Blatch Leads Hove Music Project
Blatchington Mill is proud to share that we have been leading on a collaborative Music project with our local primary schools to conduct a thorough examination of the Music curriculum on offer to students across Hove, from ages 4 through to 14.
Musical education has been under the spotlight recently, as cuts to school budgets and changes to government policy, such as the Ebacc measure, have seen it increasingly ‘squeezed out’ in favour of core subjects over the past decade.
One of the biggest concerns with the lack of a fully formed Music curriculum within schools is the resulting accessibility issues, where in many cases the ability to play an instrument is now limited to students whose parents can afford private tuition.
At Blatchington Mill we passionately believe that quality musical education should be accessible to all students as not only does musical education provide a number of skills that are attractive to employers in the UK’s thriving creative sector, but significant research has also shown that participation in the arts can improve physical and mental wellbeing, as well as benefit the development of wider cognitive skills including numeracy and literacy. There is also a concern that the current Music curriculum risks becoming outdated as the Music industry and young people themselves rely more heavily on technology to engage with Music. That’s why at Blatchington Mill we have invested in new technical equipment that is accessible to all of our students.
Following on from our internal investment in Music, we led on this collaborative project with Hove Juniors, Brunswick Primary, West Blatchington, St Andrews, Aldrington, Goldstone and Hangleton Primary, to examine and enhance the music education that local pupils in Hove receive all the way from reception through to year 9. This gives all schools in the local area a much better understanding of the progress that students should make as they progress through their music education, and ensures that the curriculum offers a seamless transition between primary and secondary schools. Together, we created a vision statement that we felt encapsulated our ambitions for the Music curriculum across Hove.
- In any and all of the Hove Partnership schools, children will develop their understanding, enjoyment, performance and appreciation of Music. Through appraising, creating and performing, children will develop confidence, communication, collaborative learning and creative skills as well as improve their emotional well-being.
- Experimentation, discovery, performance and achievement will bring an engagement in music for all; with everyone having equal access to musical development and expression.
- Children will have a variety of opportunities to broaden their understanding of musical styles and composers, different musical cultures and traditions, bringing a critical awareness as well as enjoyment of Music.
The project allowed schools the opportunity to share resources and techniques that have proved successful in the classroom. A particularly successful aspect of the project saw teachers visiting other schools in order to observe music lessons and offer feedback as well as reflect on their own teaching practice and the music offering within their own school.
One teacher, who visited West Blatchington Primary School, said: ‘Being part of the lesson and taking part as a “pupil” gave me real insight into how it feels for children when taking part in music activities, particularly when asked to do a solo or model something I haven’t done before. It was also a real privilege to be able to work in a TA capacity with a small group and see the children’s thinking and learning processes up close.” When asked what she had learnt that she would take back to her school, she said: “I have identified a possible room at our school that could be swapped round to being the music room and have already discussed this with the head!”
A primary school teacher who came to visit it us at Blatchington Mill also found it interesting to gain some insight into how the music curriculum is implemented in year 7, and has said that her school will endeavour to ensure that “what we are doing leads on well to what the students will then do in year 7”.
Ms Edge, Music teacher at Blatch and leader of the deep dive, said:
‘This was such a useful process. Not only was it an excellent opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how music education is approached at primary level, it also enabled us to look in detail at how this then links into our secondary music curriculum. We were able to work as a group identifying common elements of our music teaching and identify opportunities to interleave learning across KS2 and KS3. We were able to produce a core curriculum offer, agreed and contributed to by everyone and share extracurricular offers as a city. This will act as the starting point for our continued collaboration with schools within the area. Within the deep dive several teachers have visited and observed music taking in other schools and as a group of music leads, I am confident that this will continue.’
Blatchington Mill is delighted to have had the opportunity to lead on this exciting project, which will benefit all pupils within the Hove Partnership and ensure that they gain as much knowledge and enjoyment as possible from their music lessons. We’re also pleased to have placed a spotlight on creative subjects, which we believe are incredibly worthwhile and carry a huge amount of value to our students. Thank you to all of the schools who have taken part and helped us to improve the Music curriculum across Hove.