The King's (The Cathedral) School

  • Welcome to our school

    Welcome to The King’s School. We are proud of our long-standing history and tradition going back to 1541 and embrace everything the modern world has to offer, as we look towards the future. We value, and strive to encourage, individual academic success, alongside musical, cultural and sporting achievements, within the Christian family ethos, which is central to everything we do. Our aim is to be “A Family Achieving Excellence”.  Read More

  • Music at King's

    We enjoy a deserved reputation for musical excellence.  As The Cathedral School, we educate the Peterborough Cathedral Choristers; the School benefits not only from their professionalism but also from the talents and enthusiasm of so many other able musicians, who perform in an extensive range of orchestras, choirs, bands and ensembles  in school, in the wider community of  Peterborough and on tour abroad.  Read More

  • Sport at King's

    We are committed to breadth and quality within Physical Education; it helps develop self-esteem, dignity and respect for all members of our community.  It is crucial to students’ personal development, and plays a significant role in our curricular and extra-curricular life. Read More

  • Teaching & Learning

    Central to every student's progress is the quality of Teaching & Learning. We aim to offer excellence both in the classroom and within a King’s education in its broadest sense, combining the best of modern thinking and technological developments with strategies which have stood the test of time, to prepare our young people to go out with confidence and enthusiasm to face the challenges of today’s world. Read More



 Music is central to the life of The King’s (The Cathedral) School. As the Cathedral School, King’s educates the Cathedral Choristers, but there are many more practising musicians of considerable ability at the School. This results in a wide range of extracurricular music groups which perform to a high standard throughout the school year both in Peterborough and in the wider community.

"Teens think listening to music helps them concentrate. It doesn't. It relieves them of the boredom that concentration on homework induces."

Marilyn vos Savant

Music is prepared for the official occasions of the school year, Cathedral Services and concerts and for the tours which take place to other parts of Europe every two years. In the past musicians from the school have performed in Rome (St Peter’s Basilica), Venice (St Mark’s Basilica), Siena, Prague, Budapest, Weimar, Cologne, Ypres, Vienna, Catalonia, and some 64 students toured Venice and the surrounding area in July 2010.

The Music Department is located in the former Boarding House of the School, situated at Madeley House, a two minute walk from the main school and adjoining the Junior Department. Facilities include:

  • M1 - A large teaching and rehearsal room
  • M2 - A teaching and rehearsal room
  • M3 - A music computer room (with 12 PCs)
  • M4 - 10 Practice Rooms
  • Percussion/Keyboard/Music Store
  • Orchestral Instrument Store
  • Music Library and Sixth Form Study Area
  • Tutor Group Base and Practice Room

All teaching and practice rooms have a piano and M1 and M2 have sound systems. Portable sound equipment is also available. In the main school building the School Hall also has a piano and a sound system.

The Music Curriculum

Key Stages 2 & 3

Music is taught as a curriculum subject to all students in Years 3-9. There is an emphasis in practical music-making and we believe that the experience at The King’s School certainly refutes the claim in the recent Ofsted Music Subject Report (Music in schools; wider still, and wider. March 2012) that “there is not enough music in music lessons”. Performing, composing, listening and appraising and working with fellow students are at the heart of the Music curriculum. In Key Stage 2 students are introduced to the main Elements of Music, exploring how they combine to produce music with different effects and purposes in mind. This is then continued at the start of Key Stage 3 but focussing on specific techniques of composition, styles and genres:

Year 7:  Music for Occasions; Minimalism; Gamelan; Medieval Music; Impressionism.

Year 8: Structures in Music (binary, ternary, rondo, variations, ground bass); Blues; Music for Film and TV; Music for Dance; 20th Century styles and techniques.

Year 9: Popular Music in Context: Blues Song; Jazz; Swing, Rock and Roll; 1960s Culture; today’s music.

Key Stage 4

In Years 10 and 11 students follow the Edexcel Music GCSE specification. The course consists of the three main areas of Performing, Composing and Listening/Appraising and all are influences by four Areas of Study.

Unit 1: Performing (30%): students prepare, perform and record two performances, one solo and one in a group. No specific ABRSM/Trinity exam grades are necessary.

Unit 2: Composing (30%): students compose, as individuals, two compositions using styles and techniques of their choice. Much of this work is prepared using the computer facilities of the Department, particularly the Sibelius notation program.

Unit 3: Listening and Appraising (40%): students study twelve specific pieces of music from the four Areas of Study (Western Classical Music 1600-1899, Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Music, Popular Music in Context, World Music). They listen to the music and analyse scores recognising the essential features of the music and placing the music in its context.

Key Stage 5

In Years 12 and 13 students follow the Edexcel AS and A level course. This leads on well from the GCSE course as students again perform, compose and analyse music. There are six units in the specification:

AS Units:

Unit 1: Performing (15%): students prepare a performance which will last between 5 and 6 minutes of music of their own choice.

Unit 2: Composing (15%): students compose one pieces lasting at least 3 minutes on a topic set by the exam board.

Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding (20%): Students study and listen to selected music from 1500 to 1980 contained in two Areas of Study: Vocal Music and Instrumental Music. They identify compositional features and learn aspects of social and historical context. This Unit is assessed by examination.

A2 Units:

Unit 4: Extended Performance (15%) Students perform as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble. The programme of music must last between 12 and 15 minutes. This is to be performed as a “Recital”. The Standard level of difficulty of the music is Grade 6. Credit is given for music of a higher technical standard.

Unit 5 Composition and Technical Study (15%)

Students have an element of choice in this unit: they can choose to specialise in Composing or the working of Technical Studies or do a mixture of both. Two pieces of work have to be submitted. Either: Two Compositions or one Composition and one Technical Study or two Technical Studies.

Unit 6 Further Musical Understanding (20%) (examined) In this unit students continue to analyse and listen to music contained in two Areas of Study (Instrumental Music and Applied Music) considering context and continuity and change.

1. Aural Analysis: The recognition of style and genre, comparisons of similar pieces of music, and the recognition of chords, keys and cadences.

2. Music in Context –relating to music studied during the course

3. Continuity and Change: Questions focus on musical features which demonstrate the development of music over time and relate to music studied during the course.

Music Department Staff

Dr Martin Ratcliffe (MLR): Director of Music
Mr Gareth Jenkins (GJJ): Assistant Director of Music & PDM (Year 8)
Mrs Anja Smith (AKS): Teacher of KS2/3 Music

Instrumental Teachers

  • Mr J Bamforth (Electric/Bass Guitar)
  • Mrs L Blanchford (Flute/Bassoon)
  • Mrs M Brathwaite (Singing)
  • Mr M Bright (Percussion)
  • Mrs B Caldecote (Singing)
  • Ms A Chalmers (Cello)
  • Miss J Emmanuel (Singing)
  • Mrs S Gladstone (Violin/Viola)
  • Mrs F Henderson (Flute/Clarinet)
  • Mr J Nessfield (Brass)
  • Mr L Slack (Saxophone)
  • Mr C Torr (Piano)
  • Mrs J Turner (Clarinet)
  • Mr A Turner (Brass)