Students from The Holgate Academy take part in a partnership event at Royal Concert Hall Nottingham, December 2017

8 November 2018

Since 2016 students and teachers at The Holgate Academy in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, have been involved in activity with NYCGB, through a NYCGB partnership including Inspire, Nottinghamshire Music Education Hub and the Theatre Royal Concert Hall Nottingham

One of eleven Nottinghamshire secondary schools benefitting from targeted NYCGB workshops, The Holgate Academy has stood out through the commitment of its staff and students to learn and develop their skills.

Making an impact

A student at The Holgate Academy says:

I’m in the choir because at first I got made to go in because of my teacher and then I just really liked it because it made me find different people and it made me who I am now.

A teacher at The Holgate Academy says:

Holgate students would not have had the chance to perform at the Royal Concert Hall or with so many other musical pupils. The opportunities they are given through the partnership are amazing and they all come away inspired and wanting to trial more with singing.

1,800 Nottinghamshire students have taken part in activity with NYCGB since 2016. The targeted partnership which aims to provide inspirational opportunities and raise musical aspirations is a close collaboration between NYCGB, Inspire, Nottinghamshire Music Education Hub, and Nottingham Theatre Royal & Concert Hall. Nottinghamshire Music Education Hub is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and the Department for Education.

The Holgate Academy’s choir has now performed at the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham four times, taken part in four large-scale workshops with schools from across the county, and NYCGB staff have visited the school to coach the choir five times.

Developing creative ambitions

Over the last two years NMEH and NYCGB staff have seen confidence levels rise and musical ambitions develop at The Holgate Academy.

Two Holgate teachers now run two choirs which meet every week and add in extra after-school rehearsals in the build-up to performances. In an important development, The Holgate Academy has also started to offer GCSE Music to students.

We asked Holgate staff what difference they had seen in choir members since being involved in the partnership: 

  • Singers are all keen to audition for school shows “whereas confidence hasn’t always been there.”
  • They display more confidence in their own abilities: in their solos and in performing in front of the group.
  • “They’re willing to try out for things outside of school – two are going to try out for The Voice Kids.”

The creative ambitions aren’t limited to the young singers, though. This November Holgate will stage its first whole school musical in three years – High School Musical. Break a leg, Holgate singers!

Growing resilience

NYCGB understands that exactly how a choir contributes to the atmosphere at a school and the students’ development can sometimes be hard to map. However, we believe that the skills imparted go beyond the musical.

This is how a teacher at The Holgate Academy described it:

A few of the girls in the A Cappella choir used to panic and get upset when learning new songs as they found singing in harmony too difficult and stressful. More exposure (NYCGB events, workshops, school concerts, performances) means resilience has grown and pupils tackle difficult songs/harmonies with less distress! Other pupils have come out of their shell and are much more willing/confident to perform with the choir as they feel like a stronger unit and support one another throughout rehearsals/performances.