Project information

Creative Music in Neighbourhood Schools

An innovative series of creative music projects in six mainstream and special educational needs schools in Tower Hamlets, offering creative learning and performance opportunities to disadvantaged children ages 4 to 16 – fostering creativity, raising aspirations and building community cohesion.

December 2016 - August 2017

Charity information: Spitalfields Music

Spitalfields Music logo
  • Need


    Tower Hamlets continues to face significant challenges around child poverty, educational aspiration and cultural integration. Funding cuts and increased pressure on school time have led to a decline in opportunities for children to access creative learning experiences which underpin their personal and educational development. Research indicates that children who have high levels of arts engagement do better academically and attain more positive outcomes in civic engagement.


    Enable 4-16 year olds in mainstream and special educational needs (SEN) schools to develop their confidence, creativity and life skills through projects including:
    • A series of interactive music workshops and concerts in and out of school
    • Creative music and performance projects for pupils from SEN and mainstream primary schools
    • Bespoke singing and musical play sessions in nursery and reception classes
    All led by professional artists and music leaders.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Build music and arts skills of 1,400 children in order to develop their creativity and imagination.


    » Deliver in and out of school music and arts projects to 1,400 children in primary, secondary and SEN settings and in nursery and reception classes.
    » Use composition, guided listening, performance, singing, musical play and creative learning sessions across the projects.
    » Create bespoke workshops and performance opportunities in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Music.
    » Increase access to music experiences that many children in Tower Hamlets would not normally encounter.

    Pupils will have demonstrably enhanced arts skills and knowledge, and increased confidence in their own creative abilities.

    Aim 2

    Inspire confidence and improve self-esteem in children from SEN and mainstream education settings.


    » Reach 1,400 pupils through engagement in creative projects and attendance at concerts during our bi-annual festivals.
    » Give 125 pupils the opportunity to perform in a joint public performance at the Royal Academy of Music alongside RAM students.
    » Develop communication skills of 45 children with special educational needs through composition and performances.

    We will undertake an evaluation reporting quantitative and qualitative feedback from all participants to measure the success of these activities.

    Aim 3

    Build strong bonds between parents and their children through music.


    » Deliver workshops in nurseries and reception classes to develop language and social skills of 4 and 5 year olds through singing and musical play.
    » Build skills and enjoyment of singing for young children.
    » Engage with parents to increase awareness of the benefits of singing and music making for a child’s development.
    » Support parents who lack confidence in music to bring singing, music and arts activities into their home.

    Parents will have attended workshops culminating in a musical celebration open to all nursery and reception class parents, and will be asked to complete a feedback questionnaire.

    Aim 4

    Encourage interaction between children from different backgrounds by removing barriers to engagement


    » Support peer learning and mentoring within SEN settings, focusing on integration of pupils into mainstream settings.
    » Bring together 7-11 year olds with and without special education needs for a music and community engagement project.
    » Encourage awareness of all our in-school projects amongst participants’ extended families and the wider community.
    » Create opportunities for both SEN and mainstream pupils to share a public performance and interact with each other through preparation and rehearsal.

    We will have brought pupils from diverse backgrounds together, showcasing how pupils of all abilities can work together to produce inspiring and engaging music.

  • Impact


    Our Neighbourhood Schools programme is a continuing strategic initiative, looking at new ways of working with primary, secondary and SEN schools, connecting the community with its educational establishments and encouraging integration between SEN and mainstream pupils.

    We will compile a clear statistical analysis of the work that we have undertaken which compares our work across projects and includes questions about the difference to wellbeing and aspirations that our projects have made.


    All workshop leaders and musicians involved in the programme will undergo DBS checks to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants. Additionally, all staff and stewards working on our projects will be briefed on specific health and safety/child safeguarding issues, and will have had to read Spitalfields Music’s Child Protection Policy (reviewed every year).


    Donors will:
    - Receive a report on the activity at the end of the programme.
    - Receive any material created, for example video and audio files.
    - Be kept up to date through our website, social networks and blog.
    - Be invited to attend showcases and public events connected to the programme.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £88,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £38,000 Project Leaders 16 Project Leaders (devising, planning, evaluating) for workshops, concerts and training sessions
      £27,000 Artistic costs Supporting workshop leaders, artists and musicians
      £8,000 Staff Project management, technical & Front of House team, community liaison and chaperones
      £5,500 Evaluation & Communications Monitoring and evaluation, marketing support and materials (online, print, photography, video)
      £9,500 Materials Equipment, transport, materials, technical & musical instrument hire, venue hire
  • Background


    The projects will target children in Tower Hamlets – one of the UK’s most diverse and vibrant boroughs, and yet one of the most deprived: it continues to have the highest rate of child poverty in the UK, in combination with one of the fastest growing youth populations.
    Research has shown that 5 year olds in Tower Hamlets are likely to have a low educational development.
    In the four mainstream schools we will work with 88% of pupils do not speak English as a first language.


    - Around 1400 4-16 year olds across six Tower Hamlets schools (four mainstream and two SEN schools)
    - Parents and families of participants
    - 61 teaching and support staff
    - Members of the local community and wider arts audiences who will attend performances

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We run one of the most extensive Learning and Participation programmes attached to a festival in the UK, and have done so for twenty seven years.
    Our Neighbourhood Schools programme, established in 2008, works with several local schools each year. We have a renowned track record of delivering successful, tailored and high quality arts projects in SEN and mainstream settings. This work is highly valued by the Head Teachers and staff, and they have strongly expressed the need for it to continue.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Bea Hankey

    Bea will oversee planning and delivery of the project as our Programme Director. She has over 15 years’ experience in leading arts education projects.

    Kathryn Allnutt

    Kathryn will be the project manager and has 8 years' experience in delivering arts and music performances and workshops

A video from a 2015 Neighbourhood Schools project