Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Music in Secondary Schools Trust is to transform the lives of children and young people through music

The Trust will do this by providing individual instruments and music lessons for whole year groups of students thus enabling students to study,  play and perform in ensemble and orchestral groups

As a result:

  • discipline and commitment to learning will improve
  • the skill of working in a team and a large group will be developed
  • academic attainment will increase

This will lead to lives being enriched.

Music in Secondary Schools Trust

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme

On 23 April 2013 the MiSST was launched at a press conference at Highbury Grove School, Islington.

The MiSST will promote the education of young people by:

  • supporting the Highbury Grove School model intensive music programme at Highbury Grove School and
  • rolling out this programme to other secondary schoolsEach student as they enter the secondary school will study a classical musical instrument for a minimum of 3 years as part of their compulsory curriculum. The instrument and the tuition will be at no cost to the students or their families. All students on the programme will be expected to practice and perform in ensemble and orchestral groups on a regular basis.In addition to Highbury Grove, the Andrew Lloyd Webber programme will begin in another secondary school in September 2013 and 2 further secondary schools in September 2014.Our first partner will be Lister Community School in Newham. Congratulations to them.The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation are co-funders of the MiSST.

Our Beginnings

2012 – 2013
  • September – 210 new year 7 students are given an instrument.  The media pick this up and the school is featured on several national stories as well as on CNN.
  • October – brass ensemble play at the DfE as part of the Black History celebrations
  • November – Lord Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber are guests at a special concert at HGS
  • March – Sixth Form choir and a soloist are part of a tribute to Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber in recognition of his 40 years in Musical Theatre, produced by ITV.
Summer exams 2012
  • 57% of students achieve 5 x A* – C including English and Maths
  • Cyan secures her place at Oxford to read Music!
2011 – 2012
  • Ofsted subject survey in Science – outstanding in all categories
  • Pilot begins to teach whole classes a stringed instrument as part of their weekly music lesson
  • November – invited as part of a mass ensemble from Islington to perform at the School’s prom at the Royal Albert Hall
  • December – the choir is invited to Buckingham Palace to sing as part of a celebratory event
  • March 2012 Invitation to join the Leading Edge network as a high performing, outstanding school
  • July – Bistrot Musicale – French food, French music and French singing to raise funds for the Highbury Grove School Foundation
  • There is a pit orchestra for the school musical
  • Quality in Study Support Advanced – Gold Award achieved for the second time
  • Attendance now hits 96%
Summer exams 2011
  • 45% of students achieve 5 x A* – C including English and Maths
  • Jesse secures a place at Oxford to read Chemistry
Summer Holiday 2011
  • NoFA – National Orchestra for All holds their first residential summer school at Warwick University. 10 students from HG attend and act as leaders
Academic year 2010 – 2011
  • Our new school is officially opened by Professor Tim Brighouse
  • Following our Open Events 962 children apply for a place for September 2011.  The school will now be full on 1st preferences – later there are several days of appeals to be heard
  • Scholars orchestra now rehearsing regularly and a symphony orchestra – they sound amazing
  • Increasing number of visits from other schools to see our practice
  • Invitation to Buckingham Palace to talk about Outward Bound and the impact it has had on our students
Summer exams 2010
  • 44% of students achieve 5 x A* – C including English and Maths
  • Yashir secures a place at Oxford to read Physics
Academic year 2009 – 2010
  • January – we move into our new school, it’s amazing, but we still have no outdoor space as the old school now has to be demolished and then landscaped
  • May – Arts Mark Gold awarded for the 3rd time
  • June – Ofsted call.  It’s official – we are Outstanding and they say “Highbury Grove is an outstandingly effective school” Music is mentioned 5 times in the report!
  • HGS is recognized as a specialist Music School
Summer exams 2009
  • 42% of students achieve 5 x A* – C including English and Maths
Academic year 2008 – 2009
  • 100 students are now involved in the project with instruments and 1:1 tuition
  • Access Project begins with the aim of supporting students to achieve places at Oxbridge and other Russell group universities
  • May 4th – inaugural concert at the Barbican to launch musicfirst.  HGS students play with may other musicians and it is amazing
Summer exams 2008
  • 32% of students achieve 5 x A* – C including English and Maths
Academic year 2007 – 2008
  • 80 students are now playing instruments.  Some of the first cohort drop out and others take their place
  • Ofsted visits and the school is judged to be good
  • Quality in Study Support Advanced – Gold Award is achieved
  • Specialist School programme begins of ‘a school within a school’.  Year 7s can now choose to have 4 hours of music in addition to their weekly class music lesson and Year 8 have 3.5 hours
Summer exams 2007
  • 25% of students achieve 5 x A* – C including English and Maths
Let the music begin ….
  • 60 students self select if they want to be part of the programme
  • The music rooms become a place to hang out
  • End of school year performance has a couple of highlights and students try their best, but there is a long way to go
Summer exams 2006
  • 27% of students achieve 5 x A* – C including English and Maths
A Beethoven 5th and 7th CD, inside of which read……

Lannar Acosta …. Had been arrested 9 times for armed robbery and drug offences before the Sistema offered him a clarinet.  “At first I thought they were joking,” he recalls.  “I thought nobody would trust a kid like me not to steal an instrument like that.  But then I realised that they were not lending it to me.  They were giving it to me.  And it felt much better in my hands than a gun”

Simon Bolívar Youth Orchestra

I knew a number of Lannars.  Could music be the answer to their troubled lives and the gang culture, which was coming ever closer to the school?

A trip to the Bronx – scary but inspiring

In one school every child played a stringed instrument! If they could do it in the Bronx, we could do it in Islington.

The beginnings at Highbury Grove School… Summer exams 2005

The story of MiSST begins at Highbury Grove where we chart the academic progress of the students as part of introducing the discipline of Music and the Arts…

  • 22% of students achieve 5 x A* – C including English and Maths

Memet Sucu

Memet migrated to England at the age of 5 from Gazi Antep in Turkey. Memet and his family are Kurdish, none of his family had ever spoken English before and didn’t know any English. Memet is also the oldest of all his siblings and cousins, so he had no older support to teach him the language. Memet began attending Highbury Grove School and at the age of 13 he developed a passion for music.

Memet had previously experimented with the Turkish Saz, but he decided to play it seriously, and also adopted the piano.

Since adopting the piano in year 8 Memet (now year 13) has achieved grade 8, and grade 5 theory.
Memet has had to face many obstacles in music, despite having to develop his knowledge of the English language to a higher level standard, Memet has also had to persuade his non-musical family to respect and support his dreams. Memet explains “ My family didn’t know anything about classical music, no one in the family has done music or respects classical music as their ear isn’t used to it.” Memet however has managed to prove himself and his family are now greatly supportive of him, they even built Memet a home studio to support his composing; he enjoys diversifying his music by meshing Kurdish and Western themes.

Memet is currently studying music at A level, and hopes to go to Surrey University to study film composition. Memet then plans to attend the national film school despite them only accepting two-three TV composer applications per year.
Memet’s best experiences at Highbury Grove are with his teachers. Mr Scarlato (piano teacher) has taught Memet a great deal of musical knowledge especially with compositions, and Miss Jones (music curriculum teacher) has helped Memet with his higher level English.

Memet’s favourite moment in HGS was playing the Saz to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Another favourite memory of Memet’s was having the opportunity to perform a Kurdish song with other Kurdish students at a Highbury Grove Assembly. Memet is the only fluent Saz player in the school and loves representing his culture. Memet dreams of developing a grading system for the Saz in the future.



Memet Sucu

KS5 - Year 13