Sing Up was established in 2007 and aimed to raise the status of singing and increase opportunities for school children throughout the country to enjoy singing as part of their everyday lives.
Innovative project - innovative evaluation approach
This was a challenging and fascinating evaluation to undertake. The project was multi-stranded, had many participants in multiple projects and, by its very nature, generated data in a range of formats. CUREE drew on around 100 reports completed by schools, music organisations and their partnerships. But we had also to look at newspaper articles, audio, video and a range of other multi-meida sources to find out about the impact of the programme. In order to provide real life descriptions illustrating the evaluation findings, this work was complemented by a number of site visits to primary schools and other settings working with SEN and vulnerable children. Not least of the challenges was time - the entire evaluation was completed in under three months.
What did the teachers and schools do?
Teachers and leaders involved in the programme incorporated singing into school life in a range of ways. In addition to music lessons and whole school activities, such as assemblies and choirs, singing took place in lessons across the curriculum through using:
- 5 minute singing activities in ‘spare moments’ such as transitions between lessons;
- singing assemblies;
- a song as a stimulus for a topic;
- songs as a way of enhancing language learning (both in the pupils’ own languages and for learning modern foreign languages). For example pupils in some schools learnt French songs.
What was the impact of the programme?
The evaluation found that the pupils involved:
- made clear advances in their singing skills;
- showed improved confidence, self-esteem and enjoyment of singing and greater social cohesion; and
- benefitted from singing across the curriculum which resulted in greater recall of facts and improved language and mathematics skills.
Teachers involved in the programme found that the training and resources:
- built their confidence to attempt singing with their pupils;
- helped to improve their own singing knowledge and skills, and ability to teach these; and
- enabled them to gain knowledge of how to use singing to promote speech and language development.
What are some of the possible implications for schools?
- There was specific evidence that music is strongly linked with speech, language and communication development including the learning of modern foreign languages. Teachers and schools may like to consider the extent to which they use singing to support learning in this area.
- There was evidence that singing promoted pupils’ enjoyment of learning and school and could increase their motivation and engagement. Schools may wish to consider how singing could be used as a strategy to improve learners’ wellbeing and increase their participation.
To find out more about Sing Up initiatives in schools nationally, click here.
Using the evidence from numerous Sing Up projects as well as the data from several multi-method case studies, CUREE synthesised the outcomes and learning emerging across the programme in the reports below.
- Synthesis Report including Executive Summary
- Themed Reports:
11) Youth Leadership