Staverton Church of England School in rural Wiltshire has invested £4000 to give every one of its 250 pupils a ukulele to help them get through the pandemic lockdown.
The project was one of the first acts of the school’s new headteacher, Edward Powe, who only took up the post on 4 January. It was inspired by Nicola Davies’ picture book, ‘Every Child a Song’, written in tribute to the The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The theme of the book is that every child is born with a unique song in them and Edward Powe felt the lockdown would be a good time for each of his pupils to find their own. His wife, Annabel, is giving online tutorials to teach the children to play and in-school classes are also being provided for the third of pupils who are vulnerable or the children of key workers.
‘It’s not a gimmick,’ Edward Powe told the Wiltshire Times. ‘The ukuleles are theirs for life. It’s an investment in their education and to say we value their uniqueness.
‘If just five children have a spark for music and learn how to express themselves, then it will have been worth it.’
As many schools have cut back music provision during the pandemic, Powe sees the investment as a worthwhile expense to benefit his pupils’ mental health at such a stressful time.