[NEWS] Announcing the 17 music services piloting inclusive creative musical nurture groups this Autumn

Seventeen music services from across England will be piloting an innovative programme of inclusive music work with vulnerable young people in primary schools this Autumn. The projects are part of the Changing Tracks national programme run by Hertfordshire Music Service and funded by Youth Music.  

The pilot is a rollout of a programme pioneered by Hertfordshire Music Service to reduce school exclusions. The aim is to help other music services to grow their understanding and skills in inclusive music work, and to support music tutors to develop new skills for working with children facing barriers to music and learning. The projects will run for six months, in one primary school per organisation.

What is a music nurture group? 

A music nurture group is a weekly 30-minute creative instrumental music session for three-five young people in a primary school. Participants are identified by the school SENCO as being vulnerable and at risk of poor outcomes due to mental health, behaviour or general confidence difficulties. The aim is to provide a calm and nurturing environment where children can build their resilience and agency and develop a sense of belonging. 

The Hertfordshire Music Service nurture group model draws on learning from previous Changing Tracks work in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), that children become excluded from school due to early difficulties preventing them settling into school, socialising and learning. Creative music nurture groups can help address this preventatively (of much interest to local authorities who often host music services),  and can offer a way to embed inclusive practice within mainstream workforce development. 

Who’s involved? 
The music services who successfully applied for funding from Changing Tracks to pilot the nurture group programme in their local area, are: 

Bury Music; Calderdale Music Trust; Milton Keynes Music Hub; Dorset Music Service;  Merton Music Foundation; Lambeth Music Service; Sunderland Music Hub; Severn Arts (Worcestershire); Peterborough Music Hub; West Sussex Music; Wakefield Music Services;  East Riding Schools’ Music Service; SoundStorm Music Education Agency (Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole); Waltham Forest Music Education Hub;  Cornwall Music Service Trust; NMPAT (Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust); Liverpool Resonate. 

Music service inclusion managers and tutors will receive support and resources from the Changing Tracks team, including guidance on how to set up, run and evaluate a music nurture group; training in the impact of trauma on learning; and regular critical reflection sessions – a space for tutors to share learning and advice and support each other. 

Outcomes will be shared through the Changing Tracks website, and the National Working Group for Musical Inclusion. 

Find out more about nurture groups in the Nurture Groups resource section on our website, and sign up to our enewsletter or follow us on socials for inclusion resources and insights for and from music services. 

Changing Tracks is a programme of peer support and learning for and with music services wanting to improve equality, diversity and inclusion. It is run by Hertfordshire Music Service and funded by Youth Music as part of the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England. It was previously called MusicNet East. We help music services to be more inclusive by providing peer networks – one of which is facilitated by Music Mark  – training and consultancy, advice and resources.

Find out more about us, or check out the other resources and blogs on this site for more helpf for music services, and visit the AMIE Musical Inclusion Resource Hub for more inclusion tools and guidance, blogs, videos, and case studies.

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