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Wednesday, January 21, 1998 Published at 12:47 GMT



UK

Singing improves pupils' performance
image: [ Children have become better behaved since teachers began singing to them in school ]
Children have become better behaved since teachers began singing to them in school

Teachers at 70 British primary schools have joined an experimental scheme to improve the performance of their pupils - by singing to the children in lessons.

Organisers of the scheme say the project brings a whole new dimension to classroom learning and they are hailing it as a success.

Under the scheme, set up by the charity The Voices Foundation, teachers take part in a special course to teach them how to take more music and singing into the life of the school.

Young children are then encouraged to sing as much as possible during lessons - including English and maths.


[ image: Pupils are encouraged to sing the answer to sums in maths classes]
Pupils are encouraged to sing the answer to sums in maths classes
At the Oxford Gardens primary school, west London, music has played a prominent role in the school's curriculum, taking an important place alongside the 'three Rs', ever since the school teamed up with The Voices Foundation.

Teachers have found the project so successful that in some classes they only need to sing to restore order behind the desk.

Children sing their two and three times tables in maths classes, appear happier and even go home and sing to their families, say the scheme's organisers.


Children from Oxford Gardens school singing their lessons (1' 32)
While it all may seem like a lot of fun for the children, and a little embarrassing for some of the croaky-voiced teachers, the people behind the project say it can have a huge benefit on a pupil's education.


[ image: Susan Digby is leading the campaign for more singing in schools]
Susan Digby is leading the campaign for more singing in schools
Susan Digby, of The Voices Foundation, which set up the scheme, hopes to see 2000 schools taking part in the scheme within 10 years.

"Singing and making music is undervalued in our culture in general," she said. "I think in many schools it is quite hard, given the resources, to implement it in anyway that it has a substantial part in school life."

The staff at Oxford Gardens have seen more academic success and an improvement in pupils' behaviour.

Headteacher, Liz Rayment-Pickard, said: "I do feel foolish but it is just one of those things that is so enjoyable and so much fun.

"As a school we have got so much out of the project that it is worth feeling a bit foolish for a few minutes to move yourself and the institution along."


[ image: School pupils say they have enjoyed singing during lessons]
School pupils say they have enjoyed singing during lessons
Music has long been seen as a valuable educational tool and it features in the British National Curriculum for pupils aged between five and 11.

Teachers are required to ensure that their pupils can sing, play some music and understand it as a form of communication.

But schools nationally say that they have not got enough resources to provide the specialist teachers that pupils need.
 





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