School Standards Minister visits Wendell Park Primary

Miliband recognises musical strengths of borough and its schools

School Standards Minister, David Miliband (right), and the government’s new music champion, Marc Jaffrey, join the choir at Wendell Park Primary School, in Shepherd's Bush

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The success of the borough’s music service and local schools in widening access to music education were highlighted last Wednesday with a visit by School Standards Minister, David Miliband, and the government’s new music champion, Marc Jaffrey, to Wendell Park Primary School, in Shepherds Bush.

Wendell Park Primary gained an Artsmark Silver award from the Arts Council earlier this year for their commitment to music, drama and other arts subjects both during and after school. After-school music clubs run at the school three nights of the week – one of which is run with the council’s music service. The school is helping to deliver a borough-wide commitment to offering all children in years three and four the chance to learn a musical instrument, in line with the government’s Music Manifesto.

Mr Miliband and Mr Jaffrey were in Hammersmith & Fulham to promote the government’s commitment to music education. Mr Miliband announced a further £30 million funding over three years nationally as well as Mr Jaffrey’s appointment to lead the development of the government’s Music Manifesto launched this summer. They heard Wendell Park Primary’s outstanding choir and met staff, parents, the co-ordinator of the council’s music service and local politicians to discuss music provision in the school and the borough as a whole.

Simon Robinson, headteacher of Wendell Park Primary School, said: “Music and the arts are highly valued at Wendell Park by children and staff and we see arts subjects and activities as an important way of raising pupils’ aspirations and attainment. We aim to provide a rich musical experience both within the curriculum and outside the school day. Part of the strength of being in Hammersmith & Fulham is the strong partnership work with the council’s music service as well as charitable organisations and professional musicians.”

The council’s music service runs two youth choirs, a youth ensemble and a youth orchestra as well as four after-school music centres, a Saturday Centre for Young Musicians and school rock and samba bands. The music service has just celebrated the first anniversary of a pioneering partnership with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which has given young musicians the chance to perform at prestigious venues such as the Barbican. This was celebrated at Hammersmith Town Hall last week, when the entire BBCSO performed for an invited audience of young musicians, community music groups and other guests. The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio Three.

Cllr Andrew Slaughter, leader of the council, said: “The quality of music provision in the borough is something we are very proud of. Children are given a wealth of opportunities to sing, learn instruments and perform in imaginative and exciting projects, thanks to the creativity and energy of schools such as Wendell Park Primary and the council’s music service. We are glad this commitment has been recognised by the government and grateful for the support of the BBC, Youth Music and other partners who are helping us to give children and young people from all backgrounds a chance to participate in music making and performance.”

As well as giving pupils the chance to learn an instrument and take part in after-school music tuition through the widening opportunities element of the Music Manifesto, Wendell Park Primary is also among the borough’s schools which are providing professional development for teachers to improve music provision.


November 28, 2004