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.


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

Akua Prempeh

Akua started at Highbury Grove School in September 2012 after she was recommended the school by family friends. She lives at home with her Mum in their two bedroom flat in Islington and says she has really enjoyed her time so far at HGS.

Akua joined the Year 7 music Specialist School in November 2012 and has been passionately playing the clarinet ever since. Her teacher says she has excellent raw talent and has maturity and dedication beyond her years. She recently sat grade 2 ABRSM and received a distinction which is an excellent outcome for such a short period of time.

Her mum is extremely proud of her achievements in music so far and says it’s always been her dream for Akua to play an instrument. Akua said it’s great she gets lessons in school as Mum probably wouldn’t be able to pay for it otherwise. She has real potential as a classical musician and wants to get A’s in her GCSEs and A Levels to go to a good university to study music.


Akua Photo

Akua Prempeh

KS3 – Year 7