A Case Study of the Changing Tracks Programme at Bramley Park Academy
It’s Monday morning, and a small group of children are gathered around eclectic percussion instruments on the floor, responding to each other to create music that oscillates between tense and calm. They are in a music nurture group, a safe and welcoming little community within school, where they meet weekly with a music teacher and a TA to play games, learn skills, make music and take charge of their session together.
This year, Bramley Park Academy (BPA) and ArtForms took part in the trauma-informed, music nurture group, training programme from Changing Tracks. This is a national project for developing inclusion in music hubs headed by Youth Music and Hertford Music Service. BPA uses music nurture groups as a part of its enrichment and wellbeing offer to pupils who face challenging circumstances at home or in their community and pupils who have additional needs or disabilities. The benefits for the pupils are many, as the groups aim to:
- Provide a safe, kind place for self-expression and communication
- Foster a sense of friendship groups, community and identity
- Help pupils identify and self-regulate tricky emotions
- Enable opportunities to succeed and celebrate achievement
- Provide an avenue for making choices, developing agency and confidence
- Develop musicianship skills
The Changing Tracks programme has helped develop the way that our music nurture groups run. Pupils’ ideas are at the forefront of the sessions, and the camaraderie and decision-making in the groups has led to pupil progress in other areas. The pupils also gain musical skills which they can use in school and follow on with in their community, perhaps at a Saturday Music Centre. The individual attention, and the fun, responsive activities have really made a difference to BPA’s hard-to-reach children and those who need extra support.
Alfie, a pupil, said, “I love being in music and having fun with everyone.”
Teacher Ms Marr remarked, “Cody likes it because it gets his brain working. … Cody likes being creative and likes that he can write his own music. Cody’s confidence has increased since joining the group, show[ing] more interest compared to when he first started.”
SENDCo and Vice Principal Ms Booth commented, “We would love to continue the groups into next year as we feel that it is an amazing intervention for our children and they really enjoy coming.”
ArtForms offers weekly primary and SEND-setting nurture groups through it’s ‘Music sessions for children with additional needs (SEND)’ SLA on Leeds for Learning. Nurture group work is also an option with the one-term 3As programme – a free to schools weekly music morning which is based on the ‘Attend, Attain, Achieve’ plan for Leeds schools and features whole class learning. Through Leeds Music Education Partnership (LMEP, our local music hub), DJ School UK also runs music-tech nurture groups in secondary settings. For more information please email the ArtForms office at email@example.com
The ArtForms SEND Team also teach specially adapted music lessons in class settings and nurture groups as well as in small group instrument lessons. ArtForms also offers music therapy sessions from accredited music therapists—these take place as weekly one-to-one sessions at school. We run an inclusive Christmas Singalong in December (look for an announcement in October) and often team up with LMEP partner YAMSEN to provide performance opportunities and support special events for our pupils with PMLD and learning disabilities. For more information you can email SEND Team Coordinator Joanna Winster at firstname.lastname@example.org.