Case Study: White Rock Primary School


Louise Sage of White Rock Primary School, Paignton, answers some questions about the impact that Charanga’s Musical School has had on the school’s music provision.

How would you characterise the school and what are its main challenges?

Three-form entry plus a nursery department. Excellent provision for children with special educational needs. Cross section of community.

How would you describe music in the school before Musical School was adopted?

The majority of teachers were not confident in delivering music. They lacked the musical skills and/or confidence. They also did not know the best places to access resources from or how best to use the instruments that we have.

What impact has Musical School had on the pupils?

The following are direct quotes from our teaching staff from EYFS-Year 6:

It has had a huge impact on the children’s learning as we now have a weekly music lesson and the children in my class have progressed from not being able to play the recorder to playing four notes in a sequence to music.

Last year, I used the creative apps in the Freestyle section to record notation with my Year 4 class. The children have loved learning the songs and playing the instruments which accompany them. I have found that those children in the class who lack confidence have shone during the use of Charanga. It was a really interactive way to develop group work, negotiating skills and it was an easy way to assess those children with natural timing and those who needed more assistance with this.

Within the class (this year and last year), I have used the new Scheme – I have found children particularly enjoyed the practical elements of the Scheme (the movement activities linked with finding pulse), the wide variety of music genres (Rap, Rock etc) and opportunities to use musical instruments. For example my Year 3 class were able to perform the ‘Three Little Birds’ song in assembly thanks to Charanga as we were able to learn notes together. With my limited musical knowledge this would not have been possible.

I found the best sessions were the ones where I could introduce accompanying instruments along with singing, as the children responded very positively to the opportunity to do more than just sing. This also improved their ‘musicality’ and appreciation of sounds, rhythm and melody. I always warm up with a vocal lesson from the site before the actual lesson; the children respond very positively to this and it sets the tone for the entire session.

What impact has Musical School had on the staff?

The following are direct quotes from our teaching staff from EYFS-Year 6:

When planning, I simply choose a vocal lesson as a starter, then download the planning of whatever session I choose; I sometimes follow the timetable outlined on the site, or choose from the individual session list.

When I have used Charanga I mainly use the theme planning but I have dipped into KS2 topics as well. I have found the Charanga website user friendly and very easy to follow. I used Classroom Jazz 1 from the KS2 Units of Work with Years 3 and 4 because last term they were looking at North America and the Jazz music used in this section fitted in really well. Also Year 3 have done a couple of lessons from the KS2 topics section on the Romans.

I used the creative apps rhythm grids and our percussion instruments in year two, we made up our own space music (linked to the year group space theme) creating their own rhythms depending on which type of instrument they had access to and what sound they wanted to achieve. In Year 4 last year, I made use of the grid for children to follow and create their own rhythms through body percussion as well as singing.

In terms of PSHE, I used the ‘Stop Bullying’ rap from the Y4 Scheme to link our learning from anti-bullying week to some cross-curricular learning. Charanga gave me the confidence to teach the detailed musical elements of the curriculum with confidence. I think it’s a great resource for helping teachers who have limited musical knowledge, they feel capable of teaching a lesson.

What are your plans for music going forward?

To ensure that any gaps of teachers’ knowledge is plugged with additional CPD sessions by myself (music specialist). We are in the beginning stages of linking with a nursing home and taking music workshops into the home each week. To ensure that all children in the school show progression of musical skills from EYFS-Year 6. To ensure that all members of staff feel confident in the use of Charanga and assist them in linking this to their class/Year group theme. To continue to promote high-quality professional performances visiting our school.