Pop goes the curriculum at school of rock

24th February 2006 at 00:00
Senior pupils at Kilmacolm Primary in Inverclyde have shown their talent for enterprise by launching their own school of rock and creating a CD. Every child in the school performed on at least one of the 10 tracks.

Teacher Wendy Foreman says the idea was to bring enterprise education into the classroom, for her composite P7P6 class and the P7 class taught by Laura Hogan.

"We had to decide what sort of jobs you would have in the music industry,"

explains Miss Foreman. The children were invited to apply for whichever posts they wanted, from managing director and accountant to PR, marketing, sales and recording teams.

Miss Foreman and Mrs Hogan interviewed for the manager posts. Once they had appointed the successful applicants, the managers sat on the interview panel with the teachers to fill all remaining posts.

Miss Foreman says: "It's given them a better idea of how things work in life, that you don't always get everything you want but there might be something else that you can do."

The pupils contacted the enterprise officer at the local council.

"P7 and P7P6 were managing the project. They phoned or e-mailed some shops in the village and asked if they would sell the CD, whether they would explain (to customers) what it was about, how many they would take and so on. They were quite surprised when one shop refused and another asked how much profit was in it for them."

The children and teachers enlisted the help of music students from James Watt College, Greenock, to provide song-writing and recording expertise.

The college offered the project to any interested students as part of their degree.

"A team of song-writers from James Watt College came and worked with the upper school for three weeks," explains Miss Foreman.

"The children put in all of their ideas and were quick to say when they didn't like something. There's a country and western song, a rock song.

They wrote about things like teachers and school trips.

"One of the parents, Andy Paterson, is a song-writer and he helped the lower school.

"A recording team from James Watt College brought a vast amount of recording equipment and a team of musicians added backing tracks to make it sound like real songs."

Each year group, from P1 to P7, has its own track on the CD, and there is a track from the school's guitar group and the two classes leading the project.

The final song, "K.I.L.M.A.C.O.L.M.", is performed by the whole school, all 280 pupils, and has been adopted as the school song.

The finance team was given a budget of pound;300 for expenses, not including the cost of producing the CDs, which was provided by the council's enterprise budget. The song-writers' travel expenses, postage and so on was paid for out of the budget.

"Parent Shari Low, a journalist, came into the school and showed the children how to write a press release," says Miss Foreman.

Mrs Low was impressed. "The children's talent, commitment and focus is incredible," she says.

The children held a launch party for the CD, Musical Mayhem. The local provost, the leader of the council, the school board, PTA and local press attended.

"At the launch party in the school hall, there was an accounts stall with all their paperwork, a design team stall (we had a competition between our two classes for the CD cover), an advertising stall with all their posters, and the recording team, explains Miss Foreman."

Of the 500 CDs made, 400 have been sold. They cost pound;3 each to make and sold for pound;5. The pound;2 profit on each one goes straight into school funds.

"It took over our life for two months," says Miss Foreman. "They've loved every minute of it. We impressed on them that they were responsible for this and they put their all into it. We had to just let them make their mistakes and learn from them.

"People think of enterprise as just buying and selling but there's a lot more to it than that. This used to be a secondary education aspect and now it's coming into primary school. Every child will be given the opportunity to take part in at least one enterprise activity every year."

The headteacher, Sheena MacFarlane, describes the project as "a wonderful opportunity to develop pupils' creativity and encourage independent learning".

But the final word goes to the children, aged 11 and 12: "Every aspect of this project was planned, designed and managed by us, with the aim of raising funds for our school. We wrote all the songs ourselves, all tracks are performed by children aged 4 to 12 and the artwork and press campaign were designed by us. This CD will rock your socks off."

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