The Music and Performing Arts department at Fairwater High is a busy, vibrant department providing numerous opportunities for pupil success through both a varied curriculum and a varied extra-curricular timetable.

The results for the department speak for themselves.  In 2013, 88.5% of our key stage 3 pupils achieved level 5+ in Music.  At key stage 4,100% of the GCSE Music class achieved C+ and 100% of the Performing Arts BTEC Level 2 class achieved C+. In the A Level Performing Arts class 100% of pupils achieved A-E grades.

This obvious success is a result of teachers and pupils having excellent working relationships where teachers have high expectations of pupils, deliver challenging lessons and identify and act upon underachievement, enabling pupils to achieve their full potential.

The department has chosen courses at exam level that best suit the strengths of our pupils at Fairwater.  At key stage 4 we offer GCSE music; the traditional music qualification, alongside BTEC Level 2 Performing Arts which caters for students with a flair for dance/acting/music/marketing and technical production support. At key stage 5 we offer Music A level and BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts; these courses follow the same concept as their predecessors at key stage 4.

The department has access to 15 laptops and has Sibelius software to support the composition tasks required in both GCSE and A Level music.

We offer peripatetic lessons to all pupils; provided by GGMS, at a small cost.  This service enables pupils to receive expert tuition on any instrument of their choice from a professional musician.  Many pupils who access this service go on to represent Torfaen, and even Wales in Youth Choirs/Bands/Orchestra’s.   Extra-curricular activities within the department include a whole school choir and several instrumental ensembles/bands. The pupils are given many opportunities to perform to the public in regular Charity Concerts (where funds raised are donated to a charity of the pupils’ choice), a Christmas Carol Service, Christmas concerts in the community and an end of year whole school production; this year of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

Music and Performing – Learning Area

The music curriculum at all levels is split into three key learning areas; performing, composing and appraising.  Units of work are planned to incorporate all three of these areas as well as improving the literacy, numeracy, teamwork, communication and self-evaluation skills of pupils.  Pupils are assessed at the end of each unit of work and given a level along with feedback on how to improve their work for the next assessment.


Year 7 Autumn Term Year 7 Spring Term Year 7 Summer Term
1.Rhythm and the Elements 3. Carnival of the Animals 5. Radio Jingle
2.Ukulele 4. Welsh Music 6.Musical Futures – Chasing Cars


Year 8 Autumn Term Year 8 Spring Term Year 8 Summer Term
1.Theme and Variations 3.Drums and Rhythms of the World 5. Rock Workshop
2.Popular styles at the keyboard 4. Composing Welsh Music 6. Musical Futures – Three Little Birds


Year 9 Autumn Term Year 9 Spring Term Year 9 Summer Term
1.9.11 Composition 3. Pop Music 5. Film music
2.The Blues 4. Romeo and Juliet

6. Musical Futures – Somebody that I used to know




UNIT 1: Performing Music 30 % Controlled Assessment

UNIT 2: Composing Music 30%

Controlled Assessment

UNIT 3: Appraising Music 40%

External Assessment


Two contrasting performances. One solo and one as a member of an ensemble. 

Two contrasting compositions



-1½ hour listening / written examination based on unprepared musical extracts under each of the Areas of Study and an evaluation of a performance/composition undertaken during the course.


Learning Objectives

  • Actively engage in the process of music study in order to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.
  • Develop their own musical interests and skills including the ability to make music individually and in groups.
  • Be able to evaluate their own and others’ music.
  • Be able to understand, appreciate and analyse a range of different genres of music.
  • Through performing, composing and appraising develop knowledge and understanding of
    • the musical elements, devices, tonalities and structures
    • the use of resources, conventions, processes, music technology and relevant notations
    • the contextual influences that affect the way music is created, performed and heard, including the effect of different intentions, uses, venues, occasions, available resources and cultural environment.

Areas of Study

These objectives will be taught through performing, composing and appraising activities based on the four areas of study:

  • Music in Wales
  • Music for Stage and Screen
  • Music Evolution
  • Musical Forms and Devices

The specification, sample assessment material and assessment information can be found here:

BTEC Level 2 Performing Arts (Performance)

This is an assignment based course which does not require pupils to sit any written exams.  The BTEC Level 2 qualification is equivalent to 2 GCSE’s at C-A grade.  A Pass is equivalent to a C grade, Merit – B grade, Distinction – A grade, Distinction*- A* grade.  The course is spit up into four units which are delivered over the two year period.  These units are:

  • The Development of Drama/Dance/Music – develops the learners’ knowledge of the social and historical context of drama/dance/music and helps them develop and rehearse performance work, including acting/dancing/singing/playing an instrument.
  • Working in the Performing Arts Industry – gives learners knowledge of employment opportunities within the performing arts industry and the jobs undertaken by those who work in it.5
  • Professional Development in the Performing Arts Industry – Allows learners to gain knowledge of a range of career opportunities within the performing arts industry and the jobs undertaken by those who work in it.
  • Performing Arts Production Process – develops learners’ understanding of the processes required for staging a production, including all technical and administrative procedures.  Pupils devise, rehearse and perform their own show. 10

The specification and assessment information can be found here:

 A level Music (WJEC)

This specification is divided into a total of 6 units, 3 AS units and 3 A2 units. Weightings noted below are expressed in terms of the full A Level qualification.

AS (3 units)

MU1 Performing (AO1) 15 % External Assessment

Solo and/or ensemble performance

MU2 Composing (AO2) 15% Internal Assessment

Two contrasting compositions

MU3 Appraising (AO3) 20% External Assessment

One listening examination in two parts

  • Part 1: (12%):1 hour appraising test based on extracts of music (set works) taken from the two Areas of Study (‘Jazz, Rock and Pop’ and ‘Orchestral music’)
  • Part 2: (8%): 1 hour aural perception (melodic dictation, keys, chords, cadences) based on unprepared musical extracts

 A LEVEL (the above plus the following 3 units – 2 units at 15% and 1 at 20%)

MU4 Performing 15/20% External Assessment

Solo and/or ensemble performance

MU5 Composing 15/20% Internal Assessment

Two contrasting compositions

MU6 Appraising 15/20% External Assessment

One written examination in two parts (2 ¼ hours) OR one written examination in three parts (3 hours).

BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts

This qualification is the equivalent to 1 A level at grade C or above.  The course involves 6 units of work delivered over a two year period. All coursework is assessed internally and moderated externally.

Units studied

  •  Singing Skills for Actors and Dancers: Learners develop vocal skills and techniques through teacher-led workshops.
  • Devising Plays: Learners attend drama workshops to develop skills and techniques for generating performance material (writing and performing scripts).
  • Musical Theatre Performance: Learners rehearse roles which require them to use acting, singing and dancing skills.
  • Performing to an Audience: Learners gain experience of performing a role as part of an ensemble, presenting rehearsed work to a live audience.
  • Auditions for Actors: Equips learners with the planning skills and key acting techniques to deliver effective audition performances for employment in live theatre/filmed media.
  • The Healthy Performer: Learners gain understanding of the structure and function of the human body, focusing on the lifestyle and health of the performer.

The specification and assessment information can be found here:


T (01633) 643950
Fairwater High School
Ty-Gwyn Way
NP44 4YZ