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Press release: Music Mark launches Whole Class Ensemble Teaching (WCET) Research Report

28th September 2016

Key findings clearly demonstrate that it is possible to implement WCET programmes in ways that lead to high continuation rates and high standards of instrumental playing.

Music Mark, in partnership with Professor Susan Hallam MBE and a convened Steering Group, undertook research with its members into Whole Class Ensemble Teaching (WCET).  The aims of the research were to identify examples of high-quality WCET programmes and provide a context for the challenges faced when offering such a programme. This included looking at the role of schools alongside Music Services and/or Lead Organisations of Music Education Hubs.

The Department for Education (DfE) funding of £75 million (in 2016/17), continues to contribute towards the core and extension roles for Music Education Hubs (MEH), which includes the aspiration that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument through whole-class ensemble tuition programmes.

Fifty-one WCET programmes were nominated for participation in the research, leading to twenty-two specific school visits, discussions with headteachers and their staff, senior Music Service/Lead Organisation of MEH leaders and their peripatetic music teachers to gather their collective beliefs and approaches toward successful WCET programme outcomes.

Professor Susan Hallam, UCL Institute of Education, said:

“For most children, WCET is their first introduction to playing a musical instrument.  This research has shown that through a combination of high-quality general music teaching prior to WCET, maintaining high expectations of children’s musical outcomes throughout a WCET programme and providing opportunities for performance, highly successful WCET programmes can be achieved.”

A series of short film clips (each between 2 and 4 minutes) have been made to encapsulate the key findings directly from the perspective of schools, their teaching staff, Music Service and/or Lead Organisations of MEHs and their music teachers.  The clips are designed to be a useful resource for continued professional development, to raise awareness of WCET provision and include interviews with headteachers, leaders of Music Services/MEHs and music teachers, as well as examples of WCET programmes in action.

Jem Shuttleworth, Chief Executive of Music Mark, said:

“We are delighted to have worked with Susan and our membership on this piece of research. As a membership organisation and subject association we work to influence thinking, policy and practice.  Such clear positive outcomes as these give us the confidence, on behalf of our membership, to continue calling upon government to fund the important work of Music Education Hubs.”

To download the research report and to view a sample of the film clips visit:

Professor Hallam will be presenting the findings at Music Mark’s National Conference 2016 – Supporting Progression for All – being held 11th and 12th November.


Notes to Editors

For enquiries please contact:
James Devaney, Partnerships and Projects

About Music Mark
Music Mark is a membership organisation for Music Services and/or Lead Organisations of a Music Education Hub, their teaching and support teams, their partners and their schools.  We work to influence, support and connect our membership and the wider sector enabling all to deliver high quality musical and social outcomes for all children and young people.

About Music Education Hubs
Music Education Hubs were established in 2012, in response to the government’s 2011 National Plan for Music Education (NPME), to provide access, opportunities and excellence in music education for all children and young people.