New spec new start-OCR

A guest blog by Jennifer Rotchell, Head of Music at Monk’s Walk School in Herts, UK.

Monk’s Walk embeds Musical Futures into the whole of KS3 and with our work in our feeder primary schools through our Community Music initiative. This has influenced the choice of exam board for the new GCSE and A Level specs in England as take up is high and students with a wide range of musical experiences and abilities opt to take the subject at KS4. 

We have chosen to move to OCR for both the new GCSE and A-Level. The courses are inclusive for our broad range of student’s and their various musical disciplines and we are excited for the breadth of study for the examination units that is not limited entirely to specific pieces. We think that OCR is the ‘musical’ option. We also feel that the pathways between the GCSE and A Level transition nicely, and gives students an opportunity to take music further at university. Students have a varied choice as to the style of music the study in further depth, and the pathways in which they would like to develop their musical creativity, including options for the use of music technology throughout.


Have learnt so much today, will revolutionise my teaching. Super, uplifting, motivational, inspirational.

Angela Lesslie, Peripatetic Instrumental Teacher

Excellent workshops – extremely accessible for all abilities and levels.

Claire Armour, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

The children I am working with are responding to positively. They are very keen to learn new music and don’t not feel threatened to play. They enjoy the ‘have a go’ and ‘just play’ strategy.

Mhairi Easton, Southesk primary School