The Leys



Music is an academic curriculum subject for all years at The Leys. All pupils from Year 7 to Year 9 have one lesson of music per week; further study at GCSE and A Level is optional. Class sizes are typically small for all year groups. At GCSE 10 pupils is the maximum number per class, enabling personal attention to the needs of all pupils.

There is a wide variety of extra curricular music activities available to all pupils irrespective of whether they are studying for GCSE or A Level music.

Years 7 - 9

Largely based on the National Curriculum, lower school lessons focus on creating and developing music and appreciation of a wide range of musical styles from Classical to Pop and World Music. Performance, composition, improvisation, ICT and Music Theory are all important aspects of the course.


The performance and composition coursework parts of the course are adaptable to the needs of individuals and can be tailored to match their strengths. Expertise on an instrument (or in singing) is essential but a modest grade standard (c. Grade 4 at the start of Year 10) can be enough to obtain a good final grade. No previous experience of composing is required: compositions are notated using Sibelius software; an elementary understanding of musical notation is required. The performing coursework is entirely the choice of the pupil; furthermore, multiple attempts to record performance work are permitted. Composition coursework includes one piece written in response to a given stimulus with a second, free composition.

In addition to Performance and Composition coursework, pupils study short pieces from the GCSE Anthology, which is set out in four areas of study: Instrumental Music 1700-1820; Vocal Music; Music for Stage and Screen; and Fusions.

Course Structure

  • Component 1 - Performing one solo and one ensemble performance (30%).
  • Component 2 - Composing two compositions (30%).
  • Component 3 - Appraising (40%): (a) written listening paper, including dictation and a question based on an unfamiliar piece of music; and (b) an essay question based on a comparison between a set work and one unfamiliar piece.

A level

Pupils opting to study A Level Music follow the Edexcel syllabus which is also divided into three sections based on performance, composition and appraising.

  • Unit One: Performing (30%) - 8 minutes, ensemble or solo, recorded and assessed in school, Grade 5+.
  • Unit Two: Composition (30%) -  2 compositions, one of at least 4 minutes in length, the second of at least 1 minute. Recent topics have included ‘Toys that come alive at night’ and ‘The passing storm’. The submission includes a CD-sleeve commentary that explains the influences on the composition. 
  • Unit Three: Appraising (40%) - One written paper of two hours, consisting of Section A: Areas of Study and Dictation; and Section B: Extended response.

People enjoy a high level of success in instrumental music and the pupils' chapel choir performs at a high level, and has the opportunity to sing at evensong at some of the university colleges.

ISI Report, November 2014

Music School Tours


  • Mr Max Kenworthy MA (Oxon) - Director of Music
  • Mrs Chloe Emery BA - Assistant Director of Music
  • Mr Scott Morrison - Music Teacher
  • Mrs Naomi Wrycroft BMus - Music Administrator



01223 508900

The Leys School