Volume 5 (1) 2013 – Article
What Happens When the Musicians Leave? Case Study of a Jessie’s Fund Project to Develop Teachers’ Skills and Confidence
This article describes a project delivered by Jessie’s Fund, a UK charity which supports children through music therapy and creative music work. The project took place between January and July 2012 and involved staff and pupils from a special school in the north of England. The article describes briefly how music is delivered in special schools across the UK and explains some of the challenges Jessie’s Fund has faced in having a lasting impact on how schools cover the music curriculum for children with complex needs. In 2012 Jessie’s Fund partnered with a special school in the north of England to design a new approach which focused intensively on the development needs of staff. Jessie’s Fund musicians visited pairs of staff over a period of six months to build their skills and confidence in leading music sessions with their pupils. The project was considerably more effective than some previous ‘musician-led’ activities and had a significant, whole-school impact. This article describes the work that took place, the responses from the staff involved and how Jessie’s Fund intends to use this learning for future projects.
music; children; special needs; complex needs; special school; consultation; staff training
Tom Northey is the Soundtracks Project Manager at Jessie’s Fund, a UK registered charity helping children with additional and complex needs through the use of music. Jessie’s Fund works with children in hospices, special schools and in other settings nationwide, giving them access to music-making and to music therapy.