MiSST was founded in 2013 after several years of development at Highbury Grove School. From inauspicious beginnings, the methods that became the Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme were key in transforming outcomes at the school. MiSST now provides opportunities to over 3,700 students and improves educational and social outcomes through the provision of classical instruments and expert tuition.
In 2006 our CEO Truda White is Headteacher at Highbury Grove school. During a study visit to The Bronx, New York, she sees a whole class string programme that, for the young people, is having a transformational effect. Inspired by this she aims to develop a similar programme in her school. There are few resources, no scheme to follow and whilst initially students sre enthusiastic, they quickly lose interest once they realise that mastering a classical instrument requires regular practice.
A chance meeting and a passionate pitch set the scene for the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust to become involved by providing regular and significant funding to develop a classical music programme.
In 2007 Highbury Grove is judged by Ofsted to be a good school and in 2010 said ‘Highbury Grove is an outstandingly effective school’. In particular they note… the outstanding extra provision offered in music…
In July 2012 Truda White retires as Headteacher
Autumn Term 2012
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber mentions Highbury Grove in the House of Lords in relation to the impact on music and arts provision more widely of the EBacc. He is invited to the school.
Following this visit, an application to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation is successful and the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust agree to match the funding secured. There is now enough money for 4 schools to have a full classical music programme.
The Music in Secondary Schools Trust launches in April 2013 with the belief that children and young people’s lives could be transformed through high quality music education.
The Lister Community School in Newham becomes the first school to join Highbury Grove as a partner in the newly-formed charity.
MiSST is approached by the Brewers’ Livery Company, who manage the finances of the Dame Alice Owen Foundation. The DAOF supports Islington schools to improve outcomes for young people. Their proposal is for every Islington secondary schools to have the opportunity to run the music programme, for a period of 4 years.
Funding from the DAOF, through the Brewers’ is agreed in principle over a 10-year period.
The National Youth Orchestra of GB begin a partnership with MiSST to showcase the work of the orchestra in school and to work alongside teenagers. The in-school residency is a huge success with many young people inspired to practice even more!
4 new schools become part of MiSST – Sedgehill, Frederick Bremer, Mount Carmel and Islington Arts and Media School. MiSST is now in 4 Local Authorities and there are 1700 students on the ALW Programme
May 2015 sees the inaugural concert of MiSST at the Barbican bringing together over 300 musicians to perform with and alongside Nicola Benedetti. A student from Frederick Bremer says: “Playing at the Barbican was a great opportunity especially playing beside Nicola Benedetti and making friends with other pupils from other schools.”
July 2015 is the first MiSST residential at Radley College. 80 students for 3 nights and 4 days. It is memorable, inspiring and totally exhausting.
The year begins with 12 MiSST students playing with Nicola Benedetti at the Royal Albert hall. 4000 people are in the audience.
St Mary Magdalene Academy Islington becomes MiSST’s next partner and the New North Academy primary school partner with us to trial and develop a primary programme. Almost 300 young people are now receiving regular group tuition.
May 2016: Prince Charles is inducted into the Brewers’ Livery Company and MiSST students are invited to meet him to talk about their music.
June 2016: HM the Queen visits Lister Community School and MiSST students have a once in a lifetime chance to perform for HM, alongside the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. This is an amazing experience for all students and staff.
Later that month MiSST’s annual Concert is held at Goldsmiths – University of London. A feature of the event is a portrait exhibition called Challenge and Change. 12 portrait photographs are taken by Leonora Saunders of students with their instruments in unusual locations around London to challenge the notion that classical music is not for everyone.
85 students attend the second Radley Residential.
August 2016: Deronne White is accepted at the Royal College of Music
In September 2016 Holloway School becomes a partner and MiSST launches a Saturday Music School for our highest achieving students, and welcomes its first cohort of peripatetic tutors to our Certificate for Music Educators course.
October 2016 sees the 30th Anniversary of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera which is celebrated with a very special charity gala performance in aid of MiSST. The event is phenomenal.
January 2017, 22 students have a ‘sleep-out’ to raise money for Centre Point. Over £2,500 is raised by the young people and donors match this so giving Centre Point a cheque for £5,000.
April 2017, the 4th NYO residency is held at Lister and Mount Carmel School. They are joined by students from Frederick Bremer and St Mary Magdalene Academy. This is another huge success for all the students who took part.
In June 2017, MiSST students come together to perform at the LSO St. Luke’s. The standard is high and repertoire included Palladio by Jenkins, a Mozart piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto.
In July 2017, 115 MiSST students attend a 4-day orchestral residency at Radley College.
In September, Whitefield School Barnet and Samuel Rhodes Special School Islington join the MiSST family. Arts and Media School Islington become our first alumni school, taking responsibility for the programme and developing ensemble player further.
Nicola Benedetti joins MiSST students for 3 days of workshops which raises the standard of playing considerably. Encouraged and inspired, more young people join the Saturday Music School.
December 2017 the first MiSST Leadership Weekend takes place in partnership with Outward Bound. 12 teenagers travel to the Lake District.
There are now 3700 young people on the programme and a reach of more than 5000.
This academic year sees MiSST reach 5 years in operation with an anniversary birthday concert at the London palladium on 23 April 2018.
The annual MiSST Radley Residential expanded this year for it’s fourth instalment, taking 240 students over a 10-day period.
In September, Central Foundation Boys School and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School become MiSST partner schools.
MiSST In Numbers
MiSST Funding 2013-14
Student Number 2013-18
The MiSST TeamRead more
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MiSST gives opportunities to young people of all backgrounds, directly benefitting them, their families and communities.
MiSST cannot do its work without the support of our donors. Every pound donated makes a difference, enabling more young people and families to participate and become part of the MiSST family.
You can be part of that family too, by donating today.
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