St Bede’s has a vibrant, thriving and extremely successful Music department and is in the privileged position of being able to work with some highly talented musicians. The school was designated a Music Specialist School from September 2008 which brought many opportunities for the students including community outreach. Even though the concept has ended, the department still regularly works closely with its partner Primary and Secondary schools and is a member of the Surrey Music Hub. In 2011 the department had an Ofsted subject inspection and was graded outstanding.
Pupils’ participation in music throughout all Key Stages is strong and the school places an extremely important emphasis on music in the curriculum and in the wider life of the school. Students are encouraged to participate in all kinds of music at all levels and examination results are excellent. Both formal and informal concerts are a regular feature of school life.
The Music Department is a strong team and currently consists of 4 members of staff: Hannah Mitchell (Head of Music) Stephen Rodwell (teacher of Music - leaving us at the end of this year to relocate to Abu Dhabi). James Wood (Assistant Headteacher) Sam Pitchfork (teacher of Music Technology, Music, and technician to the department).
The Music department is situated in a purpose built performing Arts block, which was opened at the end of 2004. The facilities are fabulous; comprising three fully equipped teaching rooms. The department is extremely well resourced with a wide variety of electronic and acoustic instruments. The three classrooms are fully equipped with keyboards, sound systems, projectors, interactive whiteboards and computers (2 rooms with Macs running logic and garageband), as well as a full range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments including drum kit. There are 6 practice rooms equipped with upright pianos and a Steinway grand, with the 6th practice room being a recording studio. The main school hall has been fully refurbished to a high standard and contains a lovely Blüthner grand piano. There are currently plans to further extend these facilities.
In both Year 7 and Year 8, Music is taught twice per fortnight to mixed-ability tutor groups of 30 students. In Y9 students opt for two arts subjects from Art, Drama and Music and students receive 3 hours per fortnight: we currently have six classes of Y9 students.
In Year 8 students take part in an ‘elective’ programme where they can opt for extra lessons in a subject area in the form of a half termly project; currently the department offers a very popular elective in Music technology.
In Key Stage 4 there are 35 pupils studying GCSE Music in Year 10 and 28 students studying the course in Year 11 with 30 from year 9 opting to take GCSE next year. At KS5 Music and Music technology are popular A level options. The Edexcel specification is followed at both KS4 and 5 and a high proportion of KS5 music students go on to study music at a university or college: The retention rate from AS to A2 is high.
Performances are a regular occurrence at the school. The main concerts fall in the Spring and Summer terms and are always sold out. Other events include the Carol service, GCSE concerts, recital evenings, assemblies both at school and at our partner schools, Primary school workshops, performances within the local community and further afield.
Extra curricular Music making is very strong: The groups currently on offer are Senior Orchestra, Wind band, String Orchestra, ‘Slide’ (senior jazz band), ‘415 Jazz’ (junior jazz band), Lower school band, Y7 singers, Senior Choir, 'Man Up' (Y7 - Y10 all male singing ensemble) and other informal groups. Students are also encouraged to form their own ensembles. These are all run by the music department teaching staff and mean we have excellent relationships with our students.
The whole of year 7 has takes part in a ‘Last Choir Standing’ competition, which has been an immense amount of fun over the years. Groups have performed regularly both in and outside of school and The senior jazz band 'Slide' will be going on our 8th residential trip to Derbyshire in July.
Surrey Arts provides music instrumental lessons for a significant number of pupils on a wide range of instruments. These take place throughout the school day as well as after school. The school is also a centre for instrumental teaching for the area and welcomes students from other schools in the area for instrumental lessons after school and on Saturdays.