School 3

School 3

An 11-18 mixed academy with just under 1,200 students on roll, serving a town of approximately 200,000 in Tyne and Wear. Over 9% of students do not have English as their first language. 25% of students are eligible for free school meals. The proportion of students with a statement of Special Educational Needs or on School Action Plus is 7%.

The participants

This project involved both a science teacher and a performing arts teacher from the school, working with a community musician. A total of 19 sessions were delivered for 67 students from Years 7, 8 and 9.

The project

The music teacher had been recognised within the school as providing particularly engaging lessons for KS3 students. By involving this teacher in the project with a community musician from Sage Gateshead and a science teacher from the school, it was hoped that the three would support each other to critically reflect on their practice and thus begin the process of dialogue about student engagement across all departments, which was one of the school’s aims.
In Cycle 1, the musician and the music teacher delivered a series of musical composition sessions with a small group of six KS3 students. The aim was to investigate what impact learning science through music had on levels of engagement and whether the ‘embodied’ nature of the learning had any impact on retention of the information.

In Cycle 2, this approach was scaled up to two community musicians working with a class of thirty Year 9 science students and their teacher, but the activity was stopped part-way through as staff were concerned that the young people felt too exposed by the activities.

In Cycle 3, the musician observed a series of lessons taught by the science teacher and the music teacher to Year 7 students. At the end of the observations a three-way conversation was facilitated in which the three participants reflected on what they do to successfully engage young people in learning.