Clapgate Primary School in Belle Isle is the latest school in our area to join Opera North’s In Harmony programme, joining Windmill, Low Road and New Bewerley.
The school joined the programme in September 2022 and are already seeing the benefits. Headteacher, Natasha Singleton, explained:
“What we are seeing is the increased levels of concentration, listening and attention spill over into other lessons.
“They are showing a better readiness for learning, and it’s impacting on their language as well, the pattern of language, memory, it works on all levels. I think music is very far reaching the cognitive benefits across the curriculum.”
School attendance has also improved noticeably, especially amongst those children who are persistently absent.
Pupils from Reception are learning about musicianship and singing together. As they move into Year 3 they also start to learn an instrument with music teachers from In Harmony. Music teaching in schools is often disjointed, but the structured programme ensures that pupils can progress.
Feedback from pupils has been very positive:
“Helped (my) confidence in all lessons, to sing and talk in front of others. It helps us to listen more. It helps us for our performances.”
“I now have faster instincts, other things can be easier and faster. I am writing more.”
“Mental health enjoyment a chance to be free.”
Parents feedback has also been very positive and the school has seen more parents coming into school and engaging with the school.
As well as lessons during the school day, children in Years 5 and 6 can join after school clubs and get opportunity to join a wider group of children from different schools to perform at music venues outside school.
Clapgate has signed up for three years of the In Harmony programme. Head, hopes to continue after that, but it’s not cheap and there is an impact on school budget.
“I feel there’s a real lack of understanding amongst decision makers about the value of music in education, but In Harmony are helping us so much. It’s such an important programme.”
Music lead, Louise Mason, adds:
“We build our whole school foundation on creativity – art, drama, sport and music – the things that children enjoy most and those that find reading and writing difficult can excel at. It motivates them and gives them confidence.”
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