On 28th May 2021, Arts Council England, in partnership with the National Governors Association (NGA) and Music Mark, published an updated guide to music education for School Governors. 
 
Having School Governors who are supportive of Arts Education is vital for maintaining access to and high standards for Cultural Education in schools. 
 
Here is our overview of the report and our top tips on embedding and showcasing music in your school. 
Those of us involved in music education, fully appreciate the many advantages high quality music education offers young people, however the report highlights 6 key benefits of music education: 
• Boosting school improvement 
• Developing life skills 
• Building cultural understanding 
• Creating community links 
• Supporting pupils’ creativity 
• Supporting mental health and wellbeing 
 
These 6 points can be a helpful aid in explaining to School Governors, who may not fully understand the benefits, why music education is so important in schools. 
 
The report states: 
“A high quality music education is one where pupils are immersed in music – it is not just about the technical skills required to sing or play an instrument – it is about the expressive quality of the response, the musical accuracy, sophistication and fluency. Pupils should be taught to listen with increasing discrimination to a wide range of music to inform and improve their musical understanding, performance and composition.” 
It highlights key points for consideration: 
• Provision should be inclusive and diverse 
• Pupils should showcase their work and experience performances 
• Pupils should show good progress 
 
The report includes advice on how to influence music education in schools, stressing that music should be part of the school’s vision for the future. This can then support development of a policy for music education within the organisation including investing sufficient resources.  
 
The report highlights that schools or trusts do not need to deliver music education alone, support is available through one of the 120 local Music Education Hubs. 
As with any development of or changes to policy, monitoring is vital to ensure outcomes are achieved. 
 
The report suggests Governing boards utilise a range of sources when monitoring impact, including: 
• Headteacher and senior leader reports 
• Governance monitoring visits 
• Attending performances 
• Pupil and parent voice 
• Presentations from subject leads 
 
The report continues to support Governors by suggesting key questions to be asked, such as: 
• What are the relative strengths of our music curriculum: what are the areas we need to develop? 
• How does our music curriculum cater for the needs of pupils from all backgrounds and of all abilities? 
• How is music present both within and beyond our curriculum? 
• Are teachers and staff given the professional support and CPD needed to deliver a high quality music education? 
• Do we engage parents and the wider community in our music curriculum, through performance, for example? 

Here are MWC’s top tips on embedding and showcasing music in your school: 

Assemblies 
If your school has assemblies, give students the opportunity to perform either individually or as an ensemble. This could be as the other students enter/leave the assembly or a small performance slot during the assembly 
If none of your students play instruments or sing, playing recorded music as the students come into assembly is a good way to embed music. MWC’s Spotify playlists can help with this! Let us know if you would like playlists on specific themes/genres. 
 
Assemblies / In the classroom 
Ensemble singing is a great energy boost and mood enhancer. Why not write a school song or find songs that are suitable for your school that can be used in assemblies or the classroom. 
 
In the playground 
Encouraging students to take musical activities into the playground could include learning dance routines or body percussion activities, developing rhythms using clapping, stamping, clicking etc. Read our Body Percussion blog for ideas! 
In the classroom 
Think about how you can showcase what your students are achieving in the classroom. Here are some ideas to get you started. 
 
Photograph, audio and video recording 
 
Recording class activity and performances doesn't need to take lots of time. If the recordings are just for internal use, you do not need to spend hours editing images and clips. 
If you end a class with sharing a performance of a piece the pupils have just learnt or sharing their composition, you can audio record or video the performance on a tablet. 
 
Delegate 
 
Classroom management is a challenge and there are always lots of things to do in a music lesson, so could you delegate the recording to the pupils? 
 
For a basic recording of a sharing session on a tablet, ask one of the students to take responsibility for the video. 
Create projects that incorporate recording or performance 
 
Depending on what technology you have access to, consider designing class content that includes an element of showcasing. 
 
This could be getting the students to record their own work or it could be a performance in an assembly or live stream to parents. 
 
Link to careers 
 
If you are discussing careers in Music, don't forget that you don't need to be a performer or even a musician to work in the Music Industry! 
 
Roles in the music industry include video editor, social media manager, PR, Photography. For students who love music but aren't interested in performing, engage them with the behind the scenes elements of putting on a performance, including capturing the shows. 
 
 
Click here to read the report. 
 
Click here to find your local music hub. 
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