SEND Music Provision

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By Lindsay Thomas
on 29 January, 2017

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Quality Music Experience for All Children

An overview of One Education's SEND music provision

Prior to my current role, I taught music and physical education for fifteen years in special schools. In November, I delivered an overview of inclusion and SEND music in Manchester for Arts Council England music hub relationship managers.

Inclusion & SEND Music in Manchester

One Education Music are a major delivery partner for the Manchester Music Education Hub – MyHub. We work in partnership with schools to deliver the National Plan for Music Education.

This includes comprehensive needs analysis through audits of provision and school music education visits. Our principles reflect the SEND Code of Practice 2015, which provides statutory guidance for organisations, such as publishing a local offer and short break statement. Music education can and should be inclusive.

SEND Code of Practice 2015

Our vision for children with special educational needs and disabilities is the same as for all children and young people – that they achieve well in their early years, at school and in college, and lead happy and fulfilled lives.

There is a strong focus on aspirations and improving outcomes for young people with SEND. The National Plan for Music Education has a similar vision, reminding hubs that all children are the priority.

The core and extension roles are the same as in mainstream schools, but these can be differentiated and achieved in multiple ways. For example: an annual festival can be a multi-sensory event targeted at young people with learning difficulties; a singing event can incorporate sing and sign; a music network meeting can facilitate a SEND network with appropriate activities.

Recognise the Diversity of SEND

It’s important to recognise the diversity of SEND, although there will be some generic good teaching strategies in common. Mary Isherwood, a Manchester SEND Headteacher, often says “good teaching for SEND children is good teaching for all children”.

One Education consider different needs and settings, and will support staff with signposting suitable activities for young people to attend inside and outside of school.

One Education Music visits schools as part of the school engagement plan for music hubs. Each visit consists of a supportive conversation based on a document outlining features of good music education practice in schools. This document was devised by the One Education / Manchester Music Hub teacher network. Schools adapt these documents for their own use, including self-reflection and a personal audit of the current provision, which can inform future strategic planning.

Accessible ViolinWe also audited our own out of school music provision at music centres and as a result, piloted targeted SEND activities at the north and south music centres which have now become embedded in our weekly activities. One of our colleagues who delivers “Saturday Sounds” music club, Billy Payne, recently won an award from Drake Music for designing an accessible violin.

Partnership Projects for SEND Music

One Education Music are also commissioned by other organisations to deliver workshops as part of partnership projects. The Bridgewater Hall run an inclusive holiday project for families called “Be Hear Now”, which features a live music performance from “Live Music Now” musicians, followed by workshops delivered by a One Education Music associate, Beth Bishop. This is a good example of hub partners working together to provide regular holiday projects for young people with SEND and their families.

For me, the most important way to develop a quality music experience is to go to different settings, talk to young people, parents / carers, their teachers, workers and school leaders and assess what is wanted, what is needed, and what we need to find out more about to improve our offer.

If you would like more information on our music services, please contact the One Education Music team on 0844 967 1111.

Comments (4)

  • Lindsay Thomas avatar

    Lindsay Thomas

    Thanks for your encouraging comment. I feel fortunate to work with so many committed music teachers and in an area that recognises that SEND schools have always faced additional funding challenges. The music education hub do respond and offer additional grants.

  • Deborah Leigh avatar

    Deborah Leigh

    I am delighted to see that you are still carrying the banner for SEND pupils and music making in these times of funding cuts and curricular constraints. Your contribution has gone from strength to strength. Great article!

  • Lindsay Thomas avatar

    Lindsay Thomas

    I sincerely appreciate your kind response. Giving all children and young people a chance to find out what they enjoy in addition to developing talent will always be a focus for me.

  • Joan Holt avatar

    Joan Holt

    Very good article Lindsay. You've always been an inspiration to all teachers and children you've been involved with. Manchester music services are in very good hands.

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