Musical boost for pupils

Windmill Primary School pupils  in a workshop with the chorus of Opera North.''Photo by Simon Marshall
Windmill Primary School pupils in a workshop with the chorus of Opera North.''Photo by Simon Marshall
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A primary school working with an Opera North music programme has seen a dramatic improvement in pupils’ academic achievement.

Key Stage 2 results at Windmill Primary School in Belle Isle have been boosted by up to 20 per cent.

Through the In Harmony Opera North programme, the school allocates up to three hours of music each week for every child, with pupils taking part in up to seven-and-a-half hours of music overall.

Andy Gamble, Windmill Primary School executive headteacher, said: “We have observed many significant effects on the pupils’ skills such as teamwork, co-operation, social skills and self-confidence.

“It is my belief that the cultural enrichment provided by In Harmony Opera North over the last three years has had a direct impact on the positive learning culture here at Windmill and subsequently contributed towards these improved results for our children.”

The 2015 results in Key Stage 2 SATS exams, taken by 10 and 11-year-olds, have increased the percentage of children attaining a Level 4 in reading from 78 per cent in 2014 to 98.7 per cent in 2015.

In writing, 86.7 per cent achieved Level 4 or above, up from 75.6 per cent, while the results in maths increased from 73.2 per cent to 93.3 per cent of children attaining Level 4 or above.

In Harmony Opera North began in Windmill Primary School in January 2013.

Most of the 362 pupils play a string instrument and enjoy weekly group instrumental lessons and orchestra sessions; everyone sings in an age-banded choir.

Around 20 children were taken home by their parents

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