New programme to help London’s Key Stage 3 music teachers


Teach Through Music, a year long, fully subsidised professional development programme to support Key Stage 3 music teachers in London, will be launched by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and partners this summer.

The programme will help London's teachers join forces with world class cultural partners, London's higher education community and music hubs to learn, debate, share best practice and together improve the quality of music teaching in secondary schools.

Ofsted's 2012 report Wider Still and Wider, identified that: "A good or outstanding music education was being provided in only 35 of the 90 secondary schools inspected…",well below overall school performance. Key Stage 3 music - which is part of the national curriculum for all young people aged 11-14 - is highlighted as a prime area of concern, citing a lack of practical music making and too much focus on talking and written exercises in class teaching. What Hubs Must Do (Nov 2013), reiterates these concerns about Key Stage 3 music and identifies the challenge of improving standards when school leaders are too often unable to recognise the qualities of outstanding music teaching.

Andrea Spain, from Trinity Laban, said the problem for many music teachers was creative isolation: "Music teachers may be the only music specialist in their school and have little contact with others. As well as helping develop practical skills, Teach Through Music will support teachers to overcome barriers to more 'musical' approaches to teaching, presented by limited resources and whole school systems that don't lend themselves to musical learning."

Teach Through Music is a new partnership led by Trinity Laban in partnership with Sound Connections, Barbican, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College London and the University of Greenwich. It is one of two professional development programmes on offer as part of Music Excellence London, a £650k investment in Key Stage 3 music from the London Schools Excellence Fund, which was set up by the Mayor of London to raise teaching standards across the capital.

Philip Flood at Sound Connections said: "The Teach Through Music training is being devised collaboratively by a partnership of teachers, higher education and specialist music organisations. This partnership will draw on the very best music and education expertise, while developing highly practical solutions for the classroom."

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "Parents in London want to know that the school their child attends will give them the best start in life and access to top universities and careers. That's why we're making funding available for high performing schools and institutions to share their knowledge and expertise with others, to raise expectations, bring academic rigour and improve attainment for more pupils. With the London Schools Excellence Fund our goal is to turbo-charge the system so that all schoolchildren in the capital have the best possible education."

Teach Through Music will offer 150 places for teachers to experience a flexible programme of seminars, events and courses, as well as an 'online community' to debate issues and share experiences. Trained peer mentors will support teachers to make changes in the classroom and evaluate impact.

In addition, over 20 world class cultural partners are opening up exclusive ticket offers, behind the scenes access and concerts for Key Stage 3 pupils. These partners include Southbank Centre, Serious (producers of the London Jazz Festival), the London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Folk Dance and Song Society and London Symphony Orchestra.

Teach Through Music is funded by the Department for Education and Mayor of London via the London Schools Excellence Fund.

Teachers interested in enrolling in Teach Through Music are invited to attend one of a series of launch events, starting on Friday 11 July at the Barbican Centre with Drum Works, in association with Barbican Creative Learning and Guildhall School of Music & Drama. More information at

The London Schools Excellence Fund is part of the Mayor's Education Programme, launched in March 2013. The Fund is a key mechanism to deliver excellent teaching in all London schools and works alongside other initiatives including the London Schools Gold Club scheme and the London Curriculum. The Department for Education is contributing £20 million under the Department's education standards programme, with a further £4.25 million from the Mayor of London.

Music Excellence London is a programme of professional development for London's secondary school music teachers and musicians who work with young people. It will help schools implement the new music curriculum, support teachers and senior leaders, and get the most out of music in your school.

Other points of note

  • Key Stage 3 is the highest level at which music education is a statutory entitlement for all young people as part of the national curriculum
  • Ofsted found that, where music is flourishing in secondary schools, it often does so through instrumental learning and extra- curricular activities that are only accessed by a minority of young people
  • There is a lack of diversity amongst musicians who progress to higher levels of musical learning and the music profession
  • A New Direction report[1] that only 19% of 11-15 year olds in London had been taken to a live music event by their school in the last year. This was compared to 36% who had visited an art exhibition, 24% who attended a live dance performance & 30% who attended a Museum or Gallery. Those from lower social grades were more likely to have experienced their first memorable cultural trip through school, college or university. "Previous sections have shown that while many young people in London engage in culture in their spare time, schools are still important in enabling attendance, particularly by young people from less privileged backgrounds and at more formal kinds of cultural venues and events."



[1] A New Direction,Cultural Engagement by Young Londoners 2013, p.15

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