Follow us on Instagram @BedfordArts and @Bedfordhighschoollive

Department Staff and Responsibilities 

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

Mrs S. Stafford – Teacher of Music and Vocal Coach

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 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. 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 events including Leigh Carnival Festival, Leigh Canal Festival, Let’s Sing, Wigan Music Hub events, dance competitions, SLICE projects and National Theatre events. Our drama students performed at the Exchange Theatre last year which is an incredible achievement.

We provide primary liaison support through which primary students take an active part in our performances.  This year over 240 primary students took part in Arts-based activities at Bedford.  120 Year 2-5s took part in the Aladdin pantomime, 60 Year 2-3s in the talent show, and 60 students will be performed in Sister Act in July 2019. We find working with primary school students a fantastic opportunity to instil a love for the Arts at a younger age.

The faculty introduced 40 student ‘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 and music trips. We work closely with various partnerships including Wigan Music Hub, Creative Leigh, Curious Minds, National Theatre, Turnpike Gallery, Bolton Sixth Form College, St. John Rigby College, Wigan Art Zone and Bolton Octagon. As a small Arts Faculty, building these relationships allows us to widen the range of Arts opportunities we provide e.g. 60 students attended a Warhorse workshop ran by the National Theatre at the Lowry and watched the show after. St. John Rigby College provided music technology taster workshops and the Turnpike Gallery allowed us to work with two artists to design comics. Actors from the National Theatre came into school and performed ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time’ for our KS3 students. Our trip to Paris Disneyland in July 2019 was a magical trip. One of our students commented that we ‘had made her childhood dreams come true’. All wonderful opportunities to allow our young people to gain valuable cultural experiences.

Due to our established reputation for performing quality events Wigan Council have awarded us £20,000 to organise Leigh Arts Festival in 2020. This will provide our students and partners within the community fantastic opportunities for creativity and first-hand involvement in organising and performing a funded Arts Festival for the local community.

We are currently seeing a generation of young people left intellectually poorer and socially isolated by lack of access to Arts across schools in the country, but not at Bedford High School.  We work together to ensure more commitment, focus and action to protect and expand the Arts curriculum. We believe in providing a high quality Arts provision to ensure every child in our care has the opportunity to participate in and gain a respect for the Arts. Please look at our videos on YouTube – Bedford High School, @BedfordArts on Instagram for a further glimpse into our superb faculty.


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 – Mrs S. Stafford

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.

We are pleased to be able to offer these lessons to all students at an extremely reduced cost. We offer two options for lessons depending on your child’s musical experience. If your child is a beginner, we offer a semi-private lesson with another pupil of the same standard to allow students to try out an instrument in the first instance. Our semi-private lessons cost just £4 per session, £24 per half term and we ask that students commit to six weeks to give their lessons a full trial. If they feel after this initial trial period that they wish to swap instruments we can arrange this for the following half term, provided one weeks notice is given.

If your child has previously had lessons that they wish to continue at Bedford, or they are a beginner who is very keen to progress quickly, we recommend a private lesson. These are one-to-one sessions in which students will make much more rapid progress. For a private lesson, we ask for a contribution of £8 per session, £48 per half term. This is still a heavily reduced rate for high quality private teaching. If your child chooses to opt for GCSE Music at KS4, their lessons throughout year 9, 10 and 11 will paid for in full by the school. Students who begin to play an instrument at KS3, have a significant advantage for a GCSE qualification in Music at KS4.

We currently offer lessons in woodwind, strings, piano, drums, brass instruments and vocal coaching. If you are unsure whether we have an instrument on offer, please indicate on the slip which instrument your child is interested in and we will inform you if we cannot facilitate lessons.

Lessons take place during the school day on a rotation. Students will need to check the notice boards in music for their lesson time each week and ensure that they attend at the correct time as lessons cannot be changed on short notice. If a lesson time clashes with a pre-arranged exam or appointment, we can usually re-arrange the time so that your child can still attend that week, provided we have notice of AT LEAST two days. If your child misses their lesson twice in one half term period due to forgetfulness, they will lose their place in the program. As I am sure you can appreciate, our instrumental lessons represent extremely good value for money and are therefore very popular. We issue places on a first come, first served basis and once all lessons are full, we have a waiting list of students eager to participate. If your child consistently misses lessons, we are obliged to give their funding and their place to another pupil on the waiting list. If your child is absent from school, we do not count this as forgetfulness and it will not count against them however, all missed lessons by the pupil will still be charged at the usual rate. If for any reason an instrumental teacher is absent, we will either schedule an extra lesson for your child or if this is not possible, we will refund the cost of the session. If your child wishes to discontinue their lessons, we require six weeks written notice, sent directly to the email address at the bottom of this letter.

To ensure your child gets the most out of participating in our instrumental program, we suggest that they practice on their instrument at least four times for 20mins each week to enhance their progress. If this is not possible at home, we offer numerous opportunities in school for students to come and play or sing as part of a group or make use of our private practice rooms at lunchtimes. We run many extra-curricular clubs for all instrumentalists and singers and we expect all students that participate in our instrumental program to be involved in these activities. There will be many exciting performance opportunities for students throughout the year that give parents and carers the chance to come and see your talented children perform.

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 questions regarding our instrumental program, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Stafford at

Please contact Mrs Madden – Teaching and Learning Leader Expressive Arts Faculty