Skip to content

Announcing 17 music services and schools piloting inclusive music nurture groups this Autumn

3rd November 2021

Seventeen schools across England will be piloting an innovative programme of inclusive music work with vulnerable young people in primary schools this Autumn. The programme will be delivered by their local music service as part of the Changing Tracks national programme run by Hertfordshire Music Service and funded by Youth Music.

 This action research pilot is a rollout of a programme pioneered by Hertfordshire Music Service to reduce school exclusions. The aim is to help other music services to grow their understanding and skills in inclusive music work, and to support music tutors to develop new skills for working with children facing barriers to music and learning. The projects will run for six months, in one primary school per area.

What is a music nurture group?

A music nurture group is a weekly 30-minute creative instrumental music session for three-five young people in a primary school. Participants are identified by the school SENCO as being vulnerable and at risk of poor outcomes due to mental health, behaviour or general confidence difficulties. The aim is to provide a calm and nurturing environment where children can build their resilience and agency and develop a sense of belonging.

The Hertfordshire Music Service nurture group model draws on learning from previous Changing Tracks work in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), that children become excluded from school due to early difficulties preventing them settling into school, socialising and learning. Creative music nurture groups can help address this preventatively (of much interest to local authorities who often host music services), and can offer a way to embed inclusive practice within mainstream workforce development.


Who’s involved?

The music services who successfully applied for funding from Changing Tracks to pilot the nurture group programme with one school in their local area, are: Bury Music; Calderdale Music Trust; Milton Keynes Music Hub; Dorset Music Service;  Merton Music Foundation; Lambeth Music Service; Sunderland Music Hub; Severn Arts (Worcestershire); Peterborough Music Hub; West Sussex Music; Wakefield Music Services;  East Riding Schools’ Music Service; SoundStorm Music Education Agency (Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole); Waltham Forest Music Education Hub;  Cornwall Music Service Trust; NMPAT (Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust); Liverpool Resonate.

Music service inclusion managers and tutors will receive support and resources from the Changing Tracks team, including guidance on how to set up, run and evaluate a music nurture group; training in the impact of trauma on learning; and regular critical reflection sessions – a space for tutors to share learning and advice and support each other.  Outcomes will be shared through the Changing Tracks website, and the National Working Group for Musical Inclusion.

Find out more about nurture groups in the Nurture Groups resource section on the Changing Tracks website, and sign up to our enewsletter or follow us on socials for inclusion resources and insights for and from music services.


About Changing Tracks

Changing Tracks is a programme of peer support and learning for and with music services wanting to improve equality, diversity and inclusion. It is run by Hertfordshire Music Service and backed by Youth Music, thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England. We help music services to be more inclusive by providing peer networks (one of which is facilitated by Music Mark), training events and consultancy, advice and resources and funding for action research.


Hertfordshire Music Service logoAbout Hertfordshire Music Service

For over 40 years Hertfordshire Music Service has successfully delivered musical opportunities to generations of young people throughout the county. The service is now one of the largest in the country with many thousands of young people involved in our weekly musical activities, supported by over 450 teachers.

We receive funding from the Department for Education through the Arts Council England, as well as generous support from Hertfordshire County Council to provide world class music tuition to the residents and families of Hertfordshire. Find out more.


About Youth Music

We believe that every young person should have the chance to change their life through music. Yet our research shows that many can’t because of who they are, where they’re from or what they’re going through. Our insights, influence and investment in grassroots organisations and to young people themselves means that more 0–25-year-olds from can make, learn and earn in music. Youth Music is a national charity funded thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and support from partners, fundraisers and donors. Find out more.