Ike sets up charity to fund primary school music education

  • By Vicky Irwin and Mariam Isimdar
  • BBC News, Suffolk

image source, Martin Giles/BBC

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More than half of the children at the Church of England premier have picked up an instrument

A RURAL primary school that puts music at the „heart” of the school day has set up a charity to fund „quality music education from experts”.

Ike Church, an England primary near Woodbridge, Suffolk, said music helped improve overall learning.

Children are taught classroom lessons by music professionals and are given the option of learning an instrument.

Government said Funded So all children can get at least one hour of music education a week.

Headteacher Lucy Fairweather said: „I’m not into music, but music brings another dimension to the school and it’s fantastic for the children’s confidence.”

image source, Martin Giles/BBC

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Headteacher Lucy Fairweather wants to help the charity to provide improvisational music to other rural schools

The music program was set up seven years ago, and 57 of the school’s 103 students currently have one-to-one music lessons.

Ike Principal Hosts choirs, ensembles and orchestras – all with qualified music teachers and vocal coaches.

Head teacher Maria Dobbing is supported by a trained musician and teacher and the school’s founding director of music.

„It goes beyond music because we’re learning about kids’ aspirations, work ethic, learning to listen, learning to contribute, being part of a team,” she said.

„If we cultivate mediocrity we cannot cultivate aspiration. If they want to achieve it, we must show them what excellence is.

„Every time we have any kind of celebration, music is a big part of it – look at the coronation – we need a tap, and that tap is running dry.”

image source, Martin Giles/BBC

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Music helps with other learning and skills, says qualified musician and teacher Maria Tobbing

Ms Fairweather said rural schools faced particular challenges in providing music education.

„There’s a real difference between a small rural primary and a big city school,” he said.

“Once you try to move them anywhere [to see a concert] A bus costs £150. Budgets were very, very tight and we had to prioritize music.

“You can make it work, but it has to be at the center of the school, so it has to be a major part of the school day.

„But to be honest, we can’t afford it, which is why we need to set up a charity so we can access other funding streams.”

image source, Martin Giles/BBC

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Maria Tobing tutors student Penelope on the violin

Daniel, a parent with no musical background, has two children at school, learning violin and cello.

She said her children have benefited from „discipline, resilience, but absolute happiness”.

„So the setback, it’s a long haul, and it’s really not easy for anybody, let alone young kids,” he said.

„It gave me a sense of how to provide this to all children.”

image source, Martin Giles/BBC

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Danielle says her children have benefited greatly from learning a musical instrument

A spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) said: „We are committed to ensuring every young person has access to a high-quality music education.”

„We have committed £79m a year in funding to 2025 for the Music Hubs programme,” said the spokesperson.

„We will continue to work closely with Arts Council England, while seeking feedback from schools and the wider sector, to ensure there is support in each local area.”

Funding for music in Suffolk schools, delivered by the Arts Council on behalf of the DfE, is expected to fall from £937,768 in 2018-19 to £935,697 in 2023-24.

See more of this story on Politics East on Sunday, March 26 at 10:00 GMT on BBC One. After.

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