Evaluation of In Harmony: Year 2: Interim Report

Caroline Sharp, Gill Featherstone, Pippa Lord, Palak Mehta

17 August 2015

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 exploring the impact of In Harmony for children, families, schools and wider communities, and the future sustainability of the programme.

NFER’s Year 2 Interim Report presents findings from: i) the second year of the pupil survey in In Harmony schools; ii) an analysis of In Harmony provision and participation data (from autumn 2012 to summer 2014); and iii) an analysis of school attendance data.

The year 2 pupil survey involved In Harmony school pupils only. It will be important to continue to track In Harmony children’s attitudes alongside the responses of children in comparison schools, to understand the effect of maturation and changes over time. The evaluation will continue to monitor trends in provision throughout 2015, to explore whether the amount and nature of provision is related to children’s attainment and attendance at school.

Key Findings

  • In Harmony continues to support children’s music-making, social wellbeing and positive aspirations. Survey responses remain high on musical enjoyment and future aspirations
  • Children’s enjoyment of school and their desire to continue to play their instrument in a group have declined very slightly from their previously high levels. Possible explanations are that attitudes may be influenced by a maturation effect (children tend to become more negative towards school and learning as they grow older); and they may be recognising the hard work involved in playing an instrument
  • In Harmony programmes are increasingly offering extra-curricular activities, in addition to curriculum delivery. Children from the core In Harmony schools, as well as pupils from neighbouring primary schools and those who have moved on to secondary school are taking part, indicating the commitment of pupils, families and schools to the programme.
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