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GCSE, COVID Changes and Instrumental Teaching

GCSE, COVID Changes and Instrumental Teaching

Dear All,

I hope everyone has managed to have some time relaxing over the summer break. I know things have been quite different this year with us all having to keep an eye on how things are changing and moving forward with the school start in September.

I hope you have had time to celebrate GCSE, RSL and NCFE/BTEC results with your students too. It certainly has been an anxious time yourselves, parents and students and not helped by reports nationally of changes to OFQUAL procedures. The important outcome though is that students have not been disadvantaged and hopefully this has been the case with your own GCSE classes.

With all of this in mind I thought I would write a post relating to GCSEs and COVID changes.

It may well that you have seen the details through other communications that you have but I thought it would be good to share with everyone.

GCSE Music - National Results 2020

As you can see, and may well have expected, Music GCSE results for Grade 7 (and above) and Grade 4 (and above) have risen. The number of entries are slightly down. This is definitely a significant rise (14% Grade 7 and above and 10% Grade 4 and above).

The number of entries is slightly down (60 in all).

I will endeavour to find information regarding RSL and NCFE/BTEC results too. If colleagues have information here please do drop me a line so I can share (

GCSE Consultation

Everyone who is teaching GCSE will have probably seen the decision regarding the OFQUAL Consultation. I have copied the link to the document below. Definitely positive in terms of the new Year 11s concentrating now on only needing to submit a solo (or solos adding up to the time of 1.5 mins). If both solo and ensemble are submitted this only needs to be 2mins combined duration. For composition students are only required to submit one (2 min duration minimum). This can be the ‘free’ composition.

COVID Changes - Extra-Curricular

I have copied some further guidance related to after school activities. Again we await further information about music and music teaching and hope that this come through soon.

"Additional social distancing mitigations were previously required for singing, wind and brass given concerns that these were potentially higher risk activities when droplet transmission was considered. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport commissioned further scientific studies to be carried out to develop the scientific evidence on these activities, which has allowed us to reconsider appropriate mitigations.

Children and young people can now engage in singing, wind and brass in line with the protective measures outlined in this guidance and paying strict attention to the working safely in performing arts guidance to mitigate any cumulative risks of aerosol transmission. Although singing and playing wind and brass instruments do not present a higher risk than speaking for example, studies have indicated that there may be a cumulative risk that can build in particular contexts. As such with appropriate safety considerations, singing, wind and brass teaching can take place."

It feels things are moving forward and again there are some easing of restrictions. Performances in front of audiences is also mentioned, obviously with reduced participants and audience members due to social distancing. I hope we can all get back to ensemble provision and concert soon.

Hampshire Music Service Teaching

As you will have seen from the correspondence that Jill Larner sent out at the end of term, our plan is definitely to be back in schools. Our teachers are really keen to get back to face to face teaching working with both students who haver engaged in online lessons and students who have been unable to take this offer up.

We have a comprehensive risk assessment for HMS teaching in schools and are keen to make sure we match this with your individual needs.

We have further professional development at the start of September and will be fully equipping our teachers with sterilising wipes and hand sanitiser to keep students, staff and themselves as safe as possible.

HMS teaching for September will start on 14 September so that schools have time to get their routines established. Our teachers will use the week before as PPA to contact their schools re. agreeing things like bubbles, accommodation, instruments, changes to routines etc.

As I mentioned earlier, our teachers are really keen to get back to face to face teaching and, like yourselves, know the positive impact that music has on young peoples lives and wellbeing.

Your support for music education, as always, is amazing. As Jill said, we have been so pleased to be asked to provide 87% of the teaching we provided last year and expect this to grow further as we get new starters on board during the term.

Please do get in touch if there is anything you wish to discuss related to the start off term and instrumental teaching.

Best wishes,


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