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Department Staff and Responsibilities 

Mrs J. Madden – T&L Leader of Expressive Arts Faculty

Mrs S. Stafford – T&L Coordinator Music and Vocal Coach

Instrumental teachers

Piano/Keyboard – Mrs P Calcutt

Drum Kit – Mr L Parr

Guitar – Mr D Foster

Singing – Mrs S Stafford

Brass – Mrs H Dykes

Woodwind –

‘I cannot scream praise high enough for the teachers within Bedford Arts. It is their natural talent for nurturing and growth of self-esteem that has quite literally been life changing for my daughter’. Mrs Downs, (parent of an Arts student at Bedford High School).

Bedford High School is a Gold Artsmark School, Lead Artsmark School, Music Mark, Royal Exchange Ambassador School and National Theatre Flagship School.  The Arts Faculty is composed of Art, Dance, Drama and Music and our united vision is to ‘Bring out the best in everyone through creative thinking and expression’. This statement is at the forefront of everything we do to ensure our students have as many high quality Arts opportunities as possible.

We run five GCSE courses and between 40% – 50% of students at KS4 study an Arts subject. Music GCSE grades are above national average. We are proud that our students on average achieve two to three grades above national average. Over 200 students participate in at least 10 Arts based clubs on a weekly basis ranging from dance, choir, musical theatre, drama group, music composition, rock school, flute club, brass band and art club. These clubs culminate in shows throughout the year such as the Christmas show, pantomime, talent show, KS4 and vocal showcase evenings, lunchtime theatre clubs and our summer musical, this year we are performing Sister Act. We pride ourselves on giving the wow factor by producing high quality shows worthy of Youth Theatre standard, we feel this is the reason we have over 4000 people attend our shows each year.

We also take part in many community,  regional and national events including Leigh Carnival Festival, Leigh Canal Festival, Wigan Music Hub events, dance competitions, art competitions, Music for Youth, SLICE projects and National Theatre events to name a few.

The faculty has ‘Arts Ambassadors’ across the Arts subjects. Their role is to drive the Arts across the school, organising live events and leading Arts clubs. Introducing the role of Arts Ambassadors has not only developed student leadership but also helped raise the profile of the Arts with increased uptake in Arts events.

Our cultural provision is something we are very proud of at Bedford. Students have opportunities to visit theatre performances, museums, art galleries, dance shows, music trips and take part in workshops with professional artists. We work closely with local, regional and national partnerships to ensure our students work with the best professionals in the creative industries.

Providing our young people with excellent career guidance is very important to us at Bedford and especially in our Arts faculty. The creative industries are growing faster than any other sector in the UK. Every year the UK’s creative industries contribute £92billion. The growth of the sector is expected to grow predicting that the creative industries could be worth £128.4billion to the UK economy by 2025 and help to create up to a million more jobs by 2030. We host careers lunches where professionals from the creative industries speak to our students about pathways into their careers. We also host an annual careers fair where we have a vast array of professionals from the creative industries speak to our students to help them understand the opportunities in the creative & cultural industries.

The Music Department aims to provide students throughout the school with a rich variety of musical experiences, which combine the three principal areas of performing, composing and listening. Music plays an important role in the daily life at Bedford, with all students being encouraged to participate in music-making and fostering musical ability at the highest level.

Our Vision: Every Child A Musician

It is our aim to teach fun, active, engaging lessons and to instil a love of music in our students. We want our students to be creative in composition tasks and confident in performance. We will encourage our students to listen to a range of different music from different times and cultures as well as music, which is more relevant to them. We want them to feel free and confident to talk about all different types of music and to understand how music is created, so that they can in turn be creative themselves. We want to introduce them to a range of different instruments, music technology and to encourage them to use their voices. Our lessons should begin and end with music and students should leave our classrooms excited about what they will learn the next time we meet.

In Year 7 and 8 students receive Music lessons once a week and at GCSE students receive three lessons a week.

GCSE Music

Eduqas GCSE Music  

The specification requires candidates to develop their ability in performing and composing, and to develop their listening and appraising skills.

The specification contains four Areas of Study, which define the subject content, through which candidates develop their knowledge and understanding of:

  • The use of musical elements, devices, tonalities and structures.
  • The use of resources, conventions, processes, music technology and relevant notations, including staff notation.
  • 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 the cultural environment.

How can you help your child?

  • Ensure your child is practising their instrument for at least 20 minutes four times a week.
  • Encourage your child to attend extra-curricular activities. These will develop your child’s performing and listening skills.
  • Check your child’s planner each week. It is very important that coursework is kept up to date and homework is being completed.
  • If you have any problems or queries please contact us!

Instrumental Tuition

Along with classroom Music teaching, the instrumental teaching service is well established at Bedford High School, with over 100 players learning, from beginners through to advanced players in the Upper Grades.

We are very proud of our Instrumental Teachers at Bedford, who carry out the tuition with great enthusiasm and commitment. All teachers are highly qualified and experienced in instrumental tuition. Students are encouraged to take grade examinations when appropriate. The teaching service is supported by a full range of extra-curricular including and we expect students to join these as soon as possible.

All students participating in instrumental lessons will also be given the chance to complete exams in their chosen instrument. These exams are accredited, professional qualifications that have valuable UCAS point equivalence and can often give students an advantage when applying for university. Our instrumental students are also given first refusal for our many educational trips and tickets for our departmental shows.

If you have any further questions regarding our instrumental program, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Stafford at