Out of the Ark Music (OOTA) are long-standing partners of Music Mark and have worked with many Music Services and Hubs over the last 30 years to bring their ‘can-do’ brand of joyful, life-affirming songs to primary schools across the UK. Their new subscription service, Sparkyard, as well as including all their songs and resources, is packed with features designed to help primary schools integrate singing right across the school day. A major feature is their innovative and flexible Primary School Music Curriculum (designed to be used by both specialists and non-specialists), but Sparkyard also includes assembly plans, a fabulous song calendar, the ability to share songs home and much more. It’s not surprising that it has just been named “Outstanding Music Education Resource” at the Music and Drama Education Awards for 2023.
Sparkyard is a fabulous tool: it sits at the heart of Out of the Ark’s teacher training programmes, and thousands of teachers are already using it every day. But OOTA recognise that they are just one part of the enormous music education ecosystem, and that schools need to tap into the wealth of brilliant opportunities available to them through their Hub.
Since Sparkyard’s launch, in March 2022, Pete Taylor (Education Development Editor at OOTA) has been reaching out to Music Hubs and Services to develop meaningful partnerships that will help more schools to have access to these tried and tested songs and resources. Part of their partnership commitment is to help strengthen the links between Hubs and schools. For this reason, OOTA has given an assurance that the best price a school will ever find for a Sparkyard subscription will always come through engagement with their local Music Hub.
Pete says, “We’ve designed Sparkyard to work for every teacher in every primary school and we know our songs and resources, including our music curriculum, can give teachers the confidence and subject knowledge needed both to teach curriculum music well, and to embed singing throughout a school’s life as a golden thread – just like the refreshed National Plan for Music Education calls for. When a Music Hub or Service enters into a partnership with us, we give them:
- Access to Sparkyard for their delivery team at no cost to the Hub
- At least a 30% discount for all of their schools
- Free or discounted access to our range of CPD sessions that support schools to get the most out of Sparkyard, and out of school singing in general.
We want schools to embrace the benefits of becoming a Sparkyard school, with all staff developing the skills and confidence to use high-quality singing in their daily classroom practice. But we also want to drive them to engage with their Music Hub to ensure their children have access to everything else that is available to them.”
Over 30 Hubs and services are already working in partnership with OOTA, and Pete is inviting Music Hub or Service leaders to get in touch to discuss how OOTA can play a role in their regions.
“We believe that, working collaboratively in meaningful partnership, we can support and strengthen your offering to schools and work to improve the musical experiences of children and teachers alike. If your Hub is up for that kind of conversation, you’ll find us to be generous and flexible partners who will do everything we can to play our part”, says Pete.
Sheffield Music Hub’s Partnership with OOTA means that within the first year since it was launched, 15% of Sheffield’s primary schools have subscribed to Sparkyard. OOTA staff attend partners meetings at the Hub and are able to provide hub leaders with data about how schools are using songs and resources both locally and nationally. When South Yorkshire Hubs came together for a Music Mark regional conference in September, Pete Taylor attended as a delegate to ensure he could learn about the specific needs of the music education landscape in South Yorkshire (where partnerships now exist with Barnsley and Rotherham Hubs as well as Sheffield).
“More and more schools are turning to the Music Hub in Sheffield asking for help to build a quality curriculum offer. We are delighted to be able to tell them about Sparkyard. Not only does it build on the much loved, tried and tested Out of the Ark material but it gives a clear and accessible framework for schools who want to improve the confidence and skills of their teachers. Great resources, accessible materials and clear curriculum frameworks make Sparkyard a winning combination for us.” – Ian Naylor, Head of Music Education, Sheffield.
To discuss forming a partnership with Out of the Ark, get in touch with email@example.com to set up a meeting. He’ll give you a guided tour of Sparkyard (although anyone can get a free 30-day trial at www.sparkyard.com) and discuss some of the different ways in which other Hubs and Services are working with them.
To hear more about how and why Sparkyard has been developed, and how it can be an invaluable tool in creating musical communities within and beyond schools, Music Mark and Out of the Ark are running an online session on 14 June.