Gallions School, Newha

28th March 2003 at 00:00
(Photograph) - When Gallions Primary opened in 1999, almost all the pupils had failed at previous schools and were disillusioned with education. From the start, the arts played a central role, reinforced by the school's ethos that they "provide a level playing field where all can contribute and will excel".

Headteacher Bernadette Thompson was determined that every child would have the chance to learn a musical instrument; three years later, 90 pupils are learning the violin or cello and they are preparing to perform a symphony specially composed for the school's own chamber orchestra. The lessons are hugely popular, and older pupils run lunchtime practice sessions for younger ones. Bernadette says: "It improves academic performance, helps inculcate habits of hard work and encourages children to do their best."

Sarah Phelps, Year 1 teacher, sees the difference. Six of her pupils started learning the violin two weeks ago: "I can already see a huge improvement in behaviour, and they love the lessons." One child with special needs has started to communicate for the first time.

Bernadette has insisted that teachers also learn to play, so they'll be aware of the work involved. "Teachers are usually seen as experts, so it's important for children to see them starting at the same level." She describes the school's first concert: "They were all shaking from head to toe and it was simply the best thing in the world!"

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now