Head of Music: Mrs C Ryan (MA, BMus(Hons), PGCE, IM Cert)

  • Staff
  • Music at SA
    • KS3
    • KS4
    • KS5
  • Extra-curricular Provision
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Mrs Ryan has been Head of Music at Strabane Academy since its opening in 2012, previously Head of Music at Strabane High School from 2003. Mrs Ryan’s qualifications include an MA in Music from Queen’s University, Belfast, a BMus(Hons) degree (2:1 classification) and PGCE from Ulster University and various qualifications in Business and Management from the Premier Graduate Management Programme. Mrs Ryan is an experienced choral and orchestral conductor with a background in choral and orchestral performance. Also an experienced choreographer, she has choreographed the modern opera Ulysses composed by Laurence Roman which received its premier in London in 2008.

Music at Strabane Academy


The key stage 3 curriculum has been designed by C Ryan to offer a balanced and varied curriculum catered to meet all learning abilities within the school. The KS3 schemes of work are tailored to prepare pupils for further study of music at GCSE level while affording all pupils to develop skills in listening, composing and performing. The music department recognises the advantage of learning through music in order to build skills essential for life-long learning. The units of work have been created in a structured and progressive manner to enable all pupils to achieve their true potential. A variety of teaching tools and methods are employed to suit the range of learning needs within each streamlined class and Assessment for Learning plays an integral part in the planning of individual lessons within each unit. The Music Department also recognises the importance of affording gifted and talented pupils the opportunity to explore their talents at advanced level and this is done, not only through projects and performances in school, but through collaboration with Ulster Orchestra and University programmes offered to young people. Formal Assessment in Music is undertaken during the Christmas and Summer internal examination periods as well as at the end of each unit.


GCSE music (CCEA) is delivered by C Ryan and boasts a 100% A*-C pass rate, with annual results maintaining an average above the NI average. The GCSE in music is offered to pupils across all academic and vocational pathways therefore, the units have been created to meet individual needs to ensure each pupil can achieve their best. Statistical analysis of results shows that pupils in music are achieving 1-2 grades above their CAT predicted grades.



A Level Music (CCEA) is delivered in collaboration with Holy Cross College, Strabane. Pupils from both schools merge to form one class and the 2-year A Level course is delivered by one school. This is rotated yearly to ensure pupils have consistency in their provision. In recent years 50% of pupils studying music at A Level have chosen careers in music. Pupils have gone on to study music at Ulster University, Queens University and various universities in England and Scotland.

Peripatetic Staff

Peripatetic staff prepares pupils for music medals, grade exams and diplomas with weekly lessons rotated throughout the academic year.

Current Peripatetic Staff:

Chris Wright (Woodwind and Brass)

Maureen McGranaghan (Upper Strings)

Naoimh Simpson (Cello)

Ronan McKee (Percussion)

Marcella Wright (Voice)


2016/2017 Successes include:


Hannagh Darragh (Yr 11) Grade 6 Flute Merit

Emma Barnett (Yr 9) Grade 4 Clarinet Pass

Lee Smyth (Yr 9) Grade 3 Clarinet Pass

Brian Browne (Yr 8) Copper Music Medal Flute


Rhiannon Darragh (Yr 10) Grade 6 Violin

Jessica Linton Grade 6 Viola

Dylan Hampton Platinum Music Medal Violin

Erin Smith Platinum Music Medal Violin

Joanna McCombe Platinum Music Medal Violin

John Mehaffey Grade 7 Cello Merit

Sophie McCann Grade 5 Cello Pass



Edwina McAuley (Yr 13) Grade 7 Distinction

Rachel Mayne (Yr 13) Grade 7 Merit

Shannen Duffy (yr 13) Grade 6 Merit

Lauren Crawford (Yr 12) Grade 6 Merit

Lauren Kee (Yr 12) Grade 6 Merit

Roisin Moore (Yr 10) Grade 5 Music Theatre Merit

Amy Walker (Yr 10) Grade 5 Music Theatre Merit

Natalie Schmid (Yr 9) Level 4 Pop Distinction

Extra-Curricular Provision in Music

Strabane Academy has an active and vibrant extra-curricular programme wit a school choir, school orchestra and range of ensembles rehearsing on a weekly basis under the direction of Mrs Ryan.

Each year the choir, orchestra and ensembles perform at annual school events including Prize Distribution Ceremonies (junior and senior), Open Day and Carol Service. We also enjoy our community work including festive performances at residential and care homes in Strabane and charity singing, this year for Save the Children, at Foyleside Shopping Centre in Derry.

The music department is regularly invited to perform at local churches in the community as part of their Easter and Christmas celebrations including Strabane Presbyterian Church, Strabane Church of Ireland, Bready Church of Ireland, Donemana Church of Ireland and Sacred Heart Church in Strabane. Other performing venues include St. Patrick’s Hall and Alley Theatre in Strabane, the Waterside Theatre in Derry and a collaborative carol service with Ulster University.