Bouquet of the week

29th May 1998 at 01:00
The TES campaign, Music for the Millennium, was rewarded last week when Education Secretary David Blunkett promised to reverse a decade of decline. The chance to learn an instrument should cease to be a lottery and, where music services have been cut, he wants them to flourish in future.

Mrs Jane Ash knows what his commitment will mean if it happens for every child in Britain. Her seven-year old twins attend Hursthead Infant School in Stockport where their class teacher, Fiona Reeve, is a young music graduate and subject co-ordinator.

"I'm just so delighted and impressed by what an infant school can achieve," says Mrs Ash who is a parent governor and a secondary teacher herself. "The singing, and the harmonies, are wonderful. There's a lot of good humour and enthusiasm and Fiona certainly brings out the best in everyone."

Her twins, Katherine and Thomas, have grown in ability and confidence under this inspirational teacher's influence. They sing the register in the morning, compose every Friday, perform in the choir at lunchtimes and play the recorder after school.

Headteacher Sue Born says music is an essential part of her school's broad curriculum and tells me that a recent Ofsted inspection noted the "sense of enjoyment and fun in learning" which the high standard of music teaching brings.

When she was a child Fiona herself benefitted enormously from schools music - she learned the piano and cello and became a member of Lancashire's Student Symphony Orchestra and chamber music groups. "I am very lucky," she says now, "to teach in a really super school where the enthusiasm and commitment of the teachers just rubs off on the children."

Well, it doesn't always happen, but with more help from Mr Blunkett it might just become a regular occurence.

Turn to our resources section this week if you're looking for music and movement teaching packs and I'm sure the World Cup frenzy could lead to some musical ideas. If you're enjoying a half-term break, spare a thought for the unsung heroes you know in schools and send their names to me for Bouquet of the Week.

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