Ofsted Inpection. Music Deep Dive. February 2024

MUSIC ‘Deep Dive’

Walking into the building I meet a governor busy with blue tac. It’s not going to be a normal day. It never is. Up in the Music Room I remove my weekly timetable from the wall because we don’t want the inspectors to realise that we are not following the usual timetable. Glancing at my emails I read a warning about suspicious men in the area taking photos of children outside schools. Police advice has been emailed to all staff.

At 8.20 all the staff meet the lead inspector and the two other inspectors. “We are here to support you, just do what you normally do” etc. etc. As if! Who is kidding who here?

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A Day in Bradford: Jimmy Rotherham at Feversham Primary Academy

On the 8th of November I took a train to Bradford because I wanted to meet up with primary music teacher Jimmy Rotherham* and see him at work in Feversham Primary Academy (‘fever’ rhymes with sever not as in fever). He has come to national and international prominence as the music teacher of a school where the headteacher pointed to the high-quality and frequent music lessons as the reason for a remarkable improvement in literacy outcomes. The school is in a deprived area of the city with a very high proportion of children who have English as a second language.

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November 2018: An Update

There have only been two articles written on this website over the last twelve months. This is because of the upheaval caused by being moved on from my music-teaching post at Manorfield Primary School in Tower Hamlets in July of 2017.
By April 2017 my headteacher at that school had finally stopped hinting and told me that he would be replacing me with two tutors from the Colourstrings organisation to save the school money. This was a massive blow to me as I had spent the last four years building up the level of musicianship right across the school.

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My Kodály Journey – Part I

I wrote this article for the British Kodály Academy Newsletter (Spring 2011)

1100 words

As a primary school teacher I have always tried to put a lot of music into what I do. Over the years this has included playing guitar and singing with my classes, teaching ‘cello, running a computer music club, leading the school choir and so on. In November 2008 I moved to Forest Gate in Newham, and on my first evening there I read a copy of The Newham Recorder.

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My Kodály Journey – Part II (three years on)

I wrote this article for the British Kodaly Academy’s newsletter (Spring 2014)

1100 words

“…if it is possible to change the world we have not created, that of nature, why not change the world of our own creation, that of culture…?” 1
Paulo Freire

Since writing in the Spring 2011 newsletter about my recent introduction to Kodály music teaching I have completed the BKA’s HE1 and HE3 Methodology courses and worked my way through the Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Musicianship courses with the Kodály Centre of London (David and Yuko Vinden).

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‘Slow Education’ and Music Education

I wrote the following article for the Slow Education movement’s website: http://sloweducation.co.uk/

600 words

Parents, teachers and head teachers are increasingly attracted to ‘slow education’ as the schools they are involved with become more limited in their outlook: a narrow curriculum (e.g. the E-BACC in secondary schools) feeding a test-driven system (e.g. SPAG tests and high stakes SATs in primary schools) where there is little room for reflection and experimentation and, as if to highlight this, a devaluing of the creative arts.

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Music Education in England

An article for the briefing document of the Westminster Education Forum’s Keynote Seminar: ‘The Future of Music Education in England’. 09.12.16

600 words

We heard from numerous organisations on the day: Youth Music, In Harmony, Sistema England, Musical Futures, individual schools, individual authorities and so on. I am encouraged by Westminster Education Forum, in writing this article, to focus on relevant issues “…not your organisation’s achievements or activities”.

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‘Learning Intentions’ vs Unconscious Learning

250 words

I have been very lucky to be offered the chance to teach music across the whole school from Nursery to Year 6. Discovering the Kodály approach has been musically enlightening but also pedagogically reassuring. For the last three years I have been a Year 1 teacher. A major feature of current educational thinking in England, led by Shirley Clarke, Dylan William and others, is the primacy of the explicit ‘Learning Intention’ usually broken down into several ‘Success Criteria’.

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Pupil Profile

This is an essay I wrote about a Year 4 pupil learning music. It’s 2300 words.

Child Profile
‘…Hungarian musical education is not merely a method, rather a philosophy on the role of music in society, in the life of the child, youth and adult.’1
Erzsebet Szonyi

Serkan, aged 9 (d.o.b. 18.12.03), lives with his mother, his father and his younger brother who is in the year below him at school. They all speak Turkish at home.

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