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Bridget’s Blog: Every day’s a school day

17th January 2022

I don’t remember who said it to me first, but ever since they did, I have loved the phrase ‘every day’s a school day’.  My days at school are long gone, but I’m still learning something every day!  Whether it’s a lesson in English (‘nascent’ was a new word for me last week), Geography (I’ve been looking at the map of Canada and wondering about a trip to Nova Scotia) or Home Economics (apple and cinnamon breakfast muffins anyone?), I am pleased that there are still new things to find out about!

And as well as personal learning, it is important to consider our professional development too.  I still talk, as my team can attest, about the Clore Leadership Programme Short Course I attended in 2006 as a turning point in my career, and have ensured that as a staff we each have a training budget to ensure we are topping up our professional skills regularly.  But what about supporting our Membership?

When I started at Music Mark the charity ran a course – Rising with the Tide (RWT) – and the annual conference, but very little other training was available to support music educators to develop.  Now however, there is a whole suite of training opportunities to access, from our CPD day for music tutors to our new version of RWT, the Six Dimensions of Leadership.  We also have peer groups, mentoring and of course much of our training in the past two years has been recorded now that we are running our events online, so there is a great ‘back catalogue’ to explore too.  Whether you want to learn about organisational budgeting, boosting your wellbeing and resilience or how to run a successful online workshop – there’s lots to watch and learn from.

The Music Mark team had an awayday last week and we were looking at our planned activity for 2022.  It was exciting to look at the diary and realise that we already have so many events and training planned, as well as resources in development which we will be sharing with you this year, but there is always the opportunity for us to do more.  In particular, as we discussed what we had planned, we were conscious that there is likely more we could be doing to support our Music Mark schools (and the wider school network), and we’ve agreed that this will be a job for us to do over the coming months.

We are a Subject Association for Music, which means that we aim ‘to further teaching and learning in a specific subject’.  For us, that includes helping schools to connect into the wider music education ecology.  We therefore not only support classroom teachers through the training and resources we can provide or signpost them too (through partnerships such as our campaign #CanDoMusic with the ISM and the MTA), but we also want to do all we can to encourage them to find support, training and advice more locally through their Hub Partnership in England or by connecting to their Music Service in other parts of the UK.  We now have over 2,700 schools registered on our database as Music Mark Schools and every day we get a few more signing up.  We are looking forward to sending them their spring term newsletter this week, and to setting up a couple of training sessions for them later this term.  However, there are probably about 30,000+ schools, all providing a music curriculum to their pupils, across the UK.  With your help we hope to reach more of them, and complement the offer you provide, so please do let the schools you work with know we are here to help.

At Music Mark we want to ensure that, as part of what we do, every day’s a day we support schools!