Commissioned by soundLINCS and funded by Youth Music, the purpose of this document is to articulate the findings of an investigation focused on the efficacy of a training initiative which sought a greater understanding of music, and its value as a resource and intervention for Children’s Services Practitioners (CSPs) in Lincolnshire. The research team took part in a number of training days and engaged the participants in interviews and focus groups exploring the interaction between the Community Music Facilitator and the Children’s Services Practitioners, the music skills being passed on and their potential impact on the workforce. Questions included: What are the distinctive approaches to music development CPD in the soundLINCS project? What are each stakeholder group’s experiences of music development CPD? What is the perceived impact of music development CPD from the perspectives of each stakeholder group? What are the wider implications of the project?
Both responding and adding to the existing literature on Looked After Children and associated theoretical frameworks, workforce development, and projects that have previously engaged with music making the research findings suggested that (1) All participants on the training had a significant experience of music and were able to articulate its importance throughout their life journey; (2) A distinctive aspect of the soundLINCS training was to engage participants in a reflective dialogue of their music experience. Reflective practice was embedded in the training and resonated with the participants; (3) The training approach was effective and connected deeply with the Children’s Services Practitioners, aligning the personal to the professional. This created a springboard through which the workforce could employ music in developing relationships with the client group in the future; (4) The workforce valued the training and saw it as something different to the usual CPD offer; (5) The workforce indicated that working with music, in the way they were shown had the potential for supporting issues around behaviour and communication. In order to achieve greater impact they would need further resources, particularly technology based ones and importantly senior management support.
One of the objectives of the funding that supported the projected was to establish an evidence base that might be replicable beyond the geographic location. Because of the limited sample size and range of stakeholders engaged, this research can only point to the desirability to upscale the project. It is however clear that the primary research and literature point towards the potential benefits of rolling out CPD music training to the Looked After Children workforce.
This resource will be of interest to all professionals who work with vulnerable young people and are exploring how to improve their practice through music.