I have previously offered my help as a musician and teacher to my kids primary school. It has always been well received but often left me feeling disheartened.
Having some music in school is better than nothing and extra opportunities in a minority subject can only be good, but I can’t help feeling that there needs to be more. By more I don’t mean more sessions, I could go in more often but does that really benefit the school or the children in the long term?
No is my overwhelming thought! If there is no specialist music teacher then the class teacher is left to deliver it. Being a parent I want to help improve what the pupils can achieve and experience not do it instead of their teacher.
Music should not be an add-on. I believe the arts generally should be taught alongside the other core subjects such as Maths and English. It is a recent industrialised reality that the arts and sciences are taught as different educational strands.
I have thought about this for a long time and I now think I might be in a position to offer something different.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs I can’t change the curriculum and to make any project work everyone has to come together. This means a common goal that has enough flexibility that all parties can achieve their objectives.
For example a school will focus on the curriculum and make sure its pupils do well in sats tests in yr 6. While we can discuss the merits of this it is the current reality and government led.
Teachers have to plan their lessons and record achievement to show ofsted how things are going. The positive aspect is that cross-curricular learning is becoming a good trend again. This is my ‘in’.
I am going to suggest that the school produce a concert. I don’t mean the pupils just perform they will actually produce it as an event!
I will offer my musical services as before but only to support and help the teachers conduct a class performance. With the support of the PTA of which I am chair a budget will be put in place that the school must stick to. The pupils will then lead the project and decide who should attend the concert and how much to charge. Refreshments can be sold and see if a possible profit can be made. A programme can be designed/written and the event can be marketed around the local area in different mediums. The concert can be recorded and used to publicise the school. Instruments can be made. The community can be involved and a mentoring system put in place to support the school council who I will suggest co-ordinate the project.
A big undertaking yes. Is it possible yes. Does it include all manner of educational material in a practical, hands on and useful way YES.
I believe the school would more than achieve all their targets and give the pupils an opportunity and real educational experience much more far reaching than anything I have witnessed in 7 years as a parent from the outside.
Will they go for it? Will they see the positives and an opportunity to be a truly outstanding school? Time will tell but if so it will be one fantastic ride for everyone involved!