LEA Awards 2004 title

(Supported by the Department for Education and Skills)



Barking & Dagenham are a small LEA serving an area, much of which is socially and economically disadvantaged. Yet such is the Authority’s awareness of the value of music education that they grant-aid staffing, instrumental and a range of other Community Music Service costs to the tune of £430k. That level of commitment is rewarded in several ways: for example, support for curriculum delivery that includes a new and rigorous internal instrumental examination providing opportunities to assess the level of understanding of basic musical concepts and skills in applying them, a useful antidote to rote learning; and INSET and CPD (including work with various external professional musicians) of a high order. A good range of instrumental lessons and ensemble playing opportunities is provided; the latter would benefit from a more generous time allocation, but it is all free! Black History month coincided with the Borough’s first Cultural Diversity Festival. We refer to this, not simply for its inclusivity implications, but because the range of world music residencies organised (taking in Ghanaian drumming, Bollywood brass and gospel) were good for the sake of the music.

For the avoidance of doubt, we confirm that such is the high quality of Caerphilly’s submission, it would have deserved a Diploma what ever the home country! The Music & Arts Service received a glowing report from the Audit Commission for Wales. Over 11 per cent of the total school population received instrumental and 16 per cent regular vocal tuition. Every school in the County Borough uses the Service. Partnerships with Welsh National Opera, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the Welsh Sinfonia, the Traditional Music Development Agency for Wales and FE colleges bore many fruits as did joint working with neighbouring LEAs for an exemplary range of INSET programmes. There are numerous other examples of successful joint working. A big investment in new instruments (350 plus) included many “endangered species”; and an extensive musical instrument repair and service programme was completed. We hope the Service will be able to cope with the threatened 35 per cent reduction in the Wales Music Development Fund grant.

It is a testimony to the high quality of the Music Service staff of Cornwall that they should be involved in the delivery of INSET to six other LEAs. And we were impressed by the Service’s own performance management model of INSET under which all teachers including part-timers participate in annual classroom observation and appraisal. By such means individual, team and whole service training needs are identified and then met by a comprehensive staff development programme. Within six months, the appointment of a full-time music therapist had had a beneficial effect on all the young people seen. A growing number of pupils with special educational needs receive regular individual weekly instrumental tuition. Carefully structured, free, demonstrations on all instruments to 133 schools, backed up by meetings with interested parents were undertaken. Six primary project co-ordinators, three of whom are advanced skills teachers, devote 20 per cent of their time to free curriculum support, after which music invariably achieves a higher profile in the school. There can’t be many young people in England with as many opportunities to play and record R&B, heavy metal, funk, pop and so on as has become the norm in Cornwall’s Youth Service. A Music & Dance Education project offered a range of opportunities in music, movement and art for pre-school children and staff, parents, grandparents, siblings, playgroup leaders, childminders and foundation stage teachers through 200 weekly outreach workshops in 26 settings involving over 500 children aged 0-7 and over 90 adults. And the Service maintained its high level of support for adult music-making.

Enfield provided an impressively wide range of after-school activities on a weekly basis. Most are designed to fit achievement levels; for example, woodwind and percussion ensembles for pupils who have had two terms’ tuition to grade 2; beginner strings to grade 1; jazz club for grades 1-4 and jazz band for grade 5 and beyond; guitar ensembles for grades 1-3 and 3 plus and so on. The Service has embarked upon a two-year Youth Music funded strategic action project involving two primary, one special and one secondary schools with the aim of tracking the musical development of a group of 25 year six pupils from each of the primary schools and a class of year six from the special school. At the outset, meetings with parents and staff and follow-up workshops in the primary schools were held; and all staff attended CPD sessions during each term. The work with the pupils involved warm-up activities and improvisation using voices and a variety of percussion instruments. All pupils are encouraged to record their work either on CD or through written work and interview with the musician leaders. The leaders then build up a picture of how each pupil is developing musically. Those pupils continue to work with the musicians out of school during their first term in secondary school; and by tracking them from year 6 to year 7 and incorporating the work into the classroom their musical transition from primary to secondary school should be helpfully facilitated. Those pupils will also then form the core of a new after-school Borough music ensemble. Opportunities to experience a wide range of world musics were taken up by schools each term with wholly positive feedback from pupils and staff. A feature of this submission is the extent of the successful collaboration with other North London music services, local and national music and arts organisations. And there is a thriving adult music-making scene!

Manchester who received the Major Award in 1981 have returned to the fold with a bang! We have read of many fine singing initiatives; Manchester’s “Singing School” is one of the best. The idea is to develop singing in every classroom, not only as an enjoyable activity, but also as a tool for learning. It includes original and traditional fun songs and chants and additional material for singing at particular times of the day for literacy, numeracy, PSHE, “brain breaks” and celebration. School staffs have received INSET and the overall effects will be evaluated in three years when the current year 3 children have progressed through four years of participation in the initiative. Manchester’s was one of the Services whose good practice was drawn upon by QCA in the creation of seven new units in the Key Stage 2 music scheme of work. Indeed, this submission included several first-rate activities designed to support curriculum delivery. We were struck especially by the fact that over 95 per cent of primary schools have adopted a detailed programme of work with in-built progression from nursery to year 6 with the result that teachers and pupils moving schools within the City retain their familiarity with the programme. Music technology and ICT developments and provision for adults are outstanding. Furthermore, 13 per cent of the school population received regular weekly tuition and all schools receive some form of regular support/tuition through the Service’s “Support to Schools” programme.

North Ayrshire have introduced a music technology programme for pupils and students with special needs and established a music service resource base with computers wholly dedicated to music programmes. The Authority have also set up an ICT learning hub catering principally for the teen constituency but accessible also by local primary and secondary schools. A primary school music development initiative has recruited over 1100 pupils to recorder playing and 490 pupils to take singing courses. Three schools big bands, a brass band and a schools symphony orchestra have recently been formed. All the secondary schools have regular weekly, weekend and evening (as well as holiday courses) for bands, string groups, choirs and rock groups. All music lessons and equipment use is free of charge. There is also a multi-media arts project incorporating tuition in music operating after school and during school holidays. Sixty per cent of the Music Service budget is met by the Authority. This very small Education Authority have also forged fruitful links with schools and music organisations in Spain and Sweden and toured music groups in Belgium, Holland and Sweden.

Southampton usefully outline their strategy for music education in the City. Thus since their (re-) inception as an LEA in 1997 they have steadily created an effective organisation by making key staffing appointments, securing the funding streams and investing in the resources. The challenge now is to try to ensure long-term sustainability whilst continuing to develop the service. An already praiseworthy record of special needs provision has been further expanded with specialist curriculum provision, keyboard training, drumming and music therapy. Pre-school music targeted at the most disadvantaged areas of the City has continued to flourish. 300 junior school pupils are receiving a year’s specialist instrumental provision as part of the Wider Opportunities Programme. A series of music audits to identify weak provision have been introduced. All instrumental tutors have their own learning budgets, ie a sum of money made available to them to deploy on their own learning; this forms part of their annual performance review. Rewarding collaborations continue with neighbouring LEAs, Art Asia, the Grand Union Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Year on year additions to the stock of instruments provided (including some “endangered species”) for school pupils to play, and effective maintenance, means that 96 per cent of them are actually in use. And there is no shortage of ensemble playing opportunities in a good mix of genres.

Over half the families in Southwark come from African or African-Caribbean cultures. This is reflected in the strength of gospel singing, steel pan playing, African drumming and Brazilian percussion among schools weekly ensemble groups. At the same time, there are recorded increases in the numbers of pupils and students playing cello, clarinet, flute, piano, trombone, trumpet and violin. The Borough’s socio-economic disadvantages are in some measure compensated for by the accessibility of major arts resources. Thus eleven schools have been involved in work with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; five schools working with English National Opera; Drumhead (African Drumming) working regularly with six schools and one Saturday centre and running performances and workshops; Children’s Music Workshop at Tate Modern; CM (formerly Community Music) co-ordinating a music technology project in four schools; Music Space (music therapy) running therapy sessions in special schools; Horniman Museum working with schools and facilitating world music workshops and New Peckham Varieties Musical Theatre involved in after-school clubs and workshops. And at least two schools have strong links with Southwark Cathedral. Youth Service music provision for young people between 11-25 years of age has been operating successfully for over 11 years. The workshops comprise a comprehensive programme in popular music. Some of the workshops have been delivered in partnership with schools, pupil referral units, FE colleges and other youth agencies. The tutors are established practitioners in the music industry. Live performance opportunities throughout have been taken up. The Service acknowledges that it has more work to do on music technology and ICT.

The key purpose of the West Sussex Music Support Service is to provide instrumental, vocal and ensemble experience for pupils and students and curriculum support for teachers in schools and colleges. The Development Plan, which we have seen, represents the framework within which the objectives to realise those aims can be achieved. An important contribution to quality assurance has been the development of a more coherent and cohesive induction programme for the new staff. Thus new staff will receive greater guidance, training and support in the initial stages of teaching for the Service. Here is just a small selection of the highspots of this submission: there is a fully-fledged pyramid of brass bands and ensembles at one of the music centres ranging through all the stages from beginners to advanced players. The audit of primary school provision has resulted in 98 per cent of schools taking up the offer of instrumental teaching. A choral and curriculum co-ordinator post has been created and has already led to a Youth Music award of £20k to develop eight new primary choirs across the LEA; but the principal tasks are auditing existing provision in all schools and supporting curriculum development in primary schools through INSET and lesson modelling.

Music technology and ICT are effectively embedded in the Music Service. Eight rural schools worked with Children’s Music Opera and Glyndebourne Touring Opera on a creative project based on Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro”. And in rural, predominantly white West Sussex “Roots around the World” – a partnership between the LEA, district councils and “Roots” themselves, with ACE support – brings high quality world music practitioners into schools in and out of school hours; this partnership plays an important role in promoting understanding of other cultures. The adult education service provides a full and varied course menu in different venues across the LEA and young people are well served by the Youth Service and another successful partnership – the Gravity Project. This partnership is between the County Arts Office, the Youth Service and several district councils. It is an inter-active arts initiative offering opportunities for young people to come together, gain new creative, technical and transferable skills in dance, DJing and music production.

Wigan. Such a modest Music Service; tucked away in this submission is a line which reads “Youth Jazz Orchestra, New York (January 2004)” In fact the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra was representing the best of British Youth Jazz Orchestras before 6,000 delegates at the International Association for Jazz Education annual conference in Manhattan, New York City! That said, Wigan’s eggs flourish in lots of baskets. Samba, African drumming and song, music technology and ICT, DJ skills are on offer to schools throughout the year; new after-school choirs have been set up; a new junior rock band brings the total to five; Indonesian gamelan is in residence and used extensively by all schools; French horn and viola projects led to ensemble work. And the Youth Orchestra and Youth Choir tripped to Paris, followed by the Youth Brass Band, Youth Big Band and Flute Choir performing in Strasbourg. There is new provision to promote wider opportunities and through the advisory teachers, co-ordinators and project leaders there is extensive support for curriculum delivery. The Service’s establishment of a Music Technology Team and the range of available ICT support puts them ahead of much of the field. INSET is soundly-based and there are continuing professional development opportunities. Wigan have four thriving Music Centres and Satellite Centres. One is dedicated to jazz, another to brass bands and the others to rock groups, orchestras, choirs, woodwind, guitar and percussion ensembles, flute choir, music technology and theory classes.

Wigan are worthy winners of our Best First Entry Diploma!

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