About the Voices Foundation
To enable all children to realise their full potential through a singing-based music curriculum, and to influence national perception of the vital importance of music in education
What we do
We are a music education charity working closely with the Government, Local Authorities and Schools to deliver sustainable solutions to teaching music at a Primary level.
We offer In School Programmes, professional development training for both classroom teachers and specialists, and provide expert resource material.
Our work with the Department for Education (formerly the DCSF)
Over the years, The Voices Foundation has helped to influence leaders in the field of music education as well as government, to make singing a vital part of every child’s entitlement. Susan Digby has served on the Government’s Music Manifesto working group and also supported Marc Jaffrey (Music Manifesto Champion) in developing the current emphasis on singing in schools. The Voices Foundation has also been involved in the KS3 working group which has resulted in a current nationwide programme of support being delivered to music services. In 2004/5 the DfES (now the DfE) provided The Voices Foundation with a major grant which funded a Primer Project in 16 new schools in Southwark, Bolton and North Devon.
In 2007, we were chosen to deliver a DCSF Children's Centres pilot project, running over 3 years, which involves training Early Years practitioners in our methodology and approach, and selecting suitable trainees to instruct and support colleagues in other EY settings within the piloting Local Authorities. This sustainable, "ripple-effect " approach echoes the ethos behind our in-school programmes.
Our work within Sing Up, the Music Manifesto's National Singing Programme
Following its launch in November 2007, we had a close association with Sing Up, the Government-funded initiative which aimed to put singing back into the heart of primary schools. From November 2007 to March 2008, we delivered Singing Steps, our newly devised short workshop programme, in 50 primary schools across England.
In August 2008 we were appointed one of Sing Up's 5 Flagship organisations for 2008-10, to help represent, develop and disseminate best practice in singing with primary aged children.
Partnerships with independent schools
We have recently begun working in partnership with King's College School in Wimbledon, to support their involvement with music in state schools within the local community. Key staff within the Music Department have attended our London 5-Day Methodology Course, and since the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year, the school has:
- hosted - and financed - professional development training sessions for music teachers and co-ordinators in south west London and northern Surrey
- provided sponsorship for a two-year in-school programme to run at Abbotsbury Primary, a state school in the locality
We are keen to develop further partnership schemes with schools in the independent sector, and would welcome enquiries to explore possible options.
Partnerships with choirs
In the 2010-11 academic year, we began an exciting collaboration with The Bach Choir, supporting this prestigious choir’s Outreach Programme in schools within the London Boroughs of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea. The Bach Choir’s Outreach team visits each school on a termly basis, running choral workshops and preparing the children for a major performance in 2012 of The Angry Planet, a new work commissioned by The Bach Choir from leading composer Bob Chilcott.
Our remit has been to support the Choir’s work through in-school music education training for all classroom teachers in these schools; in turn, the teachers have helped to nurture pupils’ musicianship skills as they work towards the performance.
I have no doubt that the work of The Voices Foundation is contributing greatly to the delivery of arts education in those schools that take part in the programme
Tansy Jones, Artsmark Officer, Arts Council England