The high standard of music education at Caterham is widely acknowledged throughout the London Borough of Redbridge. Music is taught as a compulsory subject to classes of thirty students in years 7 and 8 and classes of twenty-three in year 9. The music department has a good record of examination passes at both GCSE and A level.
12% of Caterham students receive lessons on a musical instrument from the team of ten peripatetic teachers who visit the school. Music-making at Caterham is not confined to those students learning a musical instrument, however. The strong emphasis in the classroom is on ‘hands-on’ learning and the three musical elements – listening, composing and performing are taught in such a way as to involve the students in as many practical activities as possible within the framework of the national curriculum.
The music suite comprises two classrooms (one, with tiered seating, doubling as a recital room, the other a fully fledged ICT suite), four practice rooms, a computer room and a drum room. The department contains a good level of equipment including its own copy of ‘Grove.’
The school boasts a thriving concert band and string orchestra in addition to an SATB choir of over eighty voices. The choir is much sought-after in the local community and has appeared as guests of the Fullwell Band, Ilford Choral Society and the East London Chorus. The choir appears regularly at charity concerts at the temple in the Grand Metropolitan Lodge, Covent Garden and, in 2006 and 2007, was one of only two secondary school choirs to be invited to sing in ‘Christmas Carols with the Stars’ at the Royal Albert Hall.
Students at Caterham are encouraged to experience music as a unique form of knowledge, as a universal language and, above all, as a potent vehicle for self-expression.