​ISM and ISM Trust music certificates

Introduction

You and I know the value of music. We do not need persuading.

But with a new, even more pernicious English Baccalaureate (EBacc) being proposed by the Government threatening the existence of a robust, vibrant and healthy arts education in our schools, we need to do everything possible to support music in schools. At present, even the most committed head teachers feel under ever-increasing pressure from central Government to diminish their commitment to music in schools.

As the professional body for musicians and music educators and a subject association for music education, the ISM is campaigning vigorously to protect the place of music in school accountability measures. But we are also looking at other ways in which we can support teachers – our members – in schools across the UK.

Background to the project

Whenever we visit schools, we see certificates and awards proudly displayed on the walls in and around the reception. Being recognised for their work in the form of an award can help a music department as it talks to senior leadership about the value of their subject. It also offers a morale boost to struggling departments as they seek to expand or maintain their status within a school.

With this all in mind, we sought to pilot a way in which we could recognise the achievement of schools in England in music without creating an onerous new system of assessment.

We knew that the data we needed was readily available from the Department for Education.


What we did

GCSE results are published every year and we are able to instantly rank schools easily by how many pupils entered for GCSE music achieved high grades in GCSE music.

But this doesn’t give us the full picture. There could be more pupils being entered for GCSE music in one school when compared to others, and vice versa.

We took the number of pupils getting an A*-C grade in GCSE music (attainment) and divided it by the number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 (GCSEs) (entries) to avoid any pitfalls and to get at least some idea of the place of music in a whole school.

Some headline figures

The data – which can also be broken down by music education hub/local authority area – also uncovered a number of interesting results:

  • 87 schools received a gold certificate, with more than 20% of all pupils securing an A*-C in GCSE music, 146 received a silver certificate (more than 15%), and 416 received a bronze certificate (more than 10%)
  • 1,898 schools had no entries at all for GCSE music.
  • Of the 87 schools that secured a gold certificate, 50 were private schools and 18 were selective (mostly grammar) schools.
  • Of the 146 securing a silver certificate, 68 were independent schools and 27 were selective (leaving 51 comprehensives).
  • Of the 416 securing a bronze certificate, 125 were independent, 43 were selective, and 248 were comprehensive.
  • Specialist music schools perhaps unsurprisingly outperformed all other schools, with 100% of pupils securing an A*-C in GCSE music
  • Holy Trinity Free School in Worcestershire was the highest performing comprehensive state school, although the pupil numbers were small.
  • At Harton Technology College 61 pupils of a total cohort of 266 secured an A*-C in music.
  • The best performing local authority by this ranking (with its very small number of pupils) was the City of London, closely followed by Southwark, York, Camden, Westminster and Barnet. Brighton and Hove is the next highest non-London area.

Important notes

The limits of the research

We do not suggest that this data is in any way definitive. It represents just one way of looking at music in schools and has been designed purely to support schools where a strong tradition of music clearly exists. We will therefore not be publishing the full data, as it risks being misunderstood or misused.

We did not want this to become about ranking schools, so we will only publish the list of the top 87 as a celebration of achievement.

The data does not measure attainment for schools with fewer than 5 pupils taking GCSE music as this data is not made publicly available (for data protection reasons).

How can music education hubs and music services access their data?

We will share the data with any music education hub or music service that requests it from us.

List of schools with more than 20% of pupils achieving an A*- C in GCSE music

School or college name

Institution Type

Admissions

Purcell School

Independent School

Yehudi Menuhin School

Independent School

Chetham's School of Music

Independent School

Selective

The King's School

Independent School

Non selective

Young Dancers Academy

Independent School

Non selective

Wells Cathedral School

Independent School

Finborough School

Independent School

The Hammond

Independent School

Elmhurst School for Dance

Independent School

St Christopher School

Independent School

Non selective

Rye St Antony School

Independent School

Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School Limited

Independent School

Non selective

The King's School

Independent School

Non selective

Holy Trinity

Free School - Mainstream

Comprehensive

Arts Educational School

Independent School

The Royal Ballet School

Independent School

Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

Independent School

The Henrietta Barnett School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Pate's Grammar School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Bristol Cathedral Choir School

Academy Sponsor Led

Comprehensive

Caistor Grammar School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Shebbear College

Independent School

Non selective

Durham High School for Girls

Independent School

Heathfield School

Independent School

Wolverhampton Grammar School

Independent School

Kingsdale Foundation School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Comprehensive

King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

St Mary's College

Independent School

St Nicholas' School

Independent School

Non selective

The King Edward VI Grammar School, Louth

Foundation School

Selective

Hawley Place School

Independent School

Our Lady's Convent School

Independent School

Arnold Lodge School

Independent School

The Kingsley School

Independent School

The King Alfred School

Independent School

Non selective

Hulme Hall Grammar School

Independent School

Non selective

King Edward VI School

Independent School

The St Marylebone CofE School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Comprehensive

King Edward VI School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Battle Abbey School

Independent School

The Towers Convent School

Independent School

Non selective

Dame Alice Owen's School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Comprehensive

The Queen's School

Independent School

Not known

The Norton Knatchbull School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Roedean School

Independent School

Selective

St Benedict's School

Independent School

Coloma Convent Girls' School

Voluntary Aided School

Comprehensive

Sir John Talbot's Technology College

Academy Sponsor Led

Comprehensive

Wirral Grammar School for Girls

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Huntington School

Community School

Comprehensive

Leighton Park School

Independent School

Harrogate Grammar School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Comprehensive

Harris Academy Greenwich

Academy Sponsor Led

Comprehensive

Thamesmead School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Comprehensive

St Bede's Catholic College

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Comprehensive

Southend High School for Boys

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Hindley High School

Foundation School

Comprehensive

Ryedale School

Community School

Comprehensive

Channing School

Independent School

Selective

Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Westonbirt School

Independent School

Stroud High School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Alcester Grammar School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

St Nicholas School

Independent School

Non selective

St Peter's School (Inc St Olaves and Clifton Pre-Prep)

Independent School

Prendergast School

Voluntary Aided School

Comprehensive

Harton Technology College

Community School

Comprehensive

Framlingham College

Independent School

The Camden School for Girls

Voluntary Aided School

Comprehensive

Colston's School

Independent School

Sackville School

Independent School

Harrop Fold School

Community School

Comprehensive

Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School

Independent School

Frensham Heights School

Independent School

Tiffin School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Highsted Grammar School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Bury Grammar School Girls

Independent School

Winchester College

Independent School

Selective

Stonar School

Independent School

Non selective

Simon Balle All-Through School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Comprehensive

Ribston Hall High School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Withington Girls' School

Independent School

Selective

St Albans High School for Girls

Independent School

Selective

High School for Girls

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective

Longridge Towers School

Independent School

Non selective

Chesham Grammar School

Academy - Converter Mainstream

Selective