A thriving academic programme exists to complement the department’s practical music-making.

The Music department offers GCSE and A Level Music and has a reputation for excellent results. Edexcel is the chosen examination board.


GCSE:               100% A* – C

90%   A/A*/7-9      (average over the past 5 years)


A Level:           100 A* – C

94% A* – B              (average over the past 5 years)

GCSE and A Level Music

  • GCSE and A Level Music are broken down into three components:
    • Performing (30%)
    • Composing (30%)
    • Appraising (40%)
  • Both GCSE and A Level aim to develop an understanding and appreciation of music through the three disciplines outlined above
  • Music provides exceptional opportunities to study our own cultural heritage, as well as those of others across the world
  • The Performing component of the examination enables pupils to gain academic credit for existing practical skills
  • Creativity, performance and academic rigour combine to produce a syllabus that is varied, challenging and satisfying

Fast track Music A Level

An opportunity exists for academically able and musically talented pupils to take Music A Level in the Enrichment block on a very much reduced timetable. (All four of the 2018 candidates on this track obtained A*/A grades.)


Many pupils go on to study Music at University, recent destinations being Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Southampton, Leeds, Birmingham, Royal Holloway and King’s College, London.

The department is proud of its Oxbridge success, with four former pupils currently studying Music at Oxford and Cambridge and/or holding Organ and Choral Scholarships. Last year, Dean Close boasted two ODs (Salim Jaffar and Stephen Whitford) singing in the Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast on the BBC from King’s College, Cambridge. In the same year Jason Richards, OD, played the organ during the Royal Wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.


Pupils regularly study at Music College after leaving Dean Close.  There are currently two former Music Scholars (Laurence Kilsby and Brenna Tin, studying voice and piano) at The Royal College of Music and The Royal Academy of Music respectively.

Former pupils frequently undertake Postgraduate studies at Music College after University.

Music Technology

Although the department does not offer Music Technology as a subject choice at GCSE or A Level, it is offered as an extra-curricular activity or as individual lessons. Two former pupils are currently studying Music Technology at University and Birmingham Conservatoire.

Grade 5 theory:

Classes are available to all pupils at Dean Close, with lessons taking place outside the academic curriculum. Generally, pupils start the course in September and sit the examination in the Lent Term.