“With the help of the Gallions Music Trust my son Saimur has been able to receive additional violin lessons which I would otherwise be unable to afford. We are truly grateful for this fantastic opportunity.” Sabina, Parent

The Gallions Music Trust was founded in 2008 with the principal goal of helping to develop and support music at Gallions Primary School, a state primary at the heart of the highly deprived Winsor Park Estate in Newham, London.

The Estate, identified as one of the 5% most deprived areas in England, consists of around 95% social housing and is home to a significant number of refugee families. Newham has the second highest levels of income deprivation of all of the English local authorities and rates of unemployment, particularly for young people, and crime remain stubbornly high.

Despite these barriers, Gallions Primary School has gained a reputation as an example of best practice in a deprived area. The academic achievement of pupils at the school has far exceeded expectation, a fact that is unequivocally linked to the school’s creative ethos. Music is central to the school’s educational philosophy and this approach addresses the different learning styles that children possess, making learning particularly accessible to the 87% of children at Gallions whose first language is not English and those who have a special educational need or disability.

Music at Gallions Primary School

The Gallions Music Trust works hard to support music at Gallions, including financing enriching music projects, musical instruments and equipment, tuition costs and much more.

The school’s focus on music sees every child receive a full and inspiring music education from the moment they arrive at Gallions at the age of 3. Contrary to many other primary schools, the National Curriculum for Music is taught not only through high quality projects and class music lessons, but also through choirs, music assemblies and weekly musicianship classes. These sessions are led by music specialists qualified in the respected Kodaly approach which focusses on the development of a child’s musical understanding and enjoyment through activities involving singing, movement and rhythm.

Every child from the age of 6 learns a string instrument in small groups though the Colourstrings method, a child-friendly, Kodaly-inspired approach to learning. Through this all-inclusive programme, the children are encouraged to take part in the school’s orchestras and ensembles and have numerous opportunities to perform in concerts and events, both at the school and in prestigious venues throughout the country. Children experience live music of all genres on a regular basis and professional orchestras and musicians frequently come to Gallions to play for and alongside the children.

The Gallions music programme has many benefits to the children who take part. Through the discipline of learning an instrument, levels of concentration significantly improve and thinking skills are enhanced. Looking after an instrument gives a child a sense of responsibility and ownership. Through performance opportunities children gain confidence and feel proud of their achievements, and empathetic team players are created through group musical activities. Aspirations rise as the children are exposed to performances by professional musicians and have the opportunity to work alongside them. Children at Gallions frequently comment that music is their escape; a way of calming down when feeling stressed, unhappy or angry, and a language through which to express their emotions.

Through playing an instrument, an ever-increasing number of children are able to access out-of-school schemes run by organisations including the Newham Academy of Music, London Symphony Orchestra and Academy of St Martin in the Fields, through which they perform regularly, learn new skills and make friends from across the country. Last year alone, several Gallions children received music scholarships to outstanding secondary schools, and in the past 18 months 2 young double bassists and a violinist have each won 4-year scholarships from the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians and another 2 children have been awarded places in the National Children’s Orchestra.

The Trust’s role within the community

In recent years the Trust’s brief has expanded from solely supporting music at Gallions. It now works to address the need for high quality, inspiring activities within the wider community to bring local people together and raise aspirations in a safe, impartial environment.

In September 2013, the Trust launched its Musical Footsteps Bursary Scheme to offer children recognised for their dedication to musical learning the opportunity to receive additional instrumental tuition at minimal or no cost, providing them with all of the tools and support that they need to excel. This is not limited to children at Gallions; those who have left the school are included in the scheme and the Trust hopes to develop the programme further to offer members of the community the opportunity to learn an instrument.

The Gallions Music Trust was instrumental in helping to financially support the construction of a new music building based at Gallions Primary School. The new facility was opened in January 2015 with an official launch event in October. Having a dedicated space in which to deliver the music programme has made such a difference to the provision the school is able to provide. We hope that this facility will become a community hub for music and aims to bring together people from all backgrounds and of all abilities.

Image of John Ward, Chair of Trustees

John Ward - Chair of Trustees and School Governor

John works for Welsh National Opera raising money for them in London. He previously held the chief fundraising posts at English National Opera and Opera North and before that was General Secretary of the First Division Association, the union for top civil servants, during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. He is a board member of the Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust, supports several charities working in Africa and makes frequent trips to Italy in pursuit of opera and the elusive goal of speaking reasonably fluent Italian.

Image of Paul Broadhurst, trustee of Gallions Music Trust

Paul Broadhurst - Trustee

Paul is a member of the Culture Unit at City Hall and is responsible for the Mayor’s Music Education Plan. He works with the education sector and the music industry across London to improve opportunities for budding young musicians. He is closely involved with the Mayor’s Music Fund which supports hundreds of children who struggle with the cost of lessons. He also runs Gigs – the Mayor’s annual young buskers competition, and is working on a major new professional development programme for secondary school music teachers.

Paul previously worked at the London Symphony Orchestra where he founded LSO On Track, a highlight of which was young East London musicians performing in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Paul plays violin and piano.

Ashley Roye - Secretary

Alongside his work for the Gallions Music Trust, Ashley is the Music Manager at Gallions Primary School and is responsible for the overall management and growth of the school’s music programme. Studying Performing Arts Music at The Brit School before going on to complete a degree in Commercial Music at Westminster College, Ashley has gone on to accumulate a range of skills and experiences working in events, fundraising and developing emerging musicians. Over the years he has worked with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Michael Kiwanuka, Shakka, Ayanna Witter Johnson, Hollie McNish, Inua Ellams, Katy B, Rationale and Jamie Woon.

Natasha Broke - Trustee

Natasha first came across Gallions Primary School when her son did a week’s work experience at the school at the end of his GCSEs. She decided to find out more about this school which seemed to inspire him so much. She visited the school and observed a musicianship session and a couple of strings group lessons. The quality of the music, especially at the end of term concerts, impressed her. The relationship between her son’s school and Gallions culminated in a fundraising concert. To say that the Gallions pupils held their own at a concert at one of the most prestigious private (senior) schools in the country would be to undersell their performance. They absolutely rose to the occasion. Natasha was delighted to be invited to join the Trustees in June 2016. She is not a musician but is am passionate about children from all backgrounds being offered a wide and varied curriculum.

Bernadette Thompson - Trustee

Bernadette was appointed as Head Teacher of Gallions Primary School in 1998 with the aim of bringing the Creative Arts into a primary setting. She spent eight years embedding music, art, dance and drama into the foundations of school life before leaving in 2006. Bernadette is a singer and pianist and her particular passion for Music led to the development of a unique provision at the school. During her time as head teacher weekly musicianship classes for every child in Nursery to Year 6 became part of the curriculum and a strings programme was developed which eventually saw every child in Year 2-6 having weekly lessons in small groups. Strings lessons were taught using the Colourstrings method and Bernadette started to learn the violin with the pupils. She even joined the Senior Orchestra, playing alongside the children at rehearsals on Friday mornings. Although she is now retired, Bernadette still takes a very keen interest in Music at Gallions, following our progress and helping us to pursue our vision. When she is not singing in her local choir Bernadette enjoys spending time in her garden.

Rob Dean - Trustee

Rob is an independent consultant who works predominantly with financially distressed companies.  Prior to going independent, Rob spent many years working in financial restructuring for Deloitte, and before that in manufacturing.

Rob, while he enjoys listening to music, has no musical talent whatsoever, and hence in his spare time can either be found hiking in various mountain ranges or looking for good things to eat and drink.