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Project information

The MAC Rap on Truancy

Improve achievement and school attendance of 20 students from London Academy for whom mainstream education is failing by engaging them through ‘street based’ rap music on their estates. We aim to set up a school based music project led by these young people, supported by extensive ‘street’ outreach.

January 2011 - January 2012

Charity information: MAC-UK

MAC-UK logo
  • Need


    These deprived students, who come from broken and impoverished homes in the borough of Barnet, need support the most but are getting it the least. Many are victims of abuse, rotating through foster families or institutionalised care. Without intervention, their trajectories look bleak: lives of crime, anti-social behaviour and gang involvement; low levels of emotional well-being and school attendance can mean these students fall out of mainstream education and into the criminal justice system.


    Supported by mental health professionals, 2 award winning young people who have changed their lives from ‘crime to grime’ will engage truanting students with ‘street based rap’ to build rapport with this 'unreachable' group. Students will later be asked to help set up and lead a school-based music project, bringing them back into a school environment. Themes raised through the music e.g. gang culture and stress will form the basis of mental health workshops alongside the music.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Establish contact with 20 truanting students on the estates where they “hang out” during school time


    » With the help of staff and pupils at London Academy, identify the places these kids are most likely to be found when truanting.
    » Build rapport with the help of our 2 ’transformed’ music tutors, an outreach worker and clinical psychologist.

    What success will look like

    Students will engage with our team through a variety of sessions and will set out their goals and musical abilities both at the beginning and end of the year.

    Aim 2

    For the truanting students to lead weekly MC and DJ classes at London Academy.


    » Group discussions to gather contributions from young people on the setting up and running of classes.
    » Assign a role to each student, e.g. Head of advertising, head of photography to provide a sense of achievement, self-belief, pride and motivation.
    » Workshops with students to establish a syllabus for sessions.

    What success will look like

    Success will be shown when the first school sessions take place and again when students help to organise an end of year showcase to perform their works to the wider community.

    Aim 3

    Inclusion of truanting students in school activities & improvement of DJ, MC & lyric writing skills


    » DJ and MC classes with our 2 ‘transformed’ music tutors
    » Provision of high quality music making activities and access to recording and production facilities
    » End of year showcase to perform students work

    What success will look like

    London Academy will monitor attendance at school activities and MAC tutors will complete a log at the end of each workshop to monitor pupils’ progress.

    Aim 4

    Identify mental health needs & establish best course of action regarding referral to other services


    » Clinical Psychologist present at weekly classes to monitor all participants and lead mental health discussions informed by the students’ lyrics

    What success will look like

    Mental health and learning needs identified where necessary and appropriate help for the student put into action with both the school and other wider services.

  • Impact


    Improved social and psychological well-being of students, evident through behaviour and prosocial interactions. Increased awareness of where and how to seek help for problems demonstrated by their uptake of support and self-reported knowledge. Increased motivation to engage in education, training and after school activities, demonstrated by their continued involvement in the project long term. Ultimately, success will be achieved by students returning to full-time education.


    As the young people come from such challenging backgrounds, the biggest risk to the project is failure to engage with them on their “level”. We will overcome this risk by approaching the students through our peer music leaders, who themselves come from very similar backgrounds and have an excellent track record of engagement of hard-to-reach youth. They will help to breakdown the perception that we are another branch of the social services/education services, whom they may distrust.


    Donors will receive Tutors’ evaluations and feedback/comments from the young people. Donors will also be invited to attend showcases throughout the year. If the young people are willing, we will also create a blog which can be regularly updated by the team and students and accessed by donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £14,189

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £2,034 Salaries for 2 music tutors at £50.85 per 90 minutes x 40 weeks (3 terms) (* All salaries include employers’ oncosts at 13%)
      £2,034 Music outreach worker salary at £50.85 per 90 minutes x 40 weeks (3 terms) (* All salaries include employers’ oncosts at 13%)
      £4,520 Music outreach worker salary at 1 day per week @ £22600 pro rata (* All salaries include employers’ oncosts at 13%)
      £3,050 Clinical Psychologist salary at £76.27 per 90 minutes x 40 weeks (3 terms) (* All salaries include employers’ oncosts at 13%)
      £1,423 Management costs at 20% of the above (to supervise and support project)
      £1,128 Staff travel & Refreshments Travel for 3 staff at £13.20 per week x 40 weeks (3 terms) & refreshments for 'street therapy'
  • Background


    The MC and DJ sessions will take place at the London Academy which serves some of the most socially deprived wards in the country. Over half of the students are from minority ethnic groups. A similar percentage has learning difficulties and/or disabilities including speech and communication difficulties, a proportion which is much higher than in most secondary schools. Street based outreach will take place on the Broadfields and Graham Park Estates.


    The peer to peer learning approach will benefit the tutors and students as well as the local community. Public music performances will help to breakdown barriers which exist between some of our most challenging and vulnerable young people and the local community who might have been victims of youth crime. By engaging young people in positive activity they will be diverted from crime, antisocial behaviour, graffiti and truancy thus benefiting the local community and potential victims of crime.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    MAC-UK uses a new and pioneering approach led by young people and has already developed 2 Youth Music funded partnerships with local schools. MAC-UK has won a staggering 3 awards in its first 2 years and has received considerable press coverage. MAC-UK is supported by a phenomenal team of professionals from mental health and youth work backgrounds and is overseen by a diverse Board of Trustees which includes two young people from the successful Music and Change project.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Charlie Alcock

    • Clinical Psychologist, Founder & CEO • Extensive experience working with adults & young people with mental heath needs • Will oversee project

    Andrew Hogan

    • Mini MAC Outreach worker • support project's day to day running • mentor to tutors • extensive schools' experience • experienced musician

    Mark Chentite (Big Hef)

    • experienced Peer Tutor • MC who is mentored by EMI • won the 2010 National Attlee Award for ‘Outstanding Potential as a Youth Worker’

    Lajdi Salaisi (Rachet)

    • experienced Peer Tutor • award winning DJ mentored by EMI • spent the last 2 years turning his own life around & inspiring young people he teaches