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School won't offer KS4 music again!

Discussion in 'Music' started by englishteach101, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I'm seeking a bit of advice from the more experienced of you out there.
    I've just been told that my school is not going to offer KS4 music in September, despite having a proposal for BTEC or GCSE put forward from myself. I'm being told it's because the up-coming cohort of year 10's weren't that good at music when they did it, so they've got no chance of passing a KS4 course. The only query I have is, that it's got to be at least 3 years since my school's offered music at KS4.
    I've been told I need to up the standard of music in KS3 (I've not been there that long) and then they'll consider it for the following year, but I'm having issues with students not respecting the subject at all because they can't see any progression in it, so it comes down to the questions such as 'why's music even important as we can't take it at GCSE anyway? etc.
    I'm getting so frustrated and wondered if any of you have ever been in a similar situation and what you would advise to be the best course of action. I've improved the dept no end since I came in and am gutted that this has not been realised into a KS4 course.

     
  2. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I'm seeking a bit of advice from the more experienced of you out there.
    I've just been told that my school is not going to offer KS4 music in September, despite having a proposal for BTEC or GCSE put forward from myself. I'm being told it's because the up-coming cohort of year 10's weren't that good at music when they did it, so they've got no chance of passing a KS4 course. The only query I have is, that it's got to be at least 3 years since my school's offered music at KS4.
    I've been told I need to up the standard of music in KS3 (I've not been there that long) and then they'll consider it for the following year, but I'm having issues with students not respecting the subject at all because they can't see any progression in it, so it comes down to the questions such as 'why's music even important as we can't take it at GCSE anyway? etc.
    I'm getting so frustrated and wondered if any of you have ever been in a similar situation and what you would advise to be the best course of action. I've improved the dept no end since I came in and am gutted that this has not been realised into a KS4 course.

     
  3. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    This will not solve all your problems but...
    As part of any approach you decide to take, I'd advise trying to build up your extracurricular music stuff. Find out what music the pupils already like and who plays an instrument. There are bound to be one or two bedroom guitarists out there even if music has been neglected at your school (prior to your arrival). Try to get them forming a band. Do you have a drum kit? This is also useful. Use the kit in KS3 lessons and try to spot anyone that has potential. When you've got a few names down you could start a drum kit club.
    Video anything good that your extracurricular musicians do. Then show it to your KS3 classes. When kids see other kids doing something like this they tend to think "I want a piece of that!". Demos in assembly can also be motivational - "If you liked the band today and you'd like to be involved please see Mr. Harvey after the assembly".
    Also, get on to your local music service and ask them directly for some help. If they've any sense they'll realise that helping you to build up music at your school is good for them too (more kids will want intrumental lessons). Ask them if they'll send someone to do some kind of demos or workshops.
    Keep making you kids aware that they can get instrumental lessons at school. "Who would like lessons on the drums?", "Who's interested in singing lessons?". Get the kids to write down if they would like to learn an instrument, then when you write their school reports put something like "Johnny has said he would like to learn to play the guitar. He could have lessons at school" etc.
    Another extracurricular club you could start could be karaoke club. I'm not saying this is highbrow (it's not!) but it is an easy one to start (mic, amp and youtube or karaoke discs). You could eventually move on to backing the singers with real instruments (remember your band club?). You could also organise a singing competition across all years. These can create a real buzz around the school.
    This approach, if successful, could do two things:
    1. It may show your management that your kids are interested in music when presented with the right opportunities.
    2. It may give your pupils something to 'aim' at in place of GCSE music (hopefully only temporarily until you can offer it at KS4).
    Building up your extracurricular music is like rolling a snowball - the more kids see of other kids doing it the more they want to join in until eventually you have a massive snowball effect.
    Good luck.

    PS. The snobs can now feel free to attack my suggestions of pop/rock and karaoke - I can take it! [​IMG]
     
  4. You could try doing Arts Award as part of you KS3 curriculum to show that pupils can achieve in Music or choose one of the BTEC Music units and use it with year 9 - you would then have evidence that pupils could do well in Music. I had planned to do the latter with year 9 until my school decided that pupils would make their options choices in year 8.
     
  5. v12

    v12

    1.
    Suggest organising a House Music competition for the end of next term - a rival to Sports Day - it could be very simple with an X-Factor type feel - maybe with heats if there is a huge interest.
    Use your music lessons to encourage children - they all love singing along to youtube or similar - and you can really heap on the praise if they perform in front of others with flair.
    These events soon build into bigger things and there is nothing like applause to encourage children to look forward to the next concert.

    2.
    Does your school issue school colours for sporting achievements? Start up an annual or termly set of Performing Arts awards for the most improved on flute, best in class, most committed actor/actress, best dancer....the list could be endless.
    Prizes could be a specially designed school tie, certificates or an engraved plate/cup for your new Music Department Trophy Cabinet!

    Just a couple of ideas - hope they might help
     
  6. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    Thanks all, it's heartening to know that I'm not the only one coming up with ideas! I will look through all your ideas and will put it to the SMT to see what we can do.
    I'm already looking into the Arts Awards, and will definitely put these in place for September's cohort, unfortunately we don't have much budget (it was decimated last year) for peri lessons, but am definitely going to be haranguing the students who are having lessons to put together some small performances.
    We're also doing a house music competition next term for the year 7's and 8's, so am trying to generate some buzz about that too.

    I am also a lover of pop/rock and even a purveyor of karaoke in lessons, so XFactor it up!
    [​IMG]
     
  7. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Why do you need a budget? Our KS3 kids pay for their own lessons (well, their parents do).
     
  8. your slt may think that the bronze arts award is too expensive given that it's a level 1 (I think) qualification. Ours does. Probably best to go with silver and gold (more difficult with ks3).
     
  9. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    Our school is in quite a deprived area, so our students don't pay for their peri lessons and our budget was axed for it last year.
     
  10. I think (but I'm not sure, one of the more knowledgable will either confirmor correct this) that students who are entitled to free school meals are entitled to free lessons from Music Service if you choose to use these for your peripatetic tuition. Whether or not this still stands with the recent government changes I've no idea, but if it does I'd say it's well worth utilising just to kick-start he interest.
    In all honesty though, with such a lack of support for the subject (sorry if this isn't the case - it's just how it reads to me) I'd be considering moving on... Sorry if that's not constructive!
     
  11. Henriettawasp

    Henriettawasp New commenter

    Before the recent shake up (AKA massive cuts) of the Music service in my county, students entitled to FSM didn't get free music lessons - just reduced fees. Since the cuts... well,it doesn't look good. [​IMG]

     
  12. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I'll check it out as we have such a high % of FSM it's worth asking the question, but might get a few more having lessons. I know that currently we aren't charging any students to have peri lessons, so it might be a dead end.
    Thanks for your support guys!
    S
     

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