Evaluation of In Harmony: Year 1 Interim Report

Caroline Sharp, Richard White, Pippa Lord, Palak Mehta, Jennifer Jeffes, Anneka Dawson

24 December 2013

Arts Council England (ACE) commissioned NFER to undertake the national evaluation of the In Harmony social and music education programme 2012–2015. In Harmony is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and ACE, and is currently being piloted in six areas. The evaluation is investigating the range and extent of impacts on children, families, schools and wider communities, and considering the future sustainability of the programme.

NFER's Year 1 Interim Report presents early findings from the evaluation, using data from a baseline and comparison group survey, perceptual evidence from case studies in five sites, and In Harmony provision data.

Key Findings

    • early indications of positive effects on children's self-esteem, resilience, enjoyment of school, attitudes towards learning, concentration and perseverance
    • some perceived impact on parents and families including raised aspirations for their children, increased enjoyment of music and confidence in visiting cultural venues, and increased engagement with school
    • the programme features intensity, motivation and quality. These qualities are underpinned by a whole-school approach which embeds In Harmony in the curriculum, a clear learning programme focused on orchestral part-playing, teamwork, public performance, the provision of instruments and the involvement of professional musicians.

In Harmony has established itself in a short time and is proving very popular with children, parents and schools. However, it is a resource-intensive programme, representing a large investment for a relatively small number of schools and children. Sustainability is under active consideration, but it is clear that this will present a major challenge for the future.

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