This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
MUSIC Lighting fires g power of song

Many secondary schools already engage in joint singing projects with their feeder primary schools. They may arrange a trip to see the annual musical

or invite a local school choir to sing at an assembly. Another way of continuing to engage interest is to subtly transform the type of songs that pupils sing in year 7 as their tastes mature. Their curriculum and their interests are changing, so it is only right that the songs should, too. Sing Up has specific songs in the Song Bank that

are tailored to the 11 to 13 age group and aim to bridge the gap between primary and secondary school, thereby supporting this crucial transition period. Finding a counter-melody or slightly more sophisticated “rhythm section” is fun for the year 7 students and gives them a musical responsibility befitting their age. Secondary school teachers can, and should, help to improve the provision of singing at secondary level and it is hoped that Sing Up will inspire the music departments of senior schools by example. More and more primary school pupils are

expecting to sing as part of their normal school day and have teachers who are increasingly confident at leading singing. The very thing that new year 7 pupils fear most in their new environment – loneliness and isolation – can be helped enormously by being able to lose themselves in a large group and find their voice, to find safety in numbers and reassurance in doing something familiar in an unfamiliar world. Your students have got the Glee factor; the question is, have you?


• Baz Chapman is programme director of Sing Up, the National Singing Programme.

Further information

Independent thinking Let us get on and teach

ONE OF the first acts of the new government was to abolish the title Department for Children, Schools and Families and replace it with a new Department for Education. Nonetheless we still have a junior minister with a

of a residential music camp, culminating in a group performance. The older students helped with lyrics, melody lines

and actions and assisted with folder holding, putting on costumes, standing and sitting, and some behavioural issues. They also kept a close eye on their buddies, ensuring they rested when necessary and kept diaries detailing which songs motivated their buddy and how certain tunes were helping them. It was evident from the project that the older students had a considerable effect on their “mentees” and this provision of a positive role model is something which is hoped will be replicated in future projects. Other projects, such as Pie Factory Music, used

older Young Leaders (aged between 16 and 18) as trainees. They were involved in a significant amount of training and were, in this case, paid expenses for their time working on the project, helping to develop a new generation of music leaders and providing role models for the looked-after children involved. The over-arching aim of Sing Up is to ensure

that all schools for primary-aged children throughout England are “singing schools” by 2011. So far, Sing Up has trained more than 30,000 teachers and school

staff and produced around 300 songs available for download. This will have a huge impact on the type of students secondary mainstream and SEN schools will be opening their doors to in years to come. The issue of translating interest in music from primary to secondary school has occupied much thought and has been the subject of some trail-blazing projects, especially those led by secondary schools with music as a specialism. However, in some instances, secondary schools’

provision of group singing opportunities is a pale shadow of that increasingly offered by primary schools. For many pupils the leap from year 6 to 7 is one in which their voices – literally – go silent. We cannot allow this to happen and there are various ways we can help give them a chance to continue their singing into secondary school. First, as raised by Mr Squire, it is important that

primary school children, especially the older ones, see adults singing. A school assembly where everyone sings should mean everyone, including teachers, classroom assistants and any other grown-ups. Second, year 7 pupils need to see older teenagers singing. This sounds daunting but it is not impossible.

In some instances, secondary schools’ provision of group singing opportunities is a pale shadow of

that offered by primary schools. For many pupils the leap from year 6 to 7 is one in which their voices – literally – go silent. We cannot allow this to happen

and there are various ways we can give them a chance to continue their singing into secondary school

SecEd • June 10 2010 ’

specific “children” brief and the family is apparently at the heart of the new government’s thinking. The first week in June was National Family Week and a number of organisations sponsored surveys whose findings were revealed to the media. A study of children aged eight to 15

revealed that 40 per cent of the girls identified Facebook as one of the most important things in their lives, although only six per cent of boys felt the same. In theory, Facebook is only available to those aged 13 or over, but this is clearly not enforced. Meanwhile, research by the National Literacy Trust shows that 86 per cent of pupils have their own mobile phone, compared with 73 per cent who have their own books. Indeed 80 per cent of younger children aged seven to 11 have a personal mobile phone while only 73 per cent of that age group had access to books at home. Parents were found not to understand

the significance of technology in their children’s lives or how they used it. However, a clear link has been demonstrated between reading at home with one’s parents and high levels of literacy for children, and the higher the literacy level the more likely a child is to do well overall at school. Apparently, parents spend only an average of 49 minutes each day on activities of any sort with their children. Young people are increasingly spending a

large part of their time interacting as individuals with technology rather than with other people, be they their peers or adults. They are using not only mobile phones, but also computers, Wii and games machines, or watching television or DVDs. This does not prepare them well to engage properly with other people or to be emotionally literate – they find it hard to read faces or understand nuances of expression, whether spoken or physical. They are losing any sense of what it is or is not

appropriate to write about someone else, in a text or on a Facebook “wall”, and they have no real notion of privacy, as what they write or say is so quickly spread throughout their peer group and often far beyond.

Unpleasant messages (often couched in obscene gangster rap slang) posted on social networking sites or sent as texts are causing untold damage and have far-reaching repercussions. They are, however, not confined to children, as

recent exposure of politicians and spin doctors have revealed. Is this really the society that we wish to live in? The new government has spoken of a “broken society” – there is more to this than fractured families and the 1.4 million people who have been out of work for at least nine out of the last 10 years. Children who communicate mostly via technology and who, even at school, work mostly at their own pace with ICT on their “personalised learning package”, are ill-equipped to integrate into a workplace where they have to interact with other people and

function as part of a team. In recent years, increasing

pressure has been placed upon schools to solve many of society’s problems. It is schools who are supposed to inculcate morals, teach teamwork, raise pupils’ self-esteem, introduce children to sex education, encourage them to become responsible citizens, educate them about healthy eating and the importance of exercise, provide an understanding of “public institutions”,

and many more such things. Should we then blame schools for

our increasingly turbulent and fragmented society? I think not. The new government has avowed that it wishes schools to concentrate on education (without actually defining this yet), it will be interesting to see exactly how they intend

to tackle the problems of families and society, while relying less on schools. Many young people regard school as a haven

where they can be “normal” and put aside their worries about home life, but this is not the case for all – getting the balance right is an enormous challenge and one that definitely relies on personal contact rather than technology. The abandonment of ContactPoint is a step in that direction, there will need to be many more.

• Marion Gibbs is headmistress of the independent James Allen’s Girls’ School in London.

“Whatever you want to teach, be brief.” Horace

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you

with their ingenuity.” George Patton

“By learning you will teach; by teaching you will

understand.” Latin Proverb

“He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good

commander.” Aristotle

“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without

brightening our own.” Ben Sweetland

“The future depends on what we do in the present.” Gandhi

“A child miseducated is a

child lost.” John F Kennedy


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16
Produced with Yudu -