Children and staff from fifteen academies within Focus-Trust – a charitable primary multi-academy trust based in the North West of England – have participated in a Music Festival in celebration of music designed to showcase the musical talents of their pupils and encourage further interest in the arts.
Led by the Head of Music at Thornhill Junior and Infant School, Peter Simons, the Music Festival brought together children from fifteen Focus-Trust academies to perform a choir or instrumental piece at the Sheridan Suite in Manchester.
Over 380 children in total performed songs including I’m Still Standing by Elton John, Hound Dog by Elvis Presley and The Tide is High by Blondie, with Thornhill’s ‘Rock School’ band acting as the backing music for the event.
The Rock School band also performed A Voice We All Share – written by Peter Simons about the core values of the Focus-Trust; fair, care, share and dare.
Music and creative subjects are high on the agenda for Thornhill, which incorporates both singing and instrument lessons such as the recorder and the ukulele into its curriculum, providing each pupil with at least one hour of music lessons each week.
Key to a ‘well-rounded education’, Peter hopes that other primary schools throughout the UK will follow suit and maintain music as a core curriculum requirement.
He said: “I was delighted to see the range of musical talent on display at the Focus-Trust Music Festival, where children from all fifteen academies within the trust joined together for collaborative renditions of popular songs.
“As a music teacher it’s great to see children performing with such confidence, and many of the students at Thornhill who have excelled musically continue their musical interest way into secondary school, and some have even progressed to further education to continue their study of music!”
The Focus-Trust CEO, Helen Rowland, said: “Lost in the debate around SATs and performance tables is the importance of a child’s social, emotional and mental health development.
“Here at Focus-Trust we believe that music and the arts can help children to develop a wide range of skills that will be useful to them in later life, notably collaboration, creativity, self-expression and control, which is why we encourage a broad and balanced curriculum in all of our academies.”