The Role of Music in Closing the Early Years Attainment Gap

How to spend EYPP

This blog explores how focusing your Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) budget on increasing active music making in your setting can help narrow the attainment gap.

What is the attainment gap?

Research shows many children in poverty are less school ready than their peers, creating an ‘attainment gap’.  The biggest gap is in literacy skills.  ICAN communication charity research found that one in four children start school without the literacy skills they need at this stage. Without these crucial foundations they never catch up.

How does the Early Years Pupil Premium help?

The Government’s EYPP funding gives extra money to nurseries with children from poorer backgrounds to help them boost children’s key skills and so narrow the attainment gap and avoid the tragedy of children who do not fulfil their potential.  But what is the best way to spend this funding?

How music can help close the attainment gap?

Here at Boogie Mites we work with many nurseries and preschools who have been spending their EYPP funding on up-skilling their practitioners and parents in creative, active music making.

The scientific evidence is there. A structured music making programme in early years, that progresses rhythmic and melodic awareness, and is practised regularly in the setting and at home, will strengthen pre-literacy skills ready for school.

Specifically, research finds that music activities are the best for developing phoneme awareness, since music training consists of developing a higher awareness of sounds. This is significant because phoneme awareness at age 4 is the best predictor of reading and writing skills at age 5-7 years. It is for this reason that the Letters and Sounds Phase 1 (3-5 years) National Strategy for Literacy recommends daily music making to achieve phoneme awareness across the 7 Aspects.

But it’s not just early literacy skills that are positively impacted by early music making. There is also the added bonus of the benefits for maths, physical and social skills.

“Children who undertake regular active music making at this stage have significantly higher cognitive capacity – specifically in their language acquisition and numerical problem-solving skills.” (Anita Collins, Neuroscience, University of Canberra).

How can Boogie Mites training can help close the attainment gap?

Boogie Mites have spent 15 years developing music and movement programmes that require no prior music skills to implement successfully. Offering face to face training and off-the-shelf music training resource packs, Boogie Mites empowers early years practitioners to implement creative musical games, exercises and original songs in the setting, alongside your everyday activities, to boost development across the EYFS.

Sadly, there is a huge gap in the skills of many adults to provide this stimulating music making to support our children’s school readiness. So, whilst we have a scientifically proven tool to narrow the attainment gap, not enough people have the confidence and resources to use it!

Boogie Mites Music Programmes do everything that EYPP funding should aim for:

  1. Upskill your workforce (with music leading skills)
  2. Provide creative, multi-sensory, engaging, activities focused on strengthening literacy foundations, that can be practiced everyday (you won’t get bored of them)
  3. Involve parents to impact home learning (and develop relationships with parents)

(as evidenced by ‘Evaluation Of Boogie Mites Music Programmes‘ 2013 Chichester University)

You can read more about our training on our website here.

Demonstrating the impact

It is easy to demonstrate the impact that this investment makes on disadvantaged children.

  • Collect feedback from practitioners and parents about how their confidence and daily practice has changed.
  • Share research that show that increased active music making boosts brain development and literacy skills. You can find some on our website here.
  • Also collect feedback from parents and practitioners about their perception of children’s progress with the musical activities practiced and how this impacts on their communication, language, literacy, social, emotional and physical skills (and maths, creative development and knowledge of the world!).

You will have all the evidence you need to show Ofsted the amazing impact of the Boogie Mites music EYPP funded intervention.

Here is what one nursery group said about Boogie Mites training:

“The training and new resource packs have had exactly the impact we wanted and there has been an explosion of energy and motivation for introducing the new creative music making ideas. There have been specific examples of children who have visibly increased in confidence and vocalisation as a direct result of the programme already” (Jane Dkye, Owner/Manager of Yellow Dot Nursery Group)

In our next blog, we will be sharing a full case study of another setting who invested their EYPP funding in Boogie Mites training.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch

  • Call or email me, Sue Newman, Director at Boogie Mites for cluster, inset or other training options on 02392 817274,
  • Or take a look at our DVD training packs and parent workshop packs online at our shop.