Ofsted and National Guidance

Ofsted’s expectation is that:

Schools and academies have clear, well-sequenced plans for the music curriculum that at least match the ambition set out in the National Curriculum (and for the Early Years, Key Stage 4 and the sixth form, where appropriate).

These plans are delivered with sufficient time and resources, and good teaching, with teachers supported well through quality CPD.

This all has good impact as seen by secure and incremental learning of the technical, constructive and expressive knowledge that pupils need for their future participation in and enjoyment of music.

In England, Music Education policy and strategy is detailed in several areas all with a different priority and focus for schools and their pupils.

The latest guidance and documents for further reading can be found below:

National curriculum in England: music programmes of study – GOV.UK

These are the statutory programmes of study and attainment targets for music at key stages 1 to 3. They are issued by law and schools must follow them unless there’s a good reason not to.  All local authority maintained schools should teach them.

The National Plan for Music Education


The vision is to enable all children and young people to learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together, and have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally.

Model Music Curriculum

A non-statutory resource that provides a practical framework through which the statutory requirements of the national curriculum can be met. 

Ofsted’s Research Review Series, Music

In England, all pupils should study music until the end of key stage 3. The requirement for maintained schools and academies to offer a broad and balanced curriculum is set out in the Education Act 2002 (for maintained schools) and the Academies Act 2010. This expectation is reflected in the national curriculum and is at the heart of the education inspection framework.

In this report, Ofsted have:

  • outlined the national context in relation to music
  • summarised the review of research into factors that can affect the quality of music education
  • considered curriculum progression, pedagogy, assessment, and the impact of school leaders’ decisions on provision

Singing Strategy