Our Work

MiSST works with 17 schools in the UK. MiSST helps secondary schools that have a disadvantaged and challenging student intake by providing not only funding for classical instruments, but also support in the form of regular tuition, opportunities to perform and a programme of excellence that is unrivalled in the UK.

What MiSST Does

For schools

Access to classical music education in UK schools is not a given. MiSST works with secondary schools who serve disadvantaged and sometimes challenging communities by providing not only enhanced staffing and funding for classical instruments, but also regular support, opportunities to perform and a programme of excellence that is unrivalled in the UK.

The MiSST ‘Pathways to Excellence’ ensures students who show musical promise are identified early and have access and opportunity to ensemble and orchestral playing.

For young people

Through our partner schools, MiSST works with young people of all backgrounds and abilities, helping to remove the barriers between them and classical music. MiSST unlocks hidden potential and builds confidence and social skills, connecting young people to the world of classical music and the arts in the best way possible – by putting it in their own hands.

For families

Every MiSST student takes the benefits of the programme back home with them. Their participation and smallest achievements are a source of pride for the whole family. Even if classical music is not part of family life, MiSST activities are a focal point, bringing new experiences, discovering and sharing the joy of classical music.

Key Stage 3 – Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme

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Radley Music Residential

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Pathways to Excellence Programmes

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How MiSST has adapted during the Covid-19 pandemic…

During this time of lockdown, we have been sure to adapt our programmes to ensure we are able to keep our students playing and learning. We are still delivering our Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme to years 7, 8 and 9 via video lessons uploaded to YouTube. They include theory lessons in addition to instrumental lessons for violin, clarinet and flute that cover all that would have been taught on the curriculum for the remainder of the academic year. To keep the engagement of our Saturday School students we have launched a 6 week project in which the students will learn the BBC Ten Pieces arrangement of Finlandia by Sibelius. Each week the students that attend MILO plus additional MiSST leaders will record practice videos that will be sent out every Saturday at 10am to all the other students. The students will then be invited to practice their parts as part of a virtual orchestra from the comfort of their own home. This project has ensured that all students on both excellence programmes (MILO and SMS) continue to be engaged and are able to progress during this time of lockdown. The MILO students have the opportunity to harness leadership and teaching skills whilst also learning how to film and upload videos. The SMS students will be given the structure which will help to keep them motivated to keep practicing and give them the opportunity to stay connected with their peers.

To see more please visit our YouTube channel:

Our Partner Schools

MiSST helps secondary schools that have a disadvantaged and challenging student intake by providing not only funding for classical instruments, but also support in the form of regular tuition, opportunities to perform and a programme of excellence that is unrivalled in the UK.

City of London Academy Highbury Grove, Islington

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Lister Community School, Newham

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Beacon High, Islington

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Frederick Bremer, Walthamstow

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St Mary Magdalene Academy Islington

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Sedgehill School, Lewisham

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City of London Academy Highgate Hill, Islington

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New North Academy, Islington

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Whitefield School, Barnet

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Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, Islington

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Nicholas Chamberlaine School, Warwickshire

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Harris Academy Peckham

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Samuel Rhodes School, Islington

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Central Foundation Boys School, Islington

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Sydney Russell School, Dagenham

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The Hathershaw College, Oldham

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The Radclyffe School, Oldham

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Our Stories



Highbury Grove School

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Daisy Corder


Highbury Grove School

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Highbury Grove School

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St Mary Magdalene Academy

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City of London Academy Highgate Hill

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Frederick Bremer School

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Teachers and Parents at Lister School talk about MiSST’s impact on them

Our timeline

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 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.”

See film – 5 minutes

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.

In September 2019 we welcomed two new schools to the MiSST programme, Nicholas Chamberlaine and Harris Academy Peckham.

We now have 4,445 students on the Andrew Lloyed Webber programme and a reach of over 8000 young people to date.

We have developed a new leadership orchestra called MILO (MiSST Islington Leaders Orchestra). The aim is to offer talented and accomplished young people in Islington, alongside students who have been in MiSST partner schools the opportunity to play at a standard of at least Grade 5, whilst developing leadership skills.

Our MiSST together programme has had another successful term giving students the opportunity to play in an orchestral setting with peers from other MiSST schools.





MiSST In Numbers

Student Number 2013-20


Instruments Provided


The MiSST Team

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Trustees & Patrons

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Our partners

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Make a Difference

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.

Donate to MiSST by clicking on the button below. Please help us to transform the lives of children and young people through music.


 Contact Information

Music in Secondary Schools Trust
356 Holloway Road
N7 6PA

Charity Number: 1151662

020 7697 4208

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday: 8:00 – 16:00

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