What did we find out?

The most interesting elements of the week have been the collaborative moments between the staff and students.  It was excellent to see the different approaches to pedagogy and to learning.31

‘Innovate to Create II’ has allowed us to think more deeply about two seemingly different but incredibly interlinked subject areas.  It has afforded the staff involved an opportunity to experiment and consider new approaches in their teaching of these subjects.  It has given the time and space to understand these subjects through each country’s lens, and to take practices from one school and apply them in others.  It has increased the extent to which the participating teachers are reflective and reflexive practitioners.  

Collaborating with colleagues from non-formal settings gave the participating teachers a safe space in which to use the techniques of non-formal learning, and to witness the relationship between artist-educator and student.  This often more relaxed, ‘equal’ relationship provides some challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy in our school classrooms.  It also hints at ways of approaching the design and delivery of the co-curriculum32 in our schools.

We have seen the positive outcomes of trust between a group of collaborators.  This trust has resulted in more attuned risk-taking, team teaching and a space for honest reflection throughout the project.  This has enabled us to individually and collectively refine our practice, which has the power to have ongoing impact in our classrooms.

All the lessons were really excellent and interesting.  The teachers are well-qualified.33

Perhaps most importantly, the project has afforded an opportunity to experiment with teaching styles and approaches, which will have an undoubted impact on students over a much longer period than that of this project.  There is an increased confidence that comes with being bold and challenging the prevailing orthodoxy in classroom practice, which is a confidence that engages and encourages students. 

We hope that you feel this same sense of excitement when you use the approaches described in our toolkit.

Independent evaluation report

Throughout our project we have been concerned with evaluating its impact on the individuals who have taken part.  This is separate to our enquiry into which teaching and learning approaches are the most effective and why; instead, this project evaluation has helped us to understand what participating in the action research process has meant to the staff and students who have been at its centre.

Rosie Neave of The Roost Communications has compiled an independent evaluation report on the impact that the project has had on the people who have taken part.

Read the highlights version to get an overview of the impact the project has had on teachers and students.

headlines version final .pdf

Read the full report to understand in fuller depth the impact of our work on those who have taken part.

full evaluation report final .pdf

If you have any comments or questions about our project and its outcomes, you can contact us via our website.

Reflections from Eszter Mits-Kovács, Hungary

The Hungarian music teacher had expected to find difficulties in collaborating with the partner schools, because they are so different from Hungarian schools regarding the history of education, the curricula and the equipment available.

In Hungary, the curriculum has to be followed precisely; it is possible to make only a few changes. Students learn music theory and solmisation based on the Kodály method, as well as music history. The practical part of the curriculum focuses on the singing of folk songs or classical pieces, and practising rhythm, listening to and recognising pieces of classical music. Without instruments, these are the only achievable ways of teaching Singing-Music in a class of 30 or more students. In the lower classes, it is easy to motivate students as they enjoy singing and rhythm acquisition and music competences, but in higher classes students get alienated from the subject due to the lack of personal experience of creating their own music.

In all partner schools except for Hungary there is a wide range of instruments available, providing students with the opportunity for learning music in an experimental, practical and joyful way without the necessity of a structured, well-built and comprehensive theoretical background. Students in the partner schools can learn to play popular songs in groups, experiencing the pleasure of creation.

This contrast presented a task to the Hungarian music teacher that needed a mental effort to be completed successfully. However, it was possible for her to co-operate with students who had little theoretical background. Students were open to new experiences with the Hungarian music teacher in spite of the fact that her lessons presented them with real challenges, for example learning a Hungarian folksong or listening to classical music.

Although there is an abundance of modern teaching approaches in the subject area of music across Europe, certain factors prevent them from being applied without limits in Hungary. On the one hand, there are elements of the curricula, methods, techniques and approaches of the partner schools that can be applied in formal settings in Hungarian schools even if these schools do not possess instruments. For instance, contemporary popular music, jazz, pop and rock can be included in the range of music students learn to recognise. On the other hand, the high number of students in a class and the lack of instruments makes it impossible to apply other advantageous elements, methods and approaches for teaching music in the partner schools. There is, however, an opportunity to apply these approaches in a non-formal or informal educational environment.

Taking everything into account, a common European music teaching approach could represent the golden mean where it is important to keep music theory and practice in balance. Creating a joint framework for the music curriculum would be difficult but well worth the effort.  All the schools in Europe could benefit from applying the Kodály approach to music education, which boosts the development of the brain and ‘helps with maths and literacy’34, alongside which, Hungarian students could achieve their full potential in music education by gaining experience in creating music, playing instruments, experimenting with sounds and listening to contemporary music.



31 British teacher, 2019.

32 The term ‘co-curriculum’ is gaining in prominence in schools in England as a short-hand description of schools’ extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities.

33 Hungarian student, 2019.

34 British Kodály Academy.  ’Your questions answered.’  Coventry: British Kodály Academy, 2021.  Visit this website.   [Accessed 10 June 2021].


Image of participants