Schools Newsletter April 2023

Please see below for news about our summer programme of events and CPD. In particular please note programme details for our Surrey Schools Music Conference on 21 June, and be sure to book your ticketbefore the Early Bird Discount runs out on the 21 April!!

As always if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch  We wish you a restful and enjoyable spring holiday!

John Stephens

Curriculum Manager Surrey Arts and Lead for Culture Box Surrey


  • – Surrey Music Hub Conference:  Programme Content announced
  • Singing Picnics 2023
  • Secondary School Young Leaders
  • East SAYS let’s start singing our music!
  • Just So Singers
  • Together at Home
  • MusicFirst Young Creative Musician Festival
  • The Primary Singing Toolkit
  • Music Mark: Ofsted Update on Schools
  • CPD Training
  • Royal Opera House Create and Sing
  • Offered: Yamaha Electone Electric Organ

Surrey Music Hub Conference:  Programme Content 

Wednesday 21 June 2023, University of Surrey, Guildford

Surrey Music Hub Conference 2023 is focused on the theme of the new National Plan for Music.  We take the new music strategy’s aims to heart, working with all Surrey Schools to use the Power of Music to Change Lives.  There will be content for all specialist and non-specialist teachers from primary, secondary and special school settings, built around active workshops, forums, discussion groups and focused surgeries. Content will be delivered by leading national providers, alongside our own highly skilled music leaders from Surrey, please see below for further details.

There will be a parallel conference for our ‘youth delegates’ who will learn alongside teachers, take part in performances and reflect on what their music education means to them.

Keynote presentations will come from Prof. Nate Holder, and Christopher Stephens HMI. Nate holder is an advocate for inclusive and anti-racist approaches to music education, if you haven’t heard it before listen to his poem ‘If I were a racist’ . Christopher Stephens is Ofsted’s national lead for music. He has recently shared extremely useful thoughts and advice for teachers on areas such as assessment, mastery and OFSTED deep dives. We are delighted that he will be able to speak directly to our music teachers here in Surrey. Both keynotes will include opportunities for Q&A from delegates.

The conference will take place in the magnificent setting of the University of Surrey with lunch and refreshments provided throughout the day.   Please book your tickets via our eventbrite site here. Early bird tickets are available until Friday 21 April.  

Conference activities will include

Keynote and discussion: The Power of Music to Change Lives, Nate Holder (Professor and International Chair of Music Education at the Royal Northern College of Music)

Keynote and discussion: Christopher Stevens (HMI and OFSTED Subject Lead for music in schools)

Youth delegate programme: will take place in parallel with the main conference. Youth delegates will participate in workshops led by conference workshop leaders, and will interact with the main conference at key points during the day

Secondary Forum: Pathways into the music industry (secondary/P16 focus)

Primary Forum:  Network, case studies, issues and discussion

Forum:  Music in Special Schools and Alternative Settings

Workshop: Musical Futures led by Fran Hannan based on the work of Prof. Lucy Green on ‘How pop musicians learn’ and using online classroom resources (primary and secondary focused sessions).

Workshop: Royal Opera House Primary singing focus exploring storytelling and music through the Royal Opera House’s Create and Sing programme. 

Presentation: Music and Displaced Children and Young People, led by Jim Pinchen from Surrey Arts and Kayte Cable Big Leaf Foundation about joint projects to support children and young people living in Surrey after being displaced due to conflict and/or persecution.

Workshop: From the Classroom to the Cloudcase study from The Windsor Boy’s School about using Music First online resources to support the music curriculum (secondary and primary focused sessions).

Workshop: Inclusive school bands and ensemblesled by Tim Palmer (Trinity Laban and Animate Orchestra).

Workshop: Sing Up, looking at using improvisation in singing as a route into song writing; including vocal percussion/beat boxing within song arrangements) secondary singing focus but also of interest to UKS2.

Workshop: Simple & Effective Audio Recording Techniques for the Classroom led by staff from the University of Surrey Tonmeister course.

Workshop: Royal Opera House Exploring dramatic storytelling and music through ROH Create and Sing. This version of the workshop will focus on work with transition aged students at upper KS2/lower KS3. 

Plenary panel discussion, including student delegate performance.

Singing Picnics 2023

Singing Picnics are back for 2023 and places are filling up quickly and allocated on first-come-first-served basis. We only have places remaining at Runnymede on Wednesday 28 June or Lingfield on Tuesday 11 July, so if you’d like your year 3-5 children to join us for singing in the sunshine, take a look at our website for details of how to apply

Secondary School Young Leaders: We have places available at three of our Singing Picnics for secondary school Young Song Leaders to help lead younger children in singing games alongside our professional team of vocal tutors. For more information, contact Nancy Gillio-Terry, Vocal Strategy Manager at

East SAYS let’s start singing our music!

Surrey Arts has launched a new singing ensemble in Limpsfield, Oxted to give young people aged 8-13 years the opportunity to sing and perform with other enthusiastic singers. Surrey Arts Young Singers (SAYS) is a new singing experience, led by Hannah Carpenter, where students will learn to sing songs from Bach to Beyoncé, combining movement and song, singing all the music they love.  

Area Manager for the East, Yvette Madden says ‘We are really excited about this new singing group as it will give young people based in the east of the county a chance to experience a fun and dynamic singing group and combine music from different genres.  We have an amazing tutor and are looking forward to future performances.’ 

Come and join us in this new adventure under the guidance of our fantastic tutors! No experience is needed, just the love of singing and having fun.  

Age range: 8 – 13 years 

Venue: Hazelwood School, Wolfs Hill, Limpsfield, Oxted RH8 0QU 

Day and time: Saturdays 9am – 10.30am 

Cost: £7.70 a session.  (no extra cost for existing area ensemble members)

Register for East SAYS

Just So Singers

Just So Singers is for those young people who love to sing! Led by experienced conductor Caroline Pearce with assistant teacher Lucy Zirins.  We are an adaptable, welcoming, and wholly inclusive group for young people age 9-19 years in mainstream education, with additional needs and for those attending SEND schools.

Maybe you struggle to feel part of a group, or have additional needs which require a celebratory, friendly, empathetic environment? Well, this vocal ensemble is right for you! We aim to celebrate and bring out the best in each individual, whilst promoting awareness of how to be a ‘team player’ through singing together.

Just So Singers is so much more than a singalong; we build self-esteem by encouraging a ‘can do’ attitude. There is opportunity within our rehearsals to share verbally and vocally, but no pressure to do so if you are not feeling confident that day.  We sing a range of songs, including many well-known ‘pop’ songs. We encourage signing, movement to music and actions, as well as simple percussion parts.

You may read; if so there are the words available to all our songs. You may prefer to learn as you listen and respond in the sessions; that’s great too! You may join in with Makaton signing, BSL or movement to music and that’s very welcome too! Whatever is right for you we will take on board. We believe music is for everyone to enjoy in their own way.

There will be opportunities to sing in front of an audience and build on those team skills developed in sessions: to take turns; work together; listen to each other and understand some of the important performance skills which translate into life skills for

the future.

Age range: 9 – 19 years 

Venue: Philip Southcote School, Weybridge, Addlestone, KT15 2QH

Day and time: Wednesday 3.45-4.45pm

Register for Just So Singers

Together at Home

Together at Home is an inclusive music ensemble for young people aged 9 – 19 who attend Special Schools in Surrey. Whilst there are no specific entry requirements and no audition process, participants need to be comfortable making music with peers and interacting with tutors via Zoom.

Together at Home will be led by a small, yet awesome team of music teachers who are experienced in supporting young people with a wide range of learning needs. Participants will be able to sing, vocalise and play percussion. If you have access to a drum that’s fantastic but not crucial as we will be teaching body percussion and using objects from around the home (don’t worry, not breakable ones!).

Age range: 9 – 19 years 

Venue: Online

Day and time: Tuesdays 5-6pm

Register for Together at Home

MusicFirst Young Creative Musician Festival

For students between 11 and 18 years old.  The only UK school and college composition festival that celebrates ALL genres of music.  Whether your students are classically trained and play an instrument, talented rappers and singer-songwriters or have a keen ear for

mixing sounds to produce unique tracks, the MusicFirst Young Creative Musician Festival

gives your students a platform to share their talents.

Winning students receive a Focusrite studio kit and personalised message from YolanDa, and the school will also receive a license of Soundtrap for Education for one year. MusicFirst are also offering any school who takes part the option to sign up for an extended trial of Soundtrap to use for the duration of the competition, so their students have a DAW to work with.

This is a fantastic opportunity for students and a great project for teachers to get them involved in over the coming. Entries must be submitted by Friday 2 June.  For more information and to sign up, visit


The Primary Singing Toolkit

The Primary Singing Toolkit is a free digital resource for primary music teachers, by the ISM Trust, in partnership with the Voices Foundation and supported by the Schools Music Association (SMA). Discover inspirational and practical singing strategies to enhance your music curriculum, and feel empowered to share the joy of singing with your students. 

Primary Singing Toolkit (

Music Mark: Ofsted Update on Schools

There is a recording now available of Music Mark’s presentation from Christopher Stevens HMI.  The presentation focuses on Ofsted ‘Deep Dives’ on music and should be of great interest to school music leaders.   You can find the recording and presentation slides here: 

Ofsted’s Deep Dives in Music | Music Mark

Early Years Singing 

Wednesday 19 April 15.45-17.15 via Zoom

Audience: EYFS & KS1

Session leaderTake Art

This session will provide an opportunity to develop your skills and confidence in delivering simple songs and instrumental work with very young children.  We will also look at ways of encouraging musical play, supporting it through adult interactions with children, and ways settings can celebrate children’s musical achievements.

Participants will:

·        Gain skills in learning a few appropriate rhymes and simple songs to develop very young children’s musicality 

·        Develop skills to notice and support very young children’s music-making in all areas of your setting

·        Watch and discuss young children’s spontaneous music making and look at ways adults might play creatively with them 

Discuss theoretical information to inform and support our practice, with a brief over-view of musical development of very young children and the benefits of music making in the early years.

Sign up via our CPD events form

Primary Music Network

Wednesday 26 April 16.00-17.30 via Zoom

Audience: Primary 

Session leader: Alex Bondonno

For all primary music teachers and music leaders in Surrey schools to discuss practical ways to provide a music provision in their school. We invite primary schools to present case studies and facilitate discussion on the current challenges, needs and seek to find solutions. This session will include a case study from St Nicholas Primary about First Start Music. We will also be looking at the new ISM and Voices Foundation Primary Singing Resources. Full agenda will be confirmed near the time. Send and points you would like discussed or case study ideas to

Sign up via our CPD events form

An Inclusive Approach to Teenage Vocal Change

Thursday 4 May 15.45-17.15 via Zoom

Audience: Primary and Secondary

Session leader: Suzanne Chadwick

Growth spurts during puberty bring about a period of extraordinary physical growth for both girls and boys which has a dramatic effect in boys’ voices. Girls’ voices also undergo a period of more subtle, but often noticeable, change. Teenagers find that their singing range completely alters and their voice becomes unpredictable, leading to frustration, self-consciousness and ultimately a lack of confidence and reluctance to sing. 

This workshop will provide participants with a clear explanation of the effects of pubertal growth on both boys’ and girls’ voices and the vocal difficulties that are frequently faced by teenagers and those undergoing hormonal change. It will also outline a number of practical strategies and approaches in order to equip teachers and choir directors with ideas for creating an inclusive approach that aims to encourage young people to continue to engage with singing.

Suzanne Chadwick, MA (Music), MA (Voice Pedagogy), is a graduate of the University of St Andrews and the University of Wales Trinity St David. Suzanne is a passionate educator of young singers and combines her many years of performing and teaching experience with an active engagement in voice science and research. She is currently completing a PhD on the subject of the adolescent male voice, and also includes vocal registers, breathing methodology and vocal health in her research interests. Sign up via our CPD events form

Create and Sing CPD Workshops

Thursday 27 April 16.00–17.30 (online)

Tuesday 23 May 13.00–16.00 (in-person)

Audience: Primary School Teachers

Session Leaders: Royal Opera House artists

Create and Sing from the Royal Opera House is coming to Surrey with a NEW and FREE offer for schools to take part in! No previous experience of music or drama is needed for teachers to take part. 

Made specifically for primary school teachers, as part of the Royal Opera House National Schools Program (, it combines: 

You can take part in our practical teacher training in two-parts:

Part 1 online: Thursday 27 April 16.00–17.30 book your FREE place here

Part 2 at Furzefield Primary School, Merstham, Redhill RH1 3PA: Tuesday 23 May 13.00–16.00 book your FREE place here

Alternative Part 2 Session. We will be offering an alternative in-person session in the Autumn Term for teachers who can’t make our May date!  Register your interest via our CPD events form and watch this space!

Once you have completed the Create and Sing CPD training, you are invited to use the resources with your class in the way that best suits you.

Easy to deliver across a half term.  Once your training is complete you will receive termly invites to optional interactive digital workshops, led by Royal Opera House artists, which bookend an optional and flexible 5 lesson scheme of work. Find out more on our website.  

An Introduction to Music and Makaton

Wednesday 24 May 16.00-17.00 via Zoom

Audience: Special schools, music teachers working in SEN settings

Session leader: Jane Allen

This session is aimed at teachers who work using music as a tool to support Children and Young People with Special Needs and Disabilities. During the session the trainer will explore the role of Makaton to support participant’s musical development and inclusion as well as sharing some useful signs and symbols that can be put straight into practice.

Sign up via our CPD events form

Available: Electone Yamaha Electric Organ

Following the relocation of Surrey County Council, this Electone Yamaha Electric Organ was removed from the decommissioned County Hall and now needs a new home.

If anyone knows of anywhere it could be useful, please email