Where do I start with inclusion?
MNE’s Lyndall Rosewarne shares her top tips for music services to answer the question – Where Do I Start with Inclusion?
- Start small – think about what you currently deliver (First Access, one to one lessons, ensembles etc) – could you develop inclusion within this offer? For example, could you offer a follow on musical nurture group for vulnerable children after their first access experience?
- Work with supportive partners. If you have a school or setting you enjoy working with, invite them to help you develop an inclusive offer. Could you partner to target hard-to-reach parents and children with a family music activity? Heads of Music and SENCOs can also work with you to try out initiatives to boost numbers taking up remission of fees or who come to a supportive music group at lunchtime or afterschool. They can also help you measure the effect you are having-this can lead to more funding. Could you partner with a school to target hard-to-reach parents and children with a family music activity?
- Spend time developing staff – some of your staff will already be working to build children’s confidence and collaboration in their activities (personal and social outcomes). Many of them will be keen to learn more about supporting vulnerable children through their work but they may not have told you this yet. Provide training but also spend time on critical reflection: Do, Review, Improve. This will help tutors and leader find their own way to nurture children while enabling their music making.
- Find a way to make SEND information available for tutors and leaders. Without knowing the issues children are facing, staff may inadvertently exclude them. This knowledge may also prompt staff to find out more about how to support someone with Asperger’s Syndrome for example, or find a way to help someone in a wheel chair play the drums.
- Listen to children. Most vulnerable children don’t want another intervention but they do want to learn to play and sing the music that they like. Your team can enable them to do this and in the process support their confidence, self-expression and resilience.
- Don’t be put off. Vulnerable children’s lives are often subject to sudden change. This often manifests in dropping out or non-attendance. You may have to put resource into finding children who have not turned up, encouraging them to come regularly or negotiating with other staff at the setting to ensure they make it to music.
What are your top tips for developing inclusion in your practice? How do you address the question “Where Do I Start with Inclusion?