Calderdale Music Policy Pages Header

IDEA Strategy

Calderdale Music Policy Pages Header

Calderdale Music IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) statement 

“At Calderdale Music, we are committed to providing access to a musical community in which everyone feels they can belong. Staff are appointed based on values and ability, with regular and high-quality training opportunities which raise awareness of IDEA practices. We take steps to provide an environment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity, and without discrimination. We will not condone any form of harassment, inequality or exclusivity based upon any characteristics, protected or otherwise.” 

1. Introduction

Calderdale Music is an innovative, independent Music Education Hub, employing Music Leaders, Administrative Staff, and a Digital Marketing and Media Manager. The Middle Management team includes a Project and Inclusion Lead, and Ensemble and Instrumental Tuition Lead, whilst SLT consists of a Business Manager, Assistant Principal and Principal. Our Music Leaders comprise a range of Whole Class Ensemble and School Curriculum specialists, Ensemble and Instrumental Specialists and Singing/Voice Specialists.

The board of trustees for Calderdale Music bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm, fundamental to the success of the organisation. A new IDEA Board Sub-Committee has been created to address areas of provision that are not yet reflective of the diverse nature of the area.

According to the Census 2021, there are 206,600 people in Calderdale. It is a culturally diverse area with around 87% British/White British, 10% Asian/Asian British and 2% Mixed/Black British, covering 140 square miles and provides education to around 38000 children and young people in 102 schools in primary, secondary and special school settings. We deliver provision in schools across all phases, whilst working with schools through supporting their SMEP, Singing Strategies and training needs. In addition, we serve families and individuals independently, providing tuition in music and singing, alongside a growing variety of ensembles.

We have well established partnerships with many local arts organisations including Music and The Deaf and Calderdale Council School Effectiveness Service which aims to ensure that all children in Calderdale receive excellent standards of education through high levels of challenge, support and monitoring.

This strategy is a working document that will build on the existing foundations of inclusion within Calderdale Music, articulating our journey as we strive towards reaching our vision.

2. Definitions: What IDEA means to us


At Calderdale Music, everyone belongs – we engage with and value everyone’s skills, ideas and viewpoints. Our staff and governance feel supported, trusted and valued. People are welcomed to share their true and authentic self. We want to know more from our staff and stakeholders about their needs and barriers so we can overcome them; consultations and discussions are important to us.


Everyone is different and unique. We recognise and value differences and diverse perspectives. Our work aims to reflect the societies within which we operate. Although Calderdale’s largest ethnic group is White British, around 8% identify as Asian of which the majority are Pakistani (7%). We aim for the musical cultures from South Asia to be more highly represented and celebrated within our organisation.


Equity involves recognising that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments to imbalances, seeking to support those who need it most. All human beings have equal worth. At Calderdale Music we understand that equity is the right to equality, and we ensure equality of opportunity by considering different needs and capabilities without discrimination.


With 23.5% of children in Calderdale described as living in in poverty, financial barriers are significant. Geographically, Calderdale is widely spread with 17 wards of differing sizes and demographics, ranging from urban areas to large rural expanses and over 23 miles from East to West. Over 75% of Calderdale residents live in urban areas, although 80% of the Calderdale area is rural. We strive to understand the differing needs of each ward and by considering these issues, a high-quality musical education will be enabled for all.

3. The value of IDEA in music education

There is increasing evidence showing the importance of an increased holistic approach to music education, which identifies strong links between musical and socio-personal development (Hallam, 2010; Saunders and Welch, 2012; Welch et al., 2014). On this basis, musical inclusion is important and beneficial for everybody, but is particularly important for disadvantaged and marginalised people and those at risk of low attainment, disengagement, or educational exclusion.

A high-quality inclusive music education experience can be transformative, not only in increasing motivation for music making, but also extended into other areas of education; the “intrinsic motivation” that is so critical to learning (Youth Music, 2022, p3). Whilst music offers the opportunity for self-expression, it can also help increase one’s confidence, self-belief and self-worth, alongside developing inter-personal skills of social connection and social bonding (Hallam, 2015).

“For musical inclusivity to be meaningful there have to be opportunities for learners to be supported as musicians across all genres and styles, by teachers who are equipped to help them reach their musical potential” (Kinsella et al, 2018, p3)

Musically inclusive practice ensures accessibility for all those who wish to make music (Youth Music, 2022). This is made possible by embracing a wide and authentic range of genres and styles, encouraging participants to achieve social and personal outcomes as well as musical ones, and having a workforce which will value and support people of all backgrounds, needs and interests. IDEA is an unending journey that requires commitment, awareness and cooperation from all those involved (Booth and Ainscow, 2011).

4. Vision, Mission and Values

The vision:

Calderdale Music is recognised as creating an inclusive music education culture where all those connected are valued for their unique qualities, ideas, voices and perspectives and where they can see Calderdale Music as providing a range of supportive, diverse and suitable musical experiences and progression pathways. Pupils and staff feel authentically represented, valued and heard, with aspirational role models and opportunities to inspire and develop creativity together.

The Mission:

Calderdale Music is committed to ensuring a strong culture of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) with a sustainable inclusive future embedded within it. Calderdale Music supports EVERYBODY in accessing high quality musical experiences, and especially those who may have barriers to musical learning and opportunities. We seek to actively break down barriers created through challenging circumstances, which may be categorised into the following groups:

  1. Life condition – those with a permanent condition or disability.
  2. Geographical Issues – those with a challenge related to where they live, such as rural isolation, or living in areas of social and economic deprivation.
  3. Background – those from a particular minority background (ethnic, cultural or faith based) which can impact their access to and progress in music.
  4. Life circumstances – refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, young people who are looked after (CLA).
  5. Behavioural issues – those with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties especially cases where behavioural issues in young people result in exclusion from mainstream school.

Our Values:

The HEARD principles are embedded and reflected at all levels in the organisation, ensuring outcomes that are holistically driven.

We understand that the road to IDEA is a journey and will work together with learners, schools, families, workforce, partners and communities in pursuit of our vision. We actively encourage conversations and feedback, listening with respect and transparency. Calderdale Music can be trusted to deliver innovative solutions to barriers to and through music.

5. Where we are now

In 2021/2022, we were part of the Changing Tracks pilot scheme for Creative Music Nurture Groups. Since then, we have expanded this into our schools’ offer, supporting children’s well-being and mental health through making and creating music together. We also have embedded other successful projects which focus on pupils’ SEMH , embarking on an inclusive journey of discovery and creativity in order to raise achievement. Through working with Music and the Deaf on a project in special schools with d/Deaf children, we aim to destigmatise the notion that they are unable to participate due to a hearing deficit and instead acknowledge that ALL children are born innately musical and should be given the opportunity to explore and create with music. Our organisation’s policies are now being written with IDEA in mind, with additional focus moving forward on our recruitment strategies of both trustees and employees. We are also prioritising the financial barrier, to determine ways in which we can support financially disadvantaged pupils.

In the past 12 months our inclusion strategy has helped us to support our workforce through CPD and training in inclusion; from language and awareness of discrimination to working with children with additional needs and disabilities (including adapting instruments) and re-evaluating our curriculum repertoire choices for authentic diversity. This has led us to improve and strengthen our data collection in order that this can inform future strategies, as outlined in this document.

6. Aims

Our aim is to develop strategies that have a real, tangible impact on the people we work with, underpinned by the HEARD principles. As a musically inclusive hub we will:

  • Put children and young people at the heart of our work, particularly those in challenging circumstances, giving them a voice, prioritising their self-expression and musical creativity.
  • Support diverse, high-quality music-making across a wide range of musical genres and activities.
  • Ensure understanding of the different approaches to teaching and learning among all those involved in music education.
  • Identify and break down all barriers to music-making that are encountered.
  • Make inclusion a central factor in all our work, as inspired by Booth and Ainscow’s Index dimensions (2011).
Booth, T. and Ainscow, M. (2011)

7. Strategic Priorities

Calderdale Music has 5 threads of priorities in order to embed an inclusive culture throughout the organisation. For each, a set of objectives has been created, from which an action plan will be produced. Some activities will advance more than one priority:

1. Ensure workforce and governance are aligned with our IDEA vision

Calderdale Music will create inclusive champions within the organisation through:

  • Regular CPD delivered to staff, in person and through electronic communications, with IDEA on the agenda, including assessing position on commitment model (see appendix A)
  • embedding IDEA principles in performance management
  • ensuring the onboarding and induction processes are clear and effective
  • engaging the Board of trustees in IDEA principles and awareness
  • Hearing employee voice: Staff feel valued and heard
  • Regular updates and IDEA initiatives to be shared with staff
  • Awareness of wellbeing and management of expectations
  • Regularly reviewing and auditing social media and website for IDEA awareness and values
  • All policies, communications and processes are created and reviewed with IDEA culture and values in mind.

2. Assess the impact of inclusive measures

Calderdale Music will commit to ensuring that:

  • Analysis of data will drive decisions
  • Effectiveness of data gathering processes will be evaluated and streamlined
  • A teaching and Learning IDEA outcomes framework is created
  • Staff regular refer to holistic outcomes in their feedback (verbal and written)
  • Observations will involve recognition of IDEA principles
  • Youth Voice reports will indicate shifts in IDEA outcomes
  • The data gathered will evidence gaps in provision to prioritise focus, especially regarding gender, ethnicity, FSM, EAL, CLA and SEND

3. Champion diversity throughout the organisation

Musical offer, workforce and governance will be representative of the diversity of Calderdale through:

  • Regular mapping of our musical offer – taking into account governance, workforce interest, skills and experience
  • a partnership scoping study, with agreements to be revised which include a commitment to inclusive practice
  • Use of employee, partner and youth voice to discuss and determine particular areas of focus
  • Review and update inclusive recruitment practices of staff and board (audit process and outcomes, increase employment initiatives – apprentices, internships)
  • Increasing engagement from marginalised communities and cultures, including opportunities to share and celebrate with inspirational role model musicians

4. Expand sustainable ways to engage those in challenging circumstances

Extended opportunities to reach disadvantaged pupils through:

  • Progression pathways beyond inclusive projects, such as Nurture Groups and My Voice Matters
  • Creating satellite centres which will support geographical barriers
  • Engaging with special schools and AP schools and increasing engagement in these settings
  • SEMH and SEND awareness visible in teaching at all levels
  • Increasing partnerships with successfully inclusive organisations and sharing good practice
  • Clarity on accessibility of ensembles and learning experiences
  • Exploring well-being of workforce and stakeholders
  • Social prescribing pathways for health and well-being through music

5. Create a financially supportive system

Calderdale Music will provide remission and subsidies through:

  • Establishing a clear remissions policy, to be annually reviewed
  • Promoting and publicising remission options
  • Clear pathways for access and the application process
  • Seeking additional funding sources to create a bursary fund offer for those in financial hardship
  • Developing a financially sustainable trust foundation and fundraising plan
  • Looking to other successful models of bursaries and financial support to share best practice

8. Next Steps 

A detailed action plan outlining measurable targets for the academic year has been produced based on the above strategic priorities. We will continue to engage in good practice, reflecting and reporting on progress on our IDEA journey.


Booth, T. and Ainscow, M. (2011). Index for Inclusion: Developing Learning and Participation in Schools. Bristol: Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education. 

Hallam, S. (2010). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. International Journal of Music Education, 28(3), 269–289. 

Hallam, S. (2015). The power of music: a research synthesis of the impact of actively making music on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. London: International Music Education Research Centre (iMerc).  

Rinta, T., Purves, R.S., Welch, G., Stadler Elmer, S. and Bissig, R (2011). Connections between children’s feelings of social inclusion and their musical backgrounds. Journal of Social Inclusion, 2(2), pp.34-57. 

Saunders, J. and Welch, G.F. (2012). Communities of music education. London: Youth Music/International Music Education Research Centre, Institute of Education 

Welch, G.F., Himonides, E., Saunders, J., Papageorgi, I. and Sarazin, M. (2014). Singing and social inclusion. Frontiers in psychology, 5, p.803. 

Youth Music, (2022) Working with Hubs, Musical Inclusion Guidance 

Accessed November 2022 

Appendix A

Table of Contents