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Welcome To Our New Website!
Russell Lower School


Our music lead is Ms K Gallagher.
The aims for our music curriculum taken from the National Curriculum
The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:
  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

Music is a unique way of communicating that can inspire and motivate children.  Music reflects the culture and society we live in and so the teaching and learning of music enables children to better understand the world in which they live. 

At Russell Lower School, we provide opportunities for all children to listen, sing, play, evaluate, analyse and compose across a wide variety of historical periods, styles, traditions, and musical genres.  We provide opportunities for all children to develop the skills to appreciate the wide variety of musical forms and to begin to make judgements and have opinions about the quality of music they play can listen to.

Music is a universal language that epitomises one of the highest forms of creativity. A high- quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, singers, songwriters and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. All children are actively encouraged and given the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument, from standard classroom instruments to individual instrumental lessons with our visiting staff from Inspiring Music.

We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of music in the wider community, and are able to use their musical skills, knowledge, and experiences to involve themselves in music, in a variety of different contexts. At Russell Lower School, we pride ourselves in the enrichment opportunities we provide for our children.  Our peripatetic teachers offer lessons in guitar, drums, viola, violin, flute and fife and we are privileged to receive Samba lessons for the whole of Year 4. We are very proud of our choir which has over 60 members.  The choir shares it talents within the community by singing at the Christmas Tree festival, Teddy Bear festival at St Andrews Church and at our amazing Russell Rocks Concert held at Redborne Upper School Connolly Hall.  We have close links with Ampthill Town Orchestra and have joined with other local schools in a concert celebrating the music of films. 


During 2019-2020 and then again at the end of 2020-2021 our Music curriculum has been carefully redesigned focussing on curriculum sequencing to ensure skill progression from lesson to lesson and year to year with a focus on deepening and embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. Year group milestone documents have been created in order to support the above and assessment within the subject.

Within Music we focus our teaching on the subject content outlined within the National Curriculum.

We have developed year group and subject specific curriculum plans which identify when the different themes will be taught across the academic year. Pupils participate in Music lessons in the equivalent of one a week. Some year groups teach one lesson a week, other year groups block the lessons half-termly. The vast majority of units are taught discretely however staff make meaningful links across subjects through themes. Links are made to History as children listen to many different pieces of Music from across a wide range of years.  In addition, links are made to Geography as we talk about where the music has originated from.

These areas of learning are revisited year on year where pupils progressively build their skills and knowledge and can link prior skills and knowledge to new learning to deepen their learning. For example,

Early Years – Children are taught to:

  • sing a range of well-known nursery rhymes and songs.
  • perform songs, rhymes, poems and stories with others.
  • try to move in time with music

Key Stage 1 – Children are taught to:

  • use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes.
  • play tuned and untuned instruments musically.
  • listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music,
  • experiment with, create, select and combine sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music.

Key Stage 2 – Children are taught to:

  • play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression.
  • improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music.
  • listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory.
  • use and understand staff and other musical notations.
  • appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians.
  • develop an understanding of the history of music.

Within all lessons we are working towards Rosenshine’s 17 Principles of Effective Instruction and use of the Great Teaching Toolkit. Short-term plans (taken from Charanga and adapted when necessary) set out the learning objectives and success criteria for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them. Within our Music lessons pupils develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.

Within the lessons the main areas of learning are consolidated through re-cap and reinforcement year on year where pupils progressively build their skills and knowledge and can link prior skills and knowledge to new learning to deepen their learning. This is achieved by basing lessons on the Charanga Programme of Study, building a spiral programme year on year, whilst offering flexibility with planning. For example, Pulse, Rhythm and Pitch are introduce in Year 1 and revisited every year.  

Questioning, modelling and feedback are used to support the teaching and learning process, ensure progression within every lesson and aid assessment.

Our Music curriculum is an integral part of our whole school education provision and is designed to meet the unique needs of pupils, not only through our Music lessons but through our wider curriculum including assemblies, choir, Russell Rocks and Christmas Tree Festival.

At Russell Lower School we provide a wide array of opportunities, visits, visitors and activities across the course of the year to support Music outside of the National Curriculum.

  • Peripatetic teachers offer lessons in guitar, drums, viola, violin, flute and fife.
  • Pbone lessons for the whole of Year 4.
  • Samba workshops for Year 4.
  • Our choir which has over 60 members, shares it talents within the community by:

o   Singing at the Christmas Tree festival.

o   Teddy Bear festival at St Andrews Church.

o   Russell Rocks Concert held at Redborne Upper School Connolly Hall. 

  • Close links with Ampthill Town Orchestra and other local schools.
  • African Drumming experience in Year 2.
  • Whole school singing assembly.
  • Team Teach with Inspiring Music.
  • Sharing Assemblies.
  • Christmas and End of Year performances

More so than ever we provide flexibility within Music lessons to meet children’s needs and understanding due to the impact of Covid 19.

Post Lockdowns we have focussed on Barry Carpenter’s 5 levers; routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom which has resulted in various adaptions and restructuring of the curriculum over the last two years to ensure children are still accessing a well-rounded and rich Music curriculum whilst tackling some of the above.

As we move forward with our Music curriculum we will continue to identify gaps in learning and address these through changes to planning and unit sequencing to ensure the best possibly progress is made. For example, Year 1 omitted the final unit (Reflect, Rewind and Replay) in order to ‘catch up’ some of the units missed during lockdown.

Long and medium term plans
Milestone example
Further milestone documents for all year groups are available, on request, to demonstrate our skill progression.

In order to measure the impact of our Music curriculum we use a range of formative and summative assessment in all lessons such as:

  • Questioning
  • Pupil, parent, staff voice/questionnaires
  • Observations/learning walks/drop ins
  • Analysis of our assessment tool linked to milestone documents/National Curriculum for each year
  • Assessment provided by our Peri teachers and inspiring music to ensure the teacher is aware of children’s strengths and areas for development across all areas of the Music curriculum for their year group.

Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring of teaching and learning cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in Music as well as indicating areas for development.

Academic outcomes and impact:

For this year we are aware of the following outcomes for Music:

Early Years:

Listening, Attention and understanding - 92% July 2023

Being imaginative and expressive - 93% July 2023

The average of % assessed is currently 86% ARE+ which is 3% higher than outcomes for July 2022.


Other outcomes and impact:

Music was hugely affected by the restrictions placed as a result of COVID19.  We were unable to use instruments or sing in any lessons for almost 2 academic years.  Choir and Singing Assembly was cancelled for long periods, along with all the visiting Peripatetic teachers.  These have now resumed and a large number of children are learning instruments across all year groups. The choir has also been very successful.  We restarted it with Year 4 children and had over 25 members.  We were lucky enough to perform at St Andrews Church in a Music festival and also visit a care home in Ampthill to perform to the residents. 

All children now receive high quality, dedicated lessons over the course of the week as well as the Music curriculum playing a vital role in our whole school curriculum.

Music has now become embedded within many of the classes across the school through movement breaks during lessons and Mindfulness time. Our assemblies always have different types of music playing as the children enter and leave the hall. 

We have Music displays in our classrooms in order to support children in developing their understanding of music vocabulary and knowledge and skills.

During last year, we were supported by Inspiring Music who worked collaboratively with our Music lead to develop the teaching of Music. This year we have support from Inspiring Music to run our school choir.  This has had a hugely positive impact.


We had been able to experience regular assemblies where the children learning an instrument were able to share their skills with the whole school.  These included guitar, violin and drums.