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Achieving Grades 8 – 9 in OCR GCSE Music

Course Code:


This course is focused on meeting the demands of the higher-level marking bands across all three of the specification components. It will examine the characteristics of work produced by students working at the highest levels and examine a range of teaching materials designed to secure the best possible outcomes. The course will cover what is expected of high ability students and outline ways in order to successfully build on your own teaching practice and embed new methods of working. The course is aimed for all teachers of OCR GCSE Music with high achieving, GCSE students of Music Heads of Music Department in their groups, and Senior leaders with responsibility for the Arts


  • Gain an informed understanding of what is required to achieve grades 8-9
  • Explore ideas and approaches that enable students to reach the highest grades possible in both the practical and written elements
  • Understand the assessment demands of the OCR GCSE Music specification
  • Find out more about where marks are gained and lost
  • Develop practical strategies for meeting the requirements of  the higher bands across all components
  • Increase confidence in preparing candidates to achieve Grades 8-9


Focus on assessment demands for Grades 8-9, including feedback

10.00 – 10.45am
  • Key messages from the 2023 examination series – what students need to do to ensure that they achieve the highest grades in 2024
  • Examine the assessment demands of all components including the use of assessment objectives as a framework for assessment
  •  Review characteristics of Grade 8-9 GCSE students in the OCR GCSE

Morning break

10.45 – 11.00am

Achieving Well in Composition

11.00 – 12.00pm
  • Techniques and approaches to making a composition outstanding
  • Considering what is excellent, what is good, and what could be improved
  • Creative and innovative teaching strategies to help students improve their compositions from good to outstanding
  • The refinement process – top tips to refine and fine tune compositions to reach to excellence
  • Analysing top grade compositions – what are the characteristics of top grade compositions and which teaching approaches work best?
  • Review example Component 1 and Component 2 Grades 7-9: what top level students do

Achieving Well in Performance

12.00 – 12.30pm
  • What is a Grades 8 – 9 excellent performance?
  • Teaching techniques that challenge and push the most able
  • What the best Component 1 performances looked like in 2023 and getting your students to stand out in 2024
  • Performances that get results, and why


12.30 – 1.30pm

Establishing The Wider or ‘Super-Curriculum’ into your Curriculum Programming & Structure

1.30 – 2.30pm
  • Explore the standard and depth of knowledge, understanding and skills students need to acquire to access the top grades in examination
  • Professional learning – supporting students to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills appropriately in exam questions
  •  Considering the questions – Develop strategies to help weaker students gain marks
  • How to get students to think like musicians – how to take pieces apart, ways to develop analytical skills in students to respond well to exam questions
  • The Unfamiliar listening questions – teaching approaches to help students what to listen for, how to listen, and how to apply their knowledge and understanding and skills appropriately
  • Skeleton score questions and how to write practice questions

Afternoon Break

2.30– 2.40pm

The Essay Questions: the key challenges for Grade 8 – 9 students

2.40- 3.30pm
  •  Measuring the effectiveness of your enriched curriculum on academic standards and other achievements
  • Using assessment data to identify key areas strengths and weaknesses to foster responsive curriculum planning
  • Maintaining rigorous assessment procedures to promote rapid progress
  • Incorporating effective feedback techniques into your curriculum teaching and learning cycle
  • Implementing high quality learning and study skills and habits into your curriculum


London | Tuesday 05 December 2023
London | Tuesday 27 February 2024

Please select your preferred date

London | Tuesday 05 December 2023
London | Tuesday 27 February 2024

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Jane Werry has been teaching for 30 years, and since 1999 has been Director of Music at Hayes School in Bromley. She is co-author of the award-winning Being a Head of Music: A Survival Guide, and is a frequent contributor to Music Teacher Magazine’s online resources. Jane is also a Specialist Leader in Education and a Musical Futures Champion Teacher. She has been a senior moderator for A-Level harmony and composition, and an examiner for the GCSE listening paper.


  • OCR GCSE Music Teachers
  • Teachers of GCSE Music looking to swop exam boards
  • Heads of Music
  • Senior Leaders with responsibility for the Arts


  • A Specially prepared notes, practical advice and guidance by the course leader
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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