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Nord Anglia Education creates Juilliard-inspired performing arts curriculum

15 October 2015

International private education provider Nord Anglia Education has collaborated with the Juilliard School to create a new performing arts curriculum.

The organisation, which offers an education based on the English National Curriculum in about 30 schools around the world, has published a paper, Excellence Through Education, to outline the contents of the new curriculum.
The paper argues that an increasing obsession with league tables has reduced many schools to ‘exam factories’.

The new performing arts curriculum, which will initially be trialed in 10 Nord Anglia schools, is based around a repertoire of 12 core works covering a wide range of cultures, genres and historical periods.

The intention is to nurture cultural literacy and develop key skills in students, such as discipline, creativity and confidence.
The collaboration between Nord Anglia and Juilliard will continue to evolve over the coming months, with the launch of private one-to-one music lessons from the beginning of 2016. This will be followed by the launch of a performing arts summer school later in the year.

New drama and dance curriculums will also be rolled out to Nord Anglia schools over the coming years.

Andrew Fitzmaurice, chief executive of Nord Anglia Education, said: ‘Excellence comes from inspiration rather than league tables. Working with the world’s best is inspirational. How many times can any of us truly say we have had the opportunity to work with the best?

‘At Nord Anglia Education, we want it to be a daily occurrence for every student and our collaboration with the Juilliard School does just that.’
Joseph W Polisi, president of the Juilliard School, said: ‘In collaborating with Nord Anglia, we have a unique opportunity to share our expertise, offering those studying at Nord Anglia schools the chance to learn from the best that our two institutions can offer.

‘We believe that the performing arts should have a significant role within today’s global educational environment.  By working with Nord Anglia, we can reach students from around the world to cultivate their skills and help guide them in their future growth.’


Applications open for the Last Choir Singing Competition 2016

14 October 2015

2015 winners Anchorsholme Primary Academy with Simon Bowman and Jonathan Ansell
2015 winners Anchorsholme Primary Academy with Simon Bowman and Jonathan Ansell

Applications for the Last Choir Singing Competition 2016 are now open.

The competition is open to choirs comprising Lancashire junior school children between Year 3 and Year 6. The winning choir will receive £1,000 in vouchers towards music equipment for their school and the True Bearing Last Choir Singing 2016 trophy. Each runner-up will receive £500 and winners of the regional heats will receive £250.

Each choir will compete in regional heats throughout February and March 2016, with the overall winners announced at the final, which will take place at King George’s Hall, Blackburn on 17 June.

The competition is sponsored by True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners in partnership with the Lancashire Music Hub, Blackburn with Darwen Music Hub and Blackpool Music Service.

George Critchley, chairman of True Bearing Chartered, said: ‘Last year’s competition was a huge success with around 1,500 children taking part in 45 choirs. We are delighted to bring it back for a second year and we aim to increase the number of contestants to 5,000. The UK has one of the most respected Choral traditions in the world and I am so proud to be part of that tradition with our support and sponsorship of Last Choir Singing. 

‘We wanted to give something back to a community that has supported our firm over the last 12 years. As organiser and main sponsor, True Bearing is keen to raise awareness of singing in junior schools and to demonstrate that music education is alive and well in Lancashire!’

The deadline for entries is 30 October 2015.

Last Choir Singing

Arts Council England launches Cultural Education Challenge

14 October 2015

Arts Council England has revealed details of its Cultural Education Challenge, a call to action for the education and arts sectors to work together to provide a stronger cultural education for children and young people.

Launched today during an event at London’s Barbican Centre, the Cultural Education Challenge will involve a network of up to 50 Cultural Education Partnerships across the UK including schools, national cultural organisations, museums, libraries, music education hubs and local authorities.

The partnerships will be modelled on previous pilot cultural education partnerships established in Great Yarmouth, Bristol and Barking & Dagenham, initiated by the Arts Council with partners the British Film Institute, Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage in response to recommendations made in the Henley Review on Cultural Education in England.

They will be led and initiated by Arts Council England’s ‘Bridge organisations’ – a network of ten organisations located across the country that help to connect schools, children and young people with arts and cultural activity.

The Bridge organisations – which include Sadler’s Wells and the Lyric Hammersmith in London, Curious Minds in the North West and the Sage Gateshead in the North East – receive a total of £10m in funding a year from the Arts Council to create more opportunities for young people to access the arts and culture.

Darren Henley (pictured), chief executive of Arts Council England, said: ‘A great arts and cultural education gives children and young people the confidence and creative skills to thrive, as individuals, as members of our society, and as the next generation of creative talent.

‘All children and young people, wherever and whatever their start in life, should have the opportunity to have an arts and cultural education that nurtures innovation and unlocks the vital skills that are helping to drive our world leading creative industries.’

Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools, added: ‘An introduction to the arts from an early age is vital to producing well-rounded and well-educated individuals, able to make a positive contribution to this country’s rich cultural heritage.

‘The Cultural Education Challenge represents a great opportunity for local arts organisations, schools and colleges to come together to ensure all young people can enjoy an excellent cultural education, regardless of their background.’
Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: ‘I want to see all children have access to the arts regardless of where they live and go to school. Cultural education gives our young people the enriching experiences they need at an early age while also developing the talent and creative thinking that is powering the UK’s world-beating creative industries.’

Over the coming weeks, a number of workshops will be hosted by Bridge organisations across the country, inviting local arts organisations, teachers, local authorities and more to attend and understand how they can get involved with the Cultural Education Challenge.


Birmingham Contemporary Music Group launches learning resources website

8 October 2015

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) has created a free learning resources website to help teachers, children and young people to explore contemporary music and composing.

The micro-site at has grown out of BCMG’s learning and participation programme and has been compiled with the help of the composers, musicians, workshop leaders, researchers and teachers who deliver the programme.

The resources, most of which are designed for KS2-KS4, include videos, recordings of BCMG musicians and young people, downloadable resource sheets and links to other relevant websites.

The majority of the resources are designed to support young people as composers, but there are also some resources for performers.

Highlights include Music Maze, which uses pieces of contemporary classical music as a starting point to inspire young people to write their own music.

The website also offers access to two pieces for secondary school classes created as part of BCMG’s Resolution project, as well as a new piece for beginner ensemble created as part of the Imagine, Compose project.

The new microsite has been funded by a grant from Youth Music, with additional support from the Wellcome Trust as part of the BCMG Resolution project.

Professor Martin Fautley, professor of education at Birmingham City University, said: ‘The materials presented on the BCMG learning pages represent a significant resource for music educators across a variety of sources and contexts.

‘Thoughtful practitioners will find much here that is of interest. It will also be clearly apparent that with, in some cases, very little adaptation, these materials are highly suitable for learners at all stages in their musical journeys.

‘They are to be recommended to all who work with children, young people and learners of all ages interested in developing creative composing responses to, and in, music.’

Mayor’s Music Fund announces new scholars and partnership projects

7 October 2015

The Mayor’s Music Fund has unveiled its latest scholarships and its planned partnership projects for 2015/16.

During an event at London’s City Hall last week, 32 primary school children were announced as the latest group of Mayor’s Music Scholars.

The winners were invited to receive their awards by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and saxophonist and composer YolanDa Brown (pictured), a Mayor’s Music Fund ambassador.

Over the next four years, they will take part in two hours of music-making and other developmental activities every week as well as attending concerts and working with a personal mentor.

The charity also announced six new Music Partnership Projects for the 2015/16 academic year involving organisations such as the BBC Concert Orchestra, The Jazz Warriors International and Musiko Musika.

Ginny Greenwood, chief executive of the Mayor's Music Fund, said: ‘I was delighted to welcome the fifth cohort of Mayor's Music Scholars to City Hall and to congratulate them on their four-year award.

‘Everyone at the Mayor’s Music Fund is excited to see the scholars progress not only in their playing, but also across their wider education and social development.’

YolanDa Brown said: ‘It’s great to see how the fund helps young musicians follow their dream of learning an instrument and to see how they grow and develop with their instrument.

‘The scholarship has a positive effect on so many areas of their life, not just music. I believe it is important to have access to creating music and it is wonderful to be involved with this much-needed initiative.’

The Mayor’s Music Fund provides four-year scholarships to primary school children across the 32 London boroughs and currently supports 217 children in the capital.

The charity also funds collaborations between music hubs and arts organsiations to create opportunities for young people to work alongside professional musicians.

The 2015/16 projects will involve 800 young people and reach a further 4,700 through free public performances.

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