ContinYou Cymru’s Singing Programme, ‘CânSing’, is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and began as a pilot project which ran from September 2009 to July 2011.
The overall aim of the pilot was to raise the profile and standard of singing across Wales by extending opportunities for all children and improving the quality of provision and delivery within schools. This development is underpinned by a training programme and resources, to be utilised, primarily, by those working at key stages 2 and 3 and therefore acting as a mechanism for engagement and learning in years 5, 6 and 7.
In addition, the initiative aids pupils’ transition from primary to secondary school and link to out-of-school-hours learning (oshl) and community focused schools development. All materials and resources are available in English and Welsh.
The four key elements of the pilot programme were:
- materials and toolkit
- training and support for schools and LEAs
- independent evaluation
Find out what’s been happening by reading our newsletter below.
Materials and toolkit
The toolkit is a flexible, developmental resource that evolves to meet the needs of schools.
- In order to support the use of song in a school context, a musical resource/accompaniment is vital.
- This is not aimed to replace sheet music, but to be used in addition to, with examples, backing tracks and vocals for staff and children to use to best meet their needs.
- It is made up of existing and new material.
All core elements of the resources are produced in both hard copy and as a web-based resource, so addressing the different preferences of those involved in the project whilst accessing the benefits of both media.
However, it is also possible that additional or more specialised material may only be made available online. This will be determined by the advisory group and informed by any technical limitations.
Training and support
In addition to the toolkit and materials the training will include:
- two days training away from school (with supply cover provided)
- in-cluster support days
- additional bespoke support
- in-cluster partnership work.
Model for cluster delivery
- At a local authority level, a maximum of four clusters of schools will be brought together for the group training.
- This represents a maximum of 24 schools (as a guide: 4 secondary, 20 primary) for which supply cover costs will be met by the programme budget.
- The additional bespoke training and support will be delivered on an individual school or cluster basis dependant on identified needs.
- The target schools will be determined locally, in collaboration with the partners, however, ContinYou Cymru is very keen that there is a wide range of schools represented in this pilot, to include, for example, English-medium, Welsh-medium, bilingual and special schools.
The CânSing pilot has recently undergone an independent evaluation. The People and Work Unit (PWU) was commissioned to carry out this task, which they did with great enthusiasm and professionalism. The evaluation results are very positive. The PWU found that:
• 91% of teachers who participated in the training during the pilot indicated that they expected the toolkit to have a positive impact on their teaching and pupils’ learning. Many staff commented on the user-friendliness of the toolkit.
• Approximately 95% agreed that the content of the training was specific to their needs on both training days. The fun and interactive aspect of the training was reported to have had a motivational effect on staff.
• 90% of survey respondents said that they were more confident in delivering singing activities. The evaluation states that there is ‘strong evidence of its effectiveness and popularity with both schools and children and young people within the programme; there is therefore a strong case for maintaining the programme.’
Following the positive evaluation Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills, has agreed support for CânSing into the next academic year.
The continued support from the Welsh Government is a very positive step for the CânSing programme and ensures that the online resources will remain available until at least March 2012. This investment will enable more schools to receive the full CânSing support package and for many to receive ‘refresher’ training, highlighting new materials and techniques to those who have already participated in the pilot, ensuring momentum is not lost.
We will continue to gather evidence of the success of the programme and use this to help secure a more stable long-term future for CânSing.
The first National CânSing Day was held on Tuesday 21 June 2011 – to coincide with World Music Day! Schools who have participated in the programme received an e-pack of brand new materials including new songs, support materials, warm-ups, posters, etc and much more.
Schools from all across Wales organised their own events to celebrate their involvement in the programme. To find out about what happened on the day, see the special edition of the bulletin.
Anyone wishing to receive regular updates on the progress of this initiative should register with the Project Manager, Suzanne Barnes (email@example.com), or Eleri Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by calling our Cardiff Office 02920 478928.