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New Songs and Singing Games for the School Playground

12 March 2008

Photocall: Primary school children from Fishergate Primary School will be showcasing the new Hopscotch Playground Songs and Games project. There will be a photocall opportunity to see this school in action at the National Centre for Early Music on Tuesday 18 March at 1.00pm prompt.

There will be a celebratory singing day at the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) in York next week (18 March) aimed at teachers, musicians and educationalists, to mark the success of 'Hopscotch', a Sing Up project which is currently taking place in 25 York Primary Schools.

Sing Up is the Music Manifesto National Singing Programme, produced by Youth Music with AMV-BBDO, Faber Music and The Sage Gateshead, supported by the Government which has been launched nationally this week. Sing Up aims to raise the status of singing and increase opportunities for primary school-aged children throughout England to enjoy singing as part of their everyday lives. The £10 million government investment aims to ensure that good quality singing is central to young children's lives, in primary schools, in the home and in the wider community. The NCEM is one of 18 organisations throughout the country who were awarded a 'Hearts and Minds' award to run a singing programme.

The NCEM has been working in association with the City of York Council Performing Arts Service and North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership to deliver this singing project which has been extremely well received in schools.

The York Primary Schools who are taking part in this initiative include: Fishergate, Tang Hall, Heworth, Lakeside, New Earswick, St Aelred's, Dringhouses, Wheldrake, Badger Hill, St Lawrence's, Clifton Green, Hempland, Skelton, Haxby Road, English Martyrs', St Oswald's, Naburn, Clifton with Rawcliffe, Park Grove, Headlands, Archbishop, Yearsley, Woodthorpe, Knavesmire, Westfield Primary Schools.

'Hopscotch' focuses on encouraging and revitalising songs and singing games in school playgrounds. Using brightly coloured resources including a distinctive 'Song Stop' sign as well as skipping ropes and balls, a trained community musician will act as song leader taking the children through traditional and newly invented singing games together. The Hopscotch project then trains and supports the older children in primary schools to become 'song leaders' themselves so that they can carry on the tradition of playing singing games with their peers and the younger children in the schools.

Each of the 25 York primary schools who signed up for this project are receiving five one-hour playground singing workshops led by community musicians from the NCEM. They are working with a group of up to 20 children aged between 8 and 11 years old and a member of staff who is receiving additional training to enable them to continue the singing activities in the future.

Hopscotch aims to encourage enjoyment, singing experience, confidence, leadership, social skills and healthy exercise within children and helps schools benefit from a boost to playground and social activity and from new play ideas and musical resources.

Tim Brooks, Music Consultant for the City of York Council was very supportive of this project. He said: "Hopscotch has provided a valuable opportunity for peer to peer learning of playground songs, rhymes and games and the chance for young people to teach these to adults. It has also promoted links between singing and healthy physical activity in the playground.

"Furthermore, there has been the opportunity for teachers to receive training and support in the use of simple audio and video recordings to document the playground songs and games. This could also have an impact on all pupils across the broader curriculum."

The Sing Up initiative is proving to be of tremendous benefit to schools. Delma Tomlin, Director of the National Centre for Early Music said: "By working with the schools we are helping to develop music and singing, provide training for staff in leading singing and a boost to playground and social activity. We are delighted to be able to offer music sessions to so many schools in York and hope that the Sing Up initiative continues to run and that there may be other opportunities to sing with York schoolchildren in the near future."

Further information about Hopscotch is available on the Community and Education section of the NCEM website at


Press Contact: Melanie Paris
Tel: 01904 632220
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Sing Up is a new government funded programme of singing activity for primary school-aged children in England. The aim of the programme is to make singing central to children's lives, in primary schools, in the home and in the wider community. The Sing Up consortium will produce a national programme comprising of a singing resource or 'songbook', a media and schools campaign highlighting the benefits of singing and a workforce development programme to build the confidence and expertise of primary school teachers, musicians and parents in leading and supporting children's singing activities. For more information visit