Halle Orchestra

World Class Hallé Music Free School proposed for 2020

Plans have been announced that could see the Hallé become the first international orchestra in the world to help set up and run a state music school.

Partnering with The City Learning Trust – one of the most successful Multi-Academy Trusts in the country, the proposal will look to create a World Class Centre of Excellence for education through music in Stoke-on-Trent.

Subject to approval from the DfE, The Hallé Music Free School will open in September 2020, providing students with masterclasses from orchestra members, an artist in residence, a rotating Hallé musician in residence and two full concerts each year to be performed by the full Hallé orchestra alongside their traditional academic studies.

John Summers, Chief Executive of the Hallé said: “Through our SHINE programme – which uses music enrichment as a key element of a Saturday school learning programme – we know the very significant benefits that music can bring to a learning environment, helping all aspects of school work and enable children to fulfill their full potential. We see this new and exciting venture as a logical extension of this programme, bringing both inspirational and aspirational musical experiences to the young people of Burslem and beyond.

“The Hallé has a huge amount of expertise and experience in working at high level performance, both in terms of instrumental coaching and choral training. We look forward to developing the skills of gifted and talented young people at the school, through the support and expertise provided by our Youth Ensembles team. This we believe will raise aspirations and ultimately academic attainment standards.

“Through our expertise we will also help develop music in the curriculum as a means of supporting academic achievement and aspiration.”

Students will spend a minimum of 40% of their time taking specialist master classes and benefiting from mentoring and engagement with The Hallé Choir, The Hallé Youth Orchestra and Hallé for Youth.

Carl Ward, Chief Executive, City Learning Trust, said: “We have a rich cultural heritage and exciting creative industries in our region and we want to nurture the music talents and aspirations of our young people.

“The proposed Hallé Music Free School will provide students with the opportunity to train with a world class orchestra, inspiring the music teachers and music professionals of the future. The music free school curriculum will focus on skills transfer and career prospects whilst stretching our students technical skills and encouraging their creative thinking.

“We are delighted to have The Hallé as our project partner, playing a key role in developing and supporting our vision, and helping our students follow their aspirations to become the highest quality musicians.

“We will also encourage input from our established network of local, national and international business partners and would welcome any businesses and organisations interested in becoming a partner to get in touch.”

Whilst sponsorship is welcome, partners can support the success of The Hallé Music Free School by:

  • Allowing staff to help and support in specialist areas
  • Nominating governors to direct the leadership of the free school
  • Giving students an insight into business life an employment issues
  • Providing individual mentors for students
  • Guiding students on the best route to achieve their goals

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The City Learning Trust is set to break new ground by putting lifelong education at the heart of how we adapt locally to a changing world. Its vision, ambition and commitment to pupils will drive its success.

Joan Walley

Former Stoke-on-Trent North MP