George Storey of Norbury Manor Primary School, answers questions about the impact that Charanga’s Musical School has had on the school’s music.
How would you characterise the school and what are its main challenges?
Our priority as a school is to ensure that our pupils receive an excellent education in a nurturing environment that encourages our pupils to Make Every Moment Count. We are dedicated to continuing to build opportunities for pupils to achieve the highest academic standards; ensuring that they are known well as individuals and that their unique personality, talents and interests are given the opportunities to flourish within and beyond the classroom. We aim to achieve excellence in all areas so that our children, regardless of their starting point, are enthusiastic, independent learners who view the world around them with enquiring minds and give them the resources to be ‘learners today and leaders tomorrow.’ Music is just one of many ways that we attempt to accomplish these goals at Norbury Manor Primary School.
How would you describe music in the school before Musical School was adopted?
Before Musical School, music was difficult to teach at Norbury Manor Primary School. There was no clear Scheme of Work and often music lessons were taught out of sync and did not provide the children with a clear understanding of what music was all about. Since the lessons were very sporadic, there was no clear differentiation between year groups and key skills were not able to be developed correctly as they were not taught. It was also difficult to know what the expectations were on us as a school in terms of which skills we needed to teach and in what sequence we needed to teach them. Since subscribing to Musical School, the quality of our music teaching has increased dramatically and we are finally able to give the children a music curriculum that they deserve.
What impact has Musical School had on pupils?
Musical School has made the children really enthusiastic. When they hear that it’s time for music, they cheer! They know that the lessons are going to be fun but also teach them things that they have never learnt before. They enjoy the sequence of lessons and the fact that they can build up their confidence as the lessons progress. The children are never bored because there is always some challenge or activity to push them further. Some involve playing with instruments, reading music and singing along to some old classics. The children’s knowledge of musical history has improved dramatically; they are listening to music that they would never normally listen to. They love to sing along and use the breathing exercises to help support their singing better. Overall, pupils have benefited greatly from the introduction of Musical School at Norbury Manor Primary School.
What impact has Musical School had on staff?
Musical School has made the teaching of music for staff at Norbury Manor Primary School a breeze. It very clearly shows us the various lessons within that particular unit and how it links to the national curriculum. This allows us to ensure what we are teaching the children is suitable and meets the statutory programmes of study and attainment targets for music at Key Stages 1 and 2. It has made the teaching staff at Norbury Manor Primary School gain confidence in teaching music as it is very easily accessible to all and the steps of teaching the lesson are set out well enough that you can pick it up and teach. It has made life for us at Norbury Manor Primary School a lot easier and I look forward to using Musical School further.
What are your plans for music going forward?
At Norbury Manor Primary School, our plans for music going forward are simple. Our current Scheme of Work using Musical School works excellently and there has been a very clear growth in the quality and quantity of music teaching. In the future, our goals are to further improve the quality of music teaching and the various tools we use to assess how effective our music teaching is. Part of this includes finding new ways to assess music and gathering evidence of sessions being taught. Recently, we have started taking pictures and videos of sessions, giving links to the national curriculum and how this helps the children meet these aims. In the future, emphasis on pupil voice will be made, to ensure that we are giving the best music sessions we can and this pupil voice will be used to show us how we can further adapt these music sessions to include all children, whatever their musical or academic ability.