Helping schools make sense of the Hub
Pictured: primary school teachers at a recent Hub CPD event
At the end of last summer, we asked Alan Winwood, an ex secondary head and head of music, to work with us to help us to understand what schools think about the Hub and how we can best work together. Following is an update from Alan on the evolving Schools Music Plan that Arts Council England have asked all hubs to develop.
I started working with the Hub late last summer, initially talking to a small number of schools to to find out their perceptions of the Hub, and to begin to tease out how the Hub could most effectively support music education in schools.
Key action points
You won’t be surprised to hear, there wasn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution! The responses were varied, but the key action points were:
• have a clearer distinction between the Hub and Gloucestershire Music
• keep on improving communications
• secondary heads of music want information: about what others are doing, to help them benchmark
• Music teachers/co-ordinators were keen on networking, face to face and online
• plan activities a year ahead
• have one high profile event to work towards
• take students’ views into consideratoin
• consider the voluntary expertise that’s available through schools
• be more present in the county – for partners working in schools to be advocates for the Hub
• monitor and evaluate the work – what are the outcomes, impact on progression?
• be bold – think and do differently!
This has been informing our thinking – and our doing! – and will continue to do so as we move into the next stage of developing strategy with schools and hub partners.
Responding to Ofsted – helping school leaders
In their ‘Music in schools – what hubs must do’ report (November 2013), Ofsted recommended that schools should evaluate their provision more accurately, especially classroom teaching.
We’ve just completed a small pilot study involving three secondary schools looking at ways in which the hub might support both music departments and senior leadership teams(SLTs) in ensuring that music is valued and promoted in school and ways in which SLTs can be supported in recognising and encouraging good teaching practices.
Mapping music education across the county
We’re also working on an ‘app’ that will allow schools and music education providers to let us know what’s happening in and out of schools.
We’ll use this information in a number of ways, overtime, including:
• identifying gaps and ‘cold spots’ of music making/learning opportunities
• seeing what music education providers are working where, to avoid overlap where it might be unhelpful
• helping communicate both basic musical information with each other and whatever else they want to share with colleagues about what they do
• completing our annual October Arts Council data return
Developing a Schools Music Plan
Following Ofsted’s report (see above), Arts Council England asked all Hubs to develop a Schools Music Plan, outlining broadly how they will work with schools over the coming year, to the end of current Hub funding, and beyond.
Who’s been involved
We’ve had to act quickly, as the deadline is 1 April, so we convened a group of schools representatives for two meetings to develop an initial framework plan. Those involved were:
Lian Hyde (Music Co-ordinator)– Milestone Special School.
Carolyn Ford (Head of Music) – Ribston Hall High School.
Jonathan Bardgett (SLT) – Chosen Hill School.
David Crunkhurn (Headteacher) – Westbury on Severn CofE Primary
Sue Carpenter – (Music Co-ordinator) – Bromesberrow St. Mary’s C of E Primary
What they’ve been talking about
So far, our discussions have covered helping schools with:
• bespoke music education plans – perhaps offering schools support/consultancy style visits and recommendations
• developing curriculum plans
• linking with out of school provision
• identifying and developing good practice – eg supporting schools leadership teams as above
• advocating the value of music education to schools leadership teams and/or supporting teachers to do this valuable job
• identifying CPD needs.
We’ll submit the initial plan to Arts Council, but it will be a ‘work in progress’ and will be informed by further meetings with partners, talking of which …
Partners strategy meetings
We’re currently arranging a series of three meetings with key partners during May to further develop our strategies for work in schools, as well as out of schools.
If you’d like to find out how your school can benefit from, and support, our plans for music education in the county, please get in touch.
You can contact me directly by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or if you’d simply like to stay informed as things progress, sign up to one/more of our schools enewsletters (you can see past copies here).