The Performing Arts Curriculum Area embraces Music and Drama. Both these subjects are taught to every child for the first three years in school and they study each of the two subjects for one hour every week.

The philosophy that underpins our teaching is the notion of "Educating the Self" and we are convinced that people who are in touch with their creativity at a young age, become happier, more balanced people, and they are ultimately more fulfilled and can manage their lives better. We believe that lunch time and after school activities on a regular basis, enrich the students' education and give them a greater degree of freedom and expression. We aim to further the development of individual responsibility whilst also ensuring the students' enjoyment through a wide range of group activities and experiences which they can choose to participate in.


All work in years 7 and 8 covers three areas:

  • Conventional Stage Skills - improvising, role play, creating characters, working with others, confidence building and Drama Games.
  • Exploring issues relevant to their lives and those of others.
  • Learning how to apply many different Dramatic Devices.

In the GCSE course, students are encouraged to develop and combine the above skills and issues to create challenging and innovative drama.

In the BTEC course students learn about the Performing Arts Industry and work towards creating and performing a Dramatic presentation.

A variety of clubs provide the opportunity to develop your drama further, through writing, performing, filming and editing activities.

We aim to develop the skills and tools you'll need to create effective and thought-provoking theatre.


  Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Autumn Term Topic Basic Drama Skills Theatre styles/Genres GCSE BTEC foundation
Spring Term Topic Basic Drama Skills Status And Tragedy GCSE BTEC foundation
Summer Term Topic Utilising Drama Skills/ Devising Drama Working with masks/ Physical Theatre Working with scripts/ Devising Theatre


  Year 10 Year 11
Autumn Term Topic GCSE Unit 1 GCSE Unit 1
Spring Term Topic GCSE Unit 2 GCSE Unit 2
Summer Term Topic GCSE Unit 3 GCSE Unit 3


At Key Stage 4 students are required to keep a log book throughout the year detailing what they have achieved in lessons.


Acton High School is alive with music, whether it is our jazz band playing to entertain parents and students as they arrive for open evenings, our choirs singing for special events or a whole host of soloists, ensembles and rock groups playing to extend their musical knowledge and skills. We run choirs in the local community and showcase our performances across London and the South East of England.

Our fully-equipped professional recording studio enables students to explore all aspects of recording, sequencing and production. We also have a new suite of mini-Macs which are used in class across all key stages. Students are taught to use Sibelius and Logic Pro software both in class, and as part of our extra-curricular activities.

Whatever your musical interests, Acton High is the place for you to thrive and enjoy making music.


In Years 7 and 8, students follow schemes of work which mirror the National Curriculum, written by our own staff. Students are given opportunities to develop their practical skills on keyboards, guitars and percussion as well as learning about critical listening, musical analysis and composition and improvisation.  In Year 9, we offer a module on Minimalism and then run a two term extended practical project, based on Music Futures, to develop independent learning. Students not only form their own bands, but also learn about concert management and promotion, budgeting, studio recording and CD production.

Overview of Modules studied at KS3

  Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Autumn Term Topic Percussion 12 Bar Blues/Jazz Minimalism
Spring Term Topic Guitar World Music The Band Experience
Summer Term Topic Keyboard Film Music/Music ICT The Band Experience

In addition, students in all year groups can attend additional twilight sessions to develop their notation and composition skills, which is particularly important for those who may wish to continue with GCSE Music at KS4.

The Department/Extra-curricular provision

The Music Department at Acton High School has two large classrooms equipped with PCs or mini-Macs and keyboards. In addition, we have a wide range of instruments for students to use in class, such as guitars, percussion, African drums and Samba kit.

Our recording studio is managed and run by a specialist member of staff, who also teaches Music Technology at KS5.

Acton High School subsidises instrumental and vocal tuition in keyboard, guitar, woodwind, brass, strings, percussion and voice, which makes one-to-one or small group tuition accessible for many of our students.

Music department staff, helped by members of the Sixth Form, run a wide range of clubs for students at lunchtimes and after school. These include Musical Theatre choir and chamber choir, electric and acoustic rock groups, Djembe, recording club, jazz group and ad hoc sessions for students seeking coaching in preparation for performances.

Musical learning is enriched by regular trips to performances and workshops. We visit Glyndebourne Opera, go to concerts and workshops at London’s leading venues and encourage our students to showcase their musical success at music festivals in London and the South East of England.

KS4     GCSE Music (Edexcel)

GCSE Music (Edexcel) is offered as an option for musically talented students in Years 10 and 11. The course has three elements: Performance (30%), Composition (30%) and Listening and Appraising Music (40%). Students who choose GCSE Music typically have well established instrumental or vocal skills (roughly equivalent to ABRSM Grade III) and a basic grasp of reading notation in the treble and bass clefs.

At AHS, GCSE Music is taught in small groups where we can cater for the most musically gifted students, as well as those who love music, and show high potential as performers.   In addition, we expect GCSE music students to contribute fully to the musical life of the school by singing in choirs, playing in bands or working in ensembles and performing regularly at school events.

In Year 10, we study twelve set works, ranging from classical and twentieth century music to rock, pop, jazz and world music, whilst building up the basic skills in composition. Students perform regularly each term and are assessed against GCSE criteria.

In Year 11, we focus on composition, so that students are confident that they can write pieces which reflect their own musical passions. We revise our set works weekly, and there are more regular performance assessments to ensure that everyone is playing to the best of their ability.  Students are supported not only by the Head of Music, but also by our team of peripatetic specialist music teachers throughout their course, who can offer additional instrumental, vocal and theory tuition.




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