variety of skills are learnt, starting with observation and then progressing to colour theory, pattern, texture and form. Homework is essential and is built into the projects.

Class projects are based on the ability to research and analyse visual information, whilst connecting their work to that of other artists, craftspersons and designers. Pupils will experience a variety of techniques in both two and three-dimensional media, including:

  • drawing and painting
  • printing
  • card construction
  • graphics
  • ceramics
  • photography
  • ICT.

Throughout Key Stage 3 pupils will demonstrate an increased level of ability as well as confidence in the handling of materials and processes.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 to 11)

We follow the AQA GCSE Art and Design course. Skills covered can include any media from drawing and painting, printing, card construction, graphics, ceramics, photography and/or ICT in both 2D and 3D. Pupils are examined in two units:

  • Unit 1 – Portfolio: this is a body of work which includes further development of skills, workshops and extended projects. These are complete units of work that demonstrate a process from conception to realisation through development and making connections with the work of others.
  • Unit 2 – Externally set assignment: the examination allows pupils to respond to one question from the paper and takes place over 10 hours in two days. This is worth 40% of the final mark.

Homework is an essential part of the course and allows pupils to develop their ideas and skills individually whilst making valuable connections which they can relate to their own work.

MusicDerby Grammar School - music

No matter what previous musical experience you have, you will enjoy music lessons and achieve your potential through practical activities in groups, working on individual skills, learning about the context of different styles and understanding the language of music.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)

A topic-based curriculum allows pupils to immerse themselves in a variety of different styles of music. Understanding traditional and classical music creates many transferable skills in appraising other musical styles and so a focus on this is revisited throughout the lower school.

We expose pupils to world music styles such as Brazilian Samba, Japanese Taiko and Indian Classical Music to give them a wider appreciation of the art and introduce them to new sounds and musical aesthetics. A study of popular music genres helps them to appreciate the intricacies of composition of the music they hear every day, and this is done through topics such as The Blues, Pop Chord Sequences and Electronic Dance Music.

In each topic there are a variety of practical performance and composition tasks as well as study of the context and analysis of the genres.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 to 11)

The GCSE Music Curriculum covers the three key areas of performing, composing and appraising. We work hard to improve each pupil’s performing standard in both a solo and ensemble manner, in preparation for a final recital at the end of year 11 that will constitute 30% of their GCSE.

Pupils will learn to compose music in a variety of styles such as blues, pop, minimalism, sonata-allegro form and baroque canon. Through practice of creating music and taking inspiration from a range of repertoire, they will be able to produce one free-choice composition in any style and one composition to a brief set by the examiner. The portfolio of compositions is worth 30% of the GCSE.

An eclectic mix of music is still very much a part of the curriculum in years 10 and 11, with particular focus on The Conventions of Pop Music, Film and Computer Game Music, World Music (including Greek music, African drumming and Calypso) and the Concerto Through Time.

Essential musical skills such as music theory and aural skills are refined in preparation for the final listening exam, which is worth 40% of the GCSE.

Trips and visits

Throughout the study of music there are opportunities to travel, participate and experience music in other settings.

  • Our exchange partnership with Guernsey Grammar School is for choir and band members. It’s a week of activities which takes place in Guernsey or at Derby on alternate years.
  • Year 7 visit Symphony Hall in Birmingham for a CBSO concert.
  • Swing band and Barbershop choir members participate in the annual Llangollen Eisteddfod music festival, dependent upon audition.
  • Each year we encourage our musicians to take part in the Derby Arts Festival.