Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest

An action research partner - scroll to the end for information about their project.

Why did you become involved with Changing Tracks?

Waltham Forest Music Service first got involved with Changing Tracks (CT) in 2017/18, when we were invited to join the National Working Group. Charly Richardson (then lead at Essex Music Hub) invited us as he knew we were particularly interested in developing our work in this area and were committed to the principles of ED+I. In 2019 we were awarded a small amount of funding to deliver an action research project looking at collaborative practice/developing work in a setting found pupils with SEMH issues. We have always found the shared learning from the action research aspect of the group particularly insightful and the group supportive.

Please summarise the ways in which/areas in which you’re improving equality, diversity and inclusion in your organisation:

  • Development and launch (Jan 2021) of Inclusive Music Strategy and Refreshed EDI Policy
  • Increased EDI monitoring of workforce and stakeholders; increased awareness of EDI focus throughout wider team and additional focus as part of performance management procedures
  • Increased monitoring of diversity of delivery and targeting work how/where the need is
  • Commitment to being an active part of CT group and sharing the learning both within our team and more widely
  • Successful YM MEH fund bid and commitment to prioritise Inclusive work across East London
  • EDI as standing agenda item on both Management Oversight Board and Cultural Education Partnership (which Hub is co-lead for) to increase accountability
  • EDI discussed at middle management meetings – team reflect on EDI aspirations and periodically review position using EDI Self-reflection tool (collectively across the team and at senior leadership level)


Have you been focusing on improving any specific areas of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion? If so, please say what they are

Our main area of delivery and work has been with CCC; most notable our focus on diversifying an offer which meets needs of CYP experiencing challenging circumstances because of SEMH issues, adverse life conditions and who demonstrate challenging behaviour. We have been exploring how best to expand work in partnership with other teams within Early Help and the wider education team.

We have also been strengthening our EYS work with our own EY lead, building and strengthening links with EYs team in the council, and with partners such as Soundcastle who support family music making opportunities.


What difference has your involvement with Changing Tracks made to the work of your music service so far? AND/OR what difference do you hope it will make?

The support that the CT group has given to us has helped strengthen our resolve to build on this type of work, which can be both intensive in terms of resources and narrow in terms of impact. We have feel that there is a real social justice perspective to be gained from a more diverse musical experience/engagement being offered and supported. We are hopeful that we will take further steps to diversify our workforce to lead on more varied aspects of music and musical encounter and that we can build a collaborative and reflective culture around the delivery of our work.

Being part of CT has also meant we have been able to continue the conversations around EDI with a range of partners and colleagues and has given us the opportunity to reflect on and refine our aspirations and delivery. We are committed to this area of work being at the forefront of any future strategic developments.


Please describe your action research project in summary. What is your research question or what do you hope to find out?

The project we ran in 2019-20 started from this question:

‘How can WFMEH use partnership working to train and support a workforce to understand and better meet the musical needs of Young People with Social, Emotional and/or Mental Health issues’

Our aspirations were that the workforce engaging with CYP at a setting for those with SEMH issues would develop the appropriate skills and have increased confidence in working with those in this context of challenging circumstances. A strong focus on self-reflection hoped to establish a team of more reflective practitioners who could take a needs-led approach to supporting and nurturing talent development. Ongoing work at the setting led to a more confident lead tutor who can work in a reflective and adaptive manner, ready to meet the needs of an ever-changing educational landscape. The learning from this project has informed further programming and expansion of reflective practice as a driver for more effective delivery and wider workforce development.

Find out more: https://www.wfmusichub.org/