Teaching and Learning
Staff within the Music and Drama faculty, are continually encouraging pupils to find value in working with other students and the enrichment and experiences which we can offer. It has always been our aim to foster and develop a atmosphere conducive for learning, where students feel secure and motivated.
The Music and Drama faculty is a highly dynamic and progressive curriculum area of the academy. Each area has specialist subject teachers, with a Head of Faculty leading this high achieving faculty. All KS3 students receive one period of each subject per week and have the opportunity to take Drama or Music as a KS4 option.
As part of an 11-16 entitlement for the Arts, the progression for students must convey progression and ‘in depth’ development of skills. A KS4 curriculum review needs to consider the provision for student progression and as a result provide a wide and varied range of subject options for student choice.
At the end of KS3, students need to receive substantial support in making sensible choices for their remaining KS4 education. The Music and Drama courses on offer are challenging, rewarding and provide natural progression from their KS3 experiences.
All our courses contain some form of formal assessment – BTEC & GCSE – and students are encouraged to achieve and realise the value of success at examination level.
Students have a natural desire to want to express themselves. The Music department provides a wide range of activities; from full college productions to small scale busking performances at a local shopping centres, Live at the Arc lunchtime concerts to Battle of the Bands, music recitals to instrumental exams. Students are encouraged to take part in practical presentations as part of their Year or House challenges as well as class and year group performances.
Different skill sets are covered in each year and developed over the three years of KS3; Percussion, Keyboards, Guitars, Vocals, Theory and Band work. As part of the NC statutory guidance at KS3 our curriculum is intended;
- to allow students to access a range of musical skills
- to give a broad understanding of not only instrumental technique but of a range of musical genres
- to ultimately allow students to leave their musical education at the end of KS3 with a comprehensive understanding of music
- to go onto achieve well at KS4 (in which we currently offer the Music BTEC).
The Music Department has significant links with the wider community, with charities worldwide and with FE colleges, as detailed below:
- Tesco Hamilton (We annually take our Y10 BTEC group to perform for customers)
- Quad Studios, Leicester (We annually take our Y10 BTEC group to learn from and record with industry professionals)
- Netherhall Special School
- The COPTrust (Registered charity, South Africa)
Curve Theatre, Leicester
- Echo Factory, Leicester (FE, formerly BCME)
- Gateway 6th Form College
This project is particularly exciting as we develop and explore international cultural music connections between learners from Hamilton and South Africa. We maintain a major cultural link with the Community Outreach Programme Trust – a South African charity, seeking to bridge two continents through music whilst sharing cultures and developing spiritual understanding and acceptance. Every Easter, KS3 and KS4 students perform in an afternoon concert, the culmination of their work on #thesiyabongaproject. The concert include a repertoire of African influenced music and traditional Zulu songs – with live performances from both Hamilton students and children in South Africa, performed live over Skype – the wonders of modern technology!
In 2013, OFSTED commented on how, ‘the college has done a great deal to make the students’ experience of school more memorable, such as the use of Skype to conduct a joint concert with a school in South Africa, which was clearly a moving experience for students, staff and parents alike.’
Live at the Arc is a performance platform open to all students. Every Friday lunchtime a live concert takes place in The Arc. Students have the opportunity to sign up and perform a 20 minute set in a relaxed environment whilst others listen and watch with their lunch.
Live at the Arc has seen a distinct rise in performance level across both KS3 and KS4, making musical performances a weekly staple.
This year we entered a group of 40 high attainers in Music for the National Festival of Music for Youth, regional festival series. This festival gave our students experience of performance in a wider context – a professional and nationwide context. Our students performed exceptionally with comments such as, ‘Engaging throughout,’ and ‘I was flabbergasted by the performance,’ from the judges at the end of the session.
Busking at Tesco –
Every year at Christmas our Year 10 BTEC cohort grab their instruments, warm up their vocal chords and head to Tesco to busk for their clientele. The trip is always highly effective in developing the confidence of the students, increasing their awareness of using music in the community, in a more vocational setting and bringing the group together into a close knit, supportive, family unit. All the money they raise is used for their class Christmas party and usually goes towards a selection of donuts and sugary drinks!
Battle of the Bands –
This year our winners were ‘Limited Edition,’ a band formed in our Year 10 BTEC group. All year 10 and 11 BTEC students are invited to create bands and perform in this annual charity fundraiser to celebrate and raise money for Children in Need. KS3 groups are also welcome and winners in previous years have come from both Year 7 and 10 cohorts…demonstrating high quality music performance skills throughout the school.