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This week's newsletter out today...


The May Parents’ Pack from is out now -


Vacancy: Exciting short term teaching vacancy required for maternity cover. We are seeking a Religious Education teacher to teach across the age and ability ranges, from 1 September to 22 October 2021. To apply


Take a moment to be mindful and connect with nature, relax in the garden, listen to birdsong or watch the sunset. Taking in your surroundings can help find a sense of calm


Term date reminder: school will be closed to students on Monday 17 May 2021, due to staff INSET.


The books of the week are The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle and The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. Read some of The Bubble Wrap Boy - Watch this video of Frances Hardinge talking about her book, The Lie Tree-


Happy Eid al Fitr Mubarak to all our families celebrating the end of the fast of Ramadan


Year 7 kicked off their Journalism Club today, with enthusiasm in abundance. The Press Pack have been formed, assignments distributed and we cannot wait to see the results


Being positive is not needing to always be happy, being positive can be a simple acceptance


Retweeted From SJL Geography

This week our year 7 geographers used their excellent work from last week to write their 'to what extent' essays.


Govia Thameslink Railway are offering virtual work experience opportunity during half term week (1-4 June), places are limited. Ideal for students to gain an understanding of the industry. To register interest, respond to Roopali Sharma:


Now more things are opening up for us to do indoors, remember to keep up the connections gained with nature during lockdown


Retweeted From Sir John Lawes Music

Yr11 finished their assessments and back to playing music - with conducting debuts from some rising musical stars! 🎶


Retweeted From Mental Health Fdn

📣 starts today. Help us to get the nation talking about nature and mental health. 🌳Join the movement. . Get involved.


Students begin the week with an assembly from Mrs Montgomery-Ward "improve your mental health through your connection with nature" Why not get creative, take a photograph of a landscape or sketch a natural object


Retweeted From National Online Safety

We’re proud to be supporting 's 💙 Discover our full suite of guides this and download our free app for parents & educators 👇 Apple >> Android >>


Thought for the Week: Avoiding blame


Fantastic performance boys!




Retweeted From Jo Mylles

An excellent HoD opportunity in our brilliant school. See the link here:


Retweeted From Alban Teaching School Hub

Getting ECF ready for September. The Alban TSH are looking forward to delivering the Full Induction Programme in conjunction with to schools across our hub region Contact


Retweeted From SJL Ecoschools

This week, with a little extra help from Mr Dunning and Ms Turner in the our year 9 team planted sweet peas, nasturtium, marigolds and wildflowers! We also covered potatoes again & potted out celeriac seedlings! We are also prepping for


The books of the week are Ingo by Helen Dunmore and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Read opening of Ingo Watch an interview with Karen Joy Fowler about her novel


Vacancy alert: are you an excellent Media teacher? Looking to join a Media Faculty with fantastic facilities including film studio and Mac suite? SJL seeking Media Teacher for maternity cover


This week's newsletter out today...


To confirm: SJL is open as normal today. The site has water and we have been assured by Affinity Water that it will not be disconnected at any point.


Use what you can control, your attitude


Retweeted From SJL Geography

Year 7 planning their essays by building 'on the one hand' and 'on the other hand' style argument. They did really well collating their information on a Venn diagram and then choosing their arguments for their essay by adding facts to their 'to what extent hands'.


Year 11 reminder: reply slips for accepting Sixth Form places must be in by this Friday 7 May 2021


Mrs Daniels has a collection of unnamed coats and football boots in lost property (some photographed below). Please tell your child to go to First Aid to be reunited with their possessions.


Year 11 reminder: payment for this year's prom is available on ParentPay now. We are delighted to be able to offer this celebration at Luton Hoo Walled Gardens.


Thought for the Week: Being motivated


Congratulations to Year 8 on all achieving Bully Free Form status Thanks to Miss Bonner for rescheduling the assessments for Year 8, who had to miss their assessment during Year 7.


This week's newsletter out today...


Retweeted From SJL Ecoschools

This week it was the turn ouf our Year 9s in the they did a great job of watering and weeding! The gardennis really starting to come along now. Next week we will sow some wild flowers from


Our thanks to Nommy from for talking to the SJL BLM Youth Forum today. Herts Young Leaders is an emerging charity set up to empower disadvantaged young people.


SJL playing host for today's BLM Youth Forum with and . Students coming together across the county to empower each other on the subject of Black Lives Matter


The books of the week are Lightning Mary by Anthea Simmons , Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. We have these at the library so come and borrow them!


Stand out, feel good


Year 8 reminder: options forms deadline tomorrow! Thank you to those who have returned their forms, any outstanding forms please email to Copies of the form can be found on the school website

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About the Faculty

Music is at the heart of the SJL community and the faculty of highly-experienced subject specialists offers opportunities for everyone. The faculty is a centre of activity through teaching and learning at all levels and in all styles.

The SJL Music Faculty aims to make music fully inclusive, accessible and enjoyable to all pupils at all levels, both in and out of the classroom.  We aim to challenge existing musicians and nurture new talent.  Students learn a wide range of instruments and singing - some for pleasure and some as part of GCSE and A-level courses. We have a healthy uptake of students opting for Music at GCSE and A-level.  A wide variety of pupils take Music GCSE, including those who have learnt a musical instrument for many years and also those who get started in Year 10.

Our extra-curricular programme provides many opportunities for all types and abilities of musician, offering musical experiences which are highly inspiring and rewarding.

Awards and badges are given termly for contribution to excellence in Music leading to half and full colours in the Sixth Form.

Curriculum Intent Statement

to follow

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Learning in Music is a largely practical activity and engages students at every level. Performance tasks are varied and include work on keyboards, tuned percussion, ukuleles and students' own instruments and voices. Practical work is often recorded in the school's recording studio or on iPads and independent work includes investigating the work of great musicians on-line, developing aural skills with music software and creating original compositions modelled on styles explored in class. Current topics studied in Years 7 and 8 include:  What is Music?; Christmas Song project; Exploring Garageband; Ukulele; Pop chords; Variations; Jazz and Blues; Music in the Media; Music for an Occasion.

Students develop their ability to listen and respond to a range of musical stimuli. They improve coordination skills in practical work and learn to discern their own and others' work by reflecting on success criteria and by setting themselves realistic targets. By the end of Key Stage 3 students have an holistic approach to learning in Music and in an appreciation for a variety of styles and genres from cultures across the ages and the world. Many students continue learning beyond the classroom on a whole range of instruments and singing and learn through performing with others in many of the school ensembles.

KS3 curriculum map

Key Stage 4 Curriculum

The skills developed in Key Stage 3 are essential for students to continue to develop as performers and composers at Key Stage 4. Our Year 9 Music Enrichment course is incredibly popular and gives students deep and engaging opportunities to develop and mature as musicians and to make the transition between Key Stage 3 and GCSE Music. The breadth of learning expands to encompass music from around the world but also incorporates music from students' own experience. The use of music technology, the internet, the music industry and instrumental specialists all create a rich tapestry of learning experiences and opportunities. Current topics studied include Cover Versions; Song Writing; Protest Music; African Drumming; Minimalism; Music for an Occasion; preparing, managing and performing in their Showcase evening.

This breadth and depth of performing, composing and listening prepares students for study at GCSE music where these skills are challenged and developed. We currently follow the OCR board which enables students to engage with and study a wide variety of musical styles, developing skills in performance, composition and musical analysis. There are three key elements to the course: Performance, Composition, and Listening & Appraising.


This element of the course encourages students to develop creative thinking, aesthetic sensitivity, critical awareness, self-confidence, self-motivation and their own musical interests and skills, including the ability to make music individually and in groups. Performance is assessed by two performances recorded throughout the course:

  • 1 solo performance (15%)
  • 1 ensemble performance (15%)


The composition element of the course emphasises the creative aspect of music and allows students to appreciate the process of creating music. Students are encouraged to explore a range of compositional techniques for developing and manipulating ideas, based around the key areas of study. Composition is assessed by two pieces of music written by students: one in response to a brief, and one a free composition, under controlled conditions.

2 x compositions (15% each)

Examples of composition briefs are as follows:

  • Area of Study 2: The Concerto Through Time Choose one of the given stimuli and create an instrumental piece for one solo instrument and accompaniment. The accompaniment should be for either a minimum of two orchestral instruments or a keyboard. The composition should be suitable for a performance at a lunch time concert in a church.
  • Area of Study 3: Rhythms of the World Choose one of the given stimuli and create a composition based on one of the genres from this area of study. Your piece should be suitable to be performed as part of a celebration or a special occasion.
  • Area of Study 4: Film Music Create a descriptive composition that would be suitable for performance at a reception following the premiere of a new film.
  • Area of Study 5: Conventions of Pop Using either the Set of Words, or one of the Rhythmic Phrases, or the Chord Sequence, create a song in any style that would be suitable for performance in a school assembly.

Listening & Appraising

This aspect of the course develops students’ listening and appraising skills through four areas of study across a variety of styles and genres. Students explore the broader context of each area of study as well as looking at specific pieces. Students develop aural awareness and key listening skills, underpinned by an understanding of music theory.

The Listening & Appraising element of GCSE Music is examined by a one-and-a-half hour exam at the end of the GCSE course.

  • Area of Study 2: Learners study the Concerto and its development from 1650 to 1910 through: The Baroque Solo Concerto; The Baroque Concerto Grosso; The Classical Concerto; The Romantic Concerto
  • Area of Study 3: Rhythms of the World: Learners study the traditional rhythmic roots from four geographical regions of the world: India and the Punjab; Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East; Africa; Central and South America.
  • Area of Study 4: Learners study music that has been composed specially for a film; music from the Western Classical tradition that has been used within a film and music that has been composed as a soundtrack for a video game.
  • Area of Study 5: Learners study Rock ‘n’ Roll of the 1950s and 1960s; Rock Anthems of the 1970s and 1980s; Pop Ballads of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s  and Solo Artists from 1990 to the present day

Results at GCSE level are consistently above 80% A*-C. Students at Key Stage 4 share a large responsibility for the success of school ensembles and regularly perform in concerts and gigs both in the local community and further afield. They act, too, as mentors to younger students finding their way in the school's musical community.

Key Stage 5 Curriculum

Board: Eduqas (A660PA or A660PB)

In A Level music you will further your understanding of musical styles and develop your skills in Composition and Performance. The study of set works looks at music in its context and compares and contrasts the development of musical styles over time - from Western Classical Traditions to modern pop, including music from different countries and cultures around the world.

Creative and expressive, yet academic and analytical, A Level music will challenge you, inspire you, and hopefully make you think a little differently about music and its relationship to our world. It is an opportunity to embrace and express your creative passions but also critically evaluate a range of musical styles, developing your skills in literary analysis. As an A Level musician you may take on responsibilities within the musical community such as leading ensembles or running extra-curricular groups. A Level music places a great emphasis on independent learning, preparing you well for university life. It is highly regarded as an academic subject by Oxbridge and other top universities.

Students that have studied Music A Level go on to read a variety of subjects at degree level including Law, English, Economics, Maths, Psychology and Sciences.

Students studying A Level Music in Year 12 are taught in a combined class alongside our Year 13 A Level Music students.


Unit 1: Performing Music

  • Perform either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble for a mini-recital lasting 6-8 or 10-12 minutes.
  • Externally assessed by a visiting examiner.
  • 35% or 25% of the A Level course, depending on whether you choose Option A or B.

Unit 2: Composing

  • Compose 2 pieces of music lasting in total 4-6 or 8-10 minutes.
  • Externally assessed.
  • 35% or 25% of the A Level course, depending on whether you choose Option A or B.

Unit 3: Musical Appraising

  • This unit explores a range of musical styles and traditions. Students will develop skills in musical analysis through three key areas of study: “The Western Classical tradition”, “Musical Theatre” and “Into the Twentieth Century”.
  • The unit is assessed by a 2 hour 15 minute written paper.
  • Externally assessed.
  • 40% of the A Level course.

Course content

You will gain more experience of practical music making, including composition and both solo and group performance. You will also have the opportunity to study a wide range of music including The Western Classical tradition, Musical Theatre and music of the Twentieth Century.

Entry requirements

We would expect you to achieve a grade 6 or above in GCSE Music and be grade 5 level on your instrument or voice. We would consider students that haven’t studied GCSE Music if they have passed or are working towards Grade 5 Theory. If you have not taken GCSE Music but are interested in pursuing A Level Music please come and have a discussion with the Music Faculty. All students must have an APS of 4.5 or above.

Extended Curriculum

The faculty runs a busy annual concert programme including formal Christmas, Spring and Summer Concerts in local churches and the Harpenden Public Halls, informal showcase evenings, atmospheric Jazz evenings and many community events such as Harpenden Carnival and Harpenden Schools Spring Festival. Our annual Scholar’s Trust concert is held in The Alban Arena. Many of our musicians are also often asked to perform at other local community and charity events.

Our extensive extra-curricular timetable includes Junior, Senior and Chamber Choirs, Concert Band, Up and Coming Junior Band, Jazz Band, Junior Jazz Band, Senior and Junior String Ensembles, Junior and Senior Saxophone Ensembles, String Quartet and Ukulele Group. The annual Music Tour is a highlight of the year with students travelling to various destinations around Europe to perform in concerts abroad. Recent destinations include Slovenia (2017), Switzerland (2018) and Spain (2019). In 2020 the tour will go to Italy with over 100 Sir John Lawes musicians!

Facilities for learning in Music are excellent and include a suite of iMacs running some of the latest music technology, a recording studio, a suite of practise rooms, a keyboard suite, a range of recording equipment and a number of instruments available for loan. The faculty works closely with the Hertfordshire County Music Service.

Marking Policy

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