Cambridgeshire Music NEET Prevention course

Cambridgeshire Music

NEET Prevention course at North Cambridge Academy

The NEET prevention course at North Cambridge Academy (NCA) focused on utilising music (including music production, performance and management), to engage young people who are disengaged with school or struggle to express themselves and interact with others. NEET young people are Not in Education, Employment or Training.

Ten students were involved in this project; three in year seven, two in year eight,  two in year nine, and three in year ten. They were selected by the Head of Music together with Senior Management, and the Headteacher was strongly behind the project; keen to discuss the outcomes on the Music Enterprise Day.

The ten core participant engaged throughout the project, all in challenging circumstances. Seven of these students are classed as Special Educational Needs (SEN), and seven as Pupil Premium (PP), with six falling into both categories. Eight are in economic deprivation, and all are white British.

The plan was for school based sessions to be introduced as a means of communicating with the world for young people who are either disengaged with school, or unable to express themselves and cannot interact with others. Following on from this would be band skills sessions encouraging the young people to work together as a team. They used Garage Band, practical song writing, instruments, and learnt skills in managing equipment e.g. how to load and unload safely, how to set up sound equipment and dismantle it safely. Wider areas covered included studio sound, music journalism, understanding record labels, live sound and lights, creative composition and reflection. A trip to Cambridge Junction or similar would have shown the young people sound equipment and staging, but could not take place due to the school breaking up for the summer one week earlier than everyone else. The learning was linked to a Careers Taster Music Enterprise Day session covering all music industry related activities and Arts Award Discover open to Primary Schools. Workshops during the day covered Music Journalism, Live Performance, Band Workshop and Careers, to reinforce the work from in the school based sessions. All lesson plans and resources for Primary Schools were provided in advance to help them achieve their Arts Award and get the most out of the day.

One hundred and twenty year five and six students from cluster Primary Schools were hosted by North Cambridge Academy and the young people involved in this project. The NCA participants acted as mentors and guides for the day, as the primary school students were given a wider understanding of where they can aim for in life. The  appreciated having the NCA students as music leaders.


Expected Outcomes:

-Intervention would prevent disengaged school students from becoming NEET

-Increased musical skill and knowledge for young people

-Improved social skills and empathy in children and young people.

-Improved health through singing and music making, and the development of transferable skills

-Increased resilience in coping with challenges

-Enable progression pathways for young people, introducing them to wider employment possibilities

-Increased musically inclusive practice in Cambridgeshire Music


Using MusicNet-East evaluation tools, discussion, informal feedback and collaboration with colleagues involved with the same groups

-Arts Award where appropriate

-Tracking the students over the next 4 years in order to ascertain how many continue with creativity.

We have kept a close link with NCA and will be able to track these students to see whether they do become more engaged with education, and whether they follow a career in the arts.

At the end of the project, the Head of Music commented:

“I have definitely seen positive improvements with the students. B (autism, disengaged, struggles to take part and low in confidence), S, T and D in terms of their confidence at trying to tasks, and their resilience. F and K’s social skills have improved, they are both more open to working with people they are not necessarily friends with. K has also developed leadership skills. S, J and D’s sense of mastery has improved, these are students who have had the opportunity to feel a sense of achievement through the project. Ja is generally very engaged in music, but I think this project has really helped build his confidence in terms of speaking out in class and having confidence in his ideas. R and R have more ideas about the possibilities of music jobs in the future. RR in particular has expressed an interest in wanting to be a sound engineer or music producer.”

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