Primary school attains remarkable results by teaching music to children

The importance of teaching music to children at schools

Creative subjects are “demonstrably more effective than drilling Sats papers”

A primary school in Bradford is attributing a large part of its academic success to the fact that children are being taught music up to six hours a week, according to a recent report on the Guardian website.

The article by Josh Halliday centres on Feversham primary academy, where the headteacher Naveed Idrees has embedded music, drama and art into much of a typical school day.

Academic results are described as “remarkable” – and the headline statistics certainly appear to tell a rather compelling story. They include:-

  • 74% of its pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (the national average is 53%).
  • The school is 7.1 points above the average for reading and 3.4 above for writing.
  • The school is also 6.5 points above the national average for reading, having been 2.4 behind it.

This is all the more remarkable when taking into account the fact that seven years ago the school was in special measures – and that 99% of its 510 children speak English as a second language.

Essential for pupil progress

The report quotes the school’s music coordinator, the “energetic” Jimmy Rotheram, who is reported as saying

“My hope is that headteachers and people holding purse strings, possibly even the people who make important decisions in the government, will read about our school and realise that creative subjects are not mere add-ons but essential for the progress of all pupils.”

Children begin with musical games, learning “rhythm, hand signs and movement”, something that is far more effective than cramming in extra maths or English because “the kids hate learning” said headteacher Naveed Idrees.

How to improve the school results: not extra maths but music, loads of it »