Evaluation of In Harmony: Year 2.


This Arts Council England (ACE) commissioned NFER report evaluates the In Harmony social and music education programme 2012–2015. The evaluation explores the impact of In Harmony for children, families, schools and wider communities, and the future sustainability of the programme.

In Harmony aims to inspire and transform the lives of children and families in deprived communities through the power and disciplines of orchestral music-making. It is inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema, the goal of which is to change the lives of children in exceptionally deprived circumstances.

The In Harmony programme is modelled around an immersive experience, where children play instruments together several times a week from an early age, within a whole school and/or
community-based approach. In Harmony is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and Arts Council England (ACE), and is currently being piloted in six areas in England.

Key Findings:

In Harmony continues to support pupils’ music-making, musical enjoyment, social wellbeing and positive aspirations.

Pupils continue to enjoy music at the same high levels as reported in last year’s survey. They say they are making good progress with their instruments and singing. They also feel their classroom
teachers know a lot about music – a possible indication of how In Harmony is supporting teachers’ musical confidence and skills.

In Harmony children have positive future aspirations – indeed, children who completed the survey both last year and this year are even more positive about their futures than they were one year

That said, pupils’ enjoyment of school and learning has declined very slightly from its previously high level (that is, by a small but statistically significant amount). It is difficult to know whether this has been influenced by their participation in In Harmony. An alternative possible explanation is that enjoyment of school and learning may be influenced by a maturation effect, as previous research shows that children’s attitudes towards schooling tend to become more negative as they grow older.

The amount of In Harmony provision varies across schools. In Harmony programmes are increasingly offering extracurricular activities, in addition to curriculum delivery. These additional activities are engaging children from the core In Harmony primary schools, children from neighbouring primary schools, and those who have moved on to secondary school. Some schools report large numbers of their children (e.g. over 75 children, which in two schools is over one-third of their children) engaging with In Harmony activities outside normal class time.