ISM and ISM Trust music certificates 2017: headline findings
Throughout the UK the value of music is something we all know and experience every day.
But music in our schools is being undermined by the Government’s plans to introduce an even more damaging version of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).
In the face of this threat we need to do everything possible to support music in schools. Even the most committed head teachers are under ever-increasing pressure from central Government to diminish their commitment to music in schools.
A school in Essex has felt under pressure to remove music from the curriculum for Year 7 and 8 is troubling, and is a pattern we are seeing up and down the country
As the professional body for musicians and music educators and a subject association for music education, we campaign 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 – supporting schools
Last year we launched a new scheme that would allow us to recognise the achievement of schools in England in music without creating a burdensome new system of assessment.
This recognition for their work in an award form 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.
What we did
The data we needed was readily available from the Department of Education who also publish GCSE results every year this allowed us to instantly rank schools by how many pupils entered for GCSE music achieved high grades in GCSE music. (A*-C)
This however, doesn’t give us the full picture because there could be more pupils in one school when compared to another, so larger schools would benefit. What we wanted to analyse was the proportion of pupils securing a high grade in GCSE music.
Taking this into account we created a measure which looks at attainment and uptake of GCSE music across a school.
We took 1) the number of pupils getting an A*-C grade in GCSE music (attainment) and divided it by 2) the total number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 (GCSE age, or age 16) (entries) to get some idea of the place of music in a whole school.
When testing the scheme for the first time last year in England, certificates were awarded to a total of 649 schools, 87 gold, 146 silver and 416 bronze.
This year, we were able to extend the programme across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The limits of the research
This data is not 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 do not be publish the full dataset, as it could be misunderstood or misused.
Likewise, we do not want this to become about ranking schools, so we will only publish the list of the top 76 as a celebration of achievement, although we will share the data with individual schools and music services and music education hubs on request.
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, music services and schools access their data? We will share the detailed data with any music education hub, music service or school that requests it.
2017 ISM and ISM Trust Gold Certificates: Schools of colleges where more than 20% of pupils achieved an A*- C in GCSE music
Headline findings in 2017
- 76 schools received a gold certificate, with more than 20% of all pupils securing an A*-C in GCSE music, 129 received a silver certificate (more than 15%), and 424 received a bronze certificate (more than 10%)
- 2,247 schools had no entries at all for GCSE music.
- Of the 76 schools that secured a gold certificate, 49 (64%) were private schools and 11 (14%) were selective (mostly grammar) schools.
- Of the 129 securing a silver certificate, 56 (43%) were independent schools and 25 (19%) were selective (leaving 56 comprehensives).
- Of the 424 securing a bronze certificate, 116 (27%) were independent, 53 (12%) were selective, and 252 (36%) were comprehensive.
- 35% of the 629 schools that received a certificate were independent schools.
- Specialist music schools perhaps unsurprisingly outperformed all other schools, with 100% of pupils securing an A*-C in GCSE music
- Holy Trinity School in Kidderminster was the highest performing comprehensive state school.
- 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.
- In Wales 50 schools in total were awarded certificates. Two schools were awarded gold certificates, 13 schools earned silver certificates with 35 schools awarded bronze certificates.
- In Northern Ireland 37 schools in total were awarded certificates. Two schools were awarded gold certificates, 6 schools were presented with silver certificates with 29 schools awarded bronze certificates.
- All the schools that were presented with either a gold or silver certificates in Northern Ireland were grammar schools.
Comments from schools
A head of music who works in a school in Northern Ireland said:
I received this morning the Silver Certificate in Music 2017 on behalf of Dominican College, Portstewart for which I am most grateful and pleasantly surprised.
A headteacher at a school in Northern Ireland said:
We are absolutely delighted with our award. When we consider the percentage of our pupils who come from areas of social deprivation and who deal with its associated consequences it puts our award on an even higher pedestal. Our music teacher a one woman department and she is a force of nature who accepts all pupils into her GCSE music class regardless of ability.
The award will certainly help us champion music in the school:
We have already been tweeting about the award, we could not wait to get the good news out there.
A secondary school in Wales said:
Thank you for your email, sorry for the delay in responding. We have received and are proudly displaying our Silver Certificate.
A headteacher from a secondary school in England said:
I was thrilled to receive the recognition, as was our Head of Music, despite being a relatively small non-selective school we perform beyond expectation in and out of the classroom. I know the award is as a result of GCSE results but we feel it is symbolic of all the hard work that goes into music and drama in putting on performance and concerts. The confidence and joy that our students get from performing definitely transfers into other aspects of their school performance.
|Local Authority||School name||School Type|
|Manchester||Chetham's School of Music||Independent|
|Surrey||Yehudi Menuhin School||Independent|
|Hounslow||Arts Educational School||Independent|
|Somerset||Wells Cathedral School||Independent|
|West Sussex||The Towers Convent School||Independent|
|Worcestershire||Holy Trinity School||Comprehensive|
|Hertfordshire||Tring Park School for the Performing Arts||Independent|
|Richmond upon Thames||The Royal Ballet School||Independent|
|Cheshire West and Chester||The Hammond||Independent|
|Hertfordshire||St Christopher School||Independent|
|Barnet||The Henrietta Barnett School||Grammar|
|Surrey||Frensham Heights School||Independent|
|Hertfordshire||The King's School||Independent|
|Sefton||St Mary's School||Independent|
|Hampshire||The King's School||Independent|
|Somerset||Bruton School for Girls||Independent|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||West London Free School||Comprehensive|
|Reading||St Joseph's College||Independent|
|Westminster||The Sylvia Young Theatre School||Independent|
|Herefordshire, County of||The Steiner Academy Hereford||Comprehensive|
|Worcestershire||The River School||Independent|
|Liverpool||The Blue Coat School||Grammar|
|County Durham||Durham High School for Girls||Independent|
|Kirklees||Huddersfield Grammar School||Independent|
|Cheshire West and Chester||The Queen's School||Independent|
|Kent||Radnor House Sevenoaks||Independent|
|Bristol, City of||Bristol Cathedral Choir School||Comprehensive|
|Hertfordshire||Abbot's Hill School||Independent|
|Hertfordshire||St Albans High School for Girls||Independent|
|Richmond upon Thames||Waldegrave School||Comprehensive|
|Kent||Beechwood Sacred Heart School||Independent|
|Kingston upon Thames||Tiffin School||Grammar|
|Buckinghamshire||Sir William Borlase's Grammar School||Grammar|
|Warwickshire||Stratford Girls' Grammar School||Grammar|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||Newcastle School for Boys||Independent|
|Hertfordshire||Hitchin Girls' School||Comprehensive|
|Blackburn with Darwen||Westholme School||Independent|
|Cambridgeshire||The Perse School||Independent|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||Marist Senior School||Independent|
|Greenwich||Blackheath High School||Independent|
|Oxfordshire||Oxford High School GDST||Independent|
|Southend-on-Sea||Westcliff High School for Girls||Grammar|
|Ealing||St Benedict's School||Independent|
|Bath and North East Somerset||Royal High School GDST||Independent|
|Croydon||Coloma Convent Girls' School||Comprehensive|
|Bristol, City of||The Red Maids' School||Independent|
|Kent||Highworth Grammar School||Grammar|
|Peterborough||The King's (The Cathedral) School||Comprehensive|
|Hertfordshire||Dame Alice Owen's School||Comprehensive|
|Surrey||Prior's Field School||Independent|
|Croydon||Old Palace of John Whitgift School||Independent|
|Wolverhampton||Wolverhampton Grammar School||Independent|
|Nottingham||Nottingham High School||Independent|
|Gloucestershire||Sir Thomas Rich's School||Grammar|
|Southwark||Kingsdale Foundation School||Comprehensive|
|Warwickshire||Alcester Grammar School||Grammar|
|Birmingham||The Arthur Terry School||Comprehensive|
|Kent||Simon Langton Girls' Grammar School||Grammar|
|Wigan||Hindley High School||Comprehensive|
|North Yorkshire||St Augustine's Roman Catholic School, Scarborough||Comprehensive|
|Westminster||Francis Holland School||Independent|
|Bath and North East Somerset||Kingswood School||Independent|
|Reading||Queen Anne's School||Independent|
|Cornwall||Sir James Smith's Community School||Comprehensive|
|Kent||Dartford Grammar School for Girls||Grammar|
|Leicestershire||Dixie Grammar School||Independent|