Cathy Byrne is the Deputy Head, Early Years Foundation Stage Coordinator and Special Education Needs Coordinator at Ethelred Nursery School and Children’s Centre in London. 

In 2018, they received an Interactive Music-Making Award for one of their staff members, Romina to access our Structured Training course for the under-fives. They wanted to embed our approach as one of a range of interventions available to the children accessing their services, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Despite supporting a local community with disproportionate numbers of children with additional and complex needs, Cathy’s setting rarely received any additional funding. The Awards scheme was therefore crucial in providing them access to impactful staff training.

The current educational funding climate has had a significant impact on maintained nursery schools… Without the IMM award scheme we would not have been able to find the money to pay for Romina’s course fees, travel or supply cover.

Once Romina successfully graduated from the course, Cathy was able to see positive changes begin to take place as a direct result of Romina’s new skills being embedded in her wider practice. Having observed a clear benefit, Cathy encourages other staff members supporting Romina to run music groups – sharing in her practice, and increasing the reach of her training for many more children.

The inclusive nature of the Interactive Music-Making approach enables children to participate irrespective of their starting points… children develop confidence and eagerness to participate in learning very quickly. Moreover, the positive regard which they experience in the group has a profound impact on their wellbeing.