COUNT US IN - FEBRUARY 2010 UPDATE
Progress to date
The Count Us In Steering Group (Hertfordshire Music Service (HMS), the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and Orchestras Live) have been developing a range of new pathways for instrumental teaching that are appropriate to the specific circumstances of the 12 Hertfordshire Challenge schools who are partners in the Music Partnership Programme.
These schools would all benefit from additional support to their music departments in reaching out to their feeder schools as part of their wider transition strategy. Each secondary school has identified constraints on their own ability to deliver instrumental music programmes with their pupils, ranging from lack of staff, resources and leadership support for the music department, to limited knowledge about the music offer of their feeder primaries, as well as their pupils’ reluctance to admit to being a musician. A key outcome for MPP in these schools is the increased demand for instrumental teaching across their school in September 2010.
In response to these discussions in schools, Count Us In have been offering: ‘hands-on’ music-making days for Year 7s (‘Challenge Days’); the chance to start a sustainable Year 7 music ensemble in each school with a clear identity lead by its pupils; primary school initiatives with the RPO in summer term with Year 6 classes; and significant performance opportunities throughout the year.
A weekly workshop schedule has been laid out with key deadlines and also incorporating key opportunities for raising the school’s profile in each consortium (such as Exploration/Challenge Days, Transition Days and Open Evenings).
The Count Us In performance schedule has been revised, to enable participating pupils to have at least one opportunity to perform alongside other schools in an inspiring venue. Schools can continue to hold performances in their own consortium, while Count Us In will now be hosting three concerts across the county to draw groups of consortia together in July 2010.
We have also identified a new opportunity to conclude this first year of activity, drawing all 12 schools together to perform with members of the RPO in Stevenage on 15th November 2010 (with full access to the RPO musicians and rehearsals of their orchestral concert in Stevenage the day before).
The MPP funding agreement, including SMART targets and anticipated delivery schedule, has been agreed with DCSF.
Activities and their impact
Three schools have received Challenge Days lead by the RPO and HMS, with 205 Year 7 pupils playing instruments live. As a result, participants in each school asked to join the ongoing ensembles and learn to play an instrument for the first time.
In October, musicians from the RPO and HMS held a creative exploration day that shared the principles of the Creative practitioner team and confirmed the key priorities for the music content of the programme.
In January 2010, the Heads of Music from nine of the twelve schools discussed key issues facing their music departments (and the sustainability of this programme) with members of the RPO and HMS.
The roles of the partners within Count Us In have been clarified: the RPO are the programme’s ‘Inspirers’, with their Music Director (Jason Rowland) leading the direction of each group’s work and agreeing expectations for the pupils to achieve certain skills by the next stage (either a challenge day, a primary school visit or performance); HMS provides the local knowledge of primary music activity plus is a resource for ongoing support for ensembles.
The out of school programme has become the focus for new service planning across Hertfordshire between HMS and Youth Connexions Hertfordshire, as well as leading to new relationships being made between HMS and Hertfordshire’s Youth Carers Project and the Children Looked After Team in Hertfordshire County Council. The University of Hertfordshire has also asked to co-host the MPP event in Hatfield in July.
The Aspire Trust has been appointed as the independent evaluator for Count Us In. Dr Nick Owen has since visited two steering group meetings, one of the Challenge Days and both CPD sessions for musicians and Heads of Music to record partner and pupil expectations at the start of their involvement.
Confirm out of school programme and link to Heads of Music in each consortium.
The content and theme of each school’s programme will be agreed by the young participants.
Herts MPP will host DCSF’s meeting of the five Music Partnership Programmes in Hatfield on 8th/9th February 2010.