Attendance, self-assessment and the West Yorkshire Big Disco.
Following our previous concerns that we may have to over-subscribe to increase our average attendance in studio sessions we now have 17 YP subscribed to our Tuesdays (out of an expected 16) and 11 on Mondays (out of an expected 8). The average attendance has risen now to 19 p.w. out of an intended 24. This is a fine increase on our first terms 13 p.w. It implies that oversubscribing was the right thing to do to allow for the young people's chaotic lifestyles and pastoral issues.
We can see from our data that some of our YP have effectively stopped attending and so we are continuing to recruit, while ensuring that we will always welcome anyone back even if they have only attended once and then taken a year between visits. Of those who are really regular we are getting excellent attendance and perfect punctuality – so far the only thing stopping YP from being on time has been traffic affecting bus routes or parent/carers' work commitment, and the main factor affecting actual attendance amongst those who do regularly attend has been exams or family holidays.
Of those who attend most regularly and who we have been able to assess ourselves we have seen a steady increase in skills, communication and reflection practise with 6 progressing up a level in our progression route. Unfortunately due to various external factors only 7 have actually played live so far. Interestingly only 19 of the total 28 have self-assessed themselves as progressing and nearly all have shown evidence of a dip in self-assessment after a few weeks, followed by a subsequent increase. We put this down to the Dunning-Kruger effect and use it to instigate discussion and encourage further reflection on the learning process and the importance of regular attendance and practise for the YP.
The biggest issue we are currently facing is persuading secondary schools to take up our offer – even our most long-standing contacts in secondary education are finding it harder and harder to justify off-curriculum activities for students, especially in music. We have balanced this by achieving far more delivery than we expected at other organisations and events, especially with the most vulnerable and hard to reach young people such as with a group of Bangladeshi children, an all girls group and the salvation army, but also at open events such as our end of term show in Kirkgate Market, a day in leeds city museum and a stall at the West Yorkshire Big Disco – so for a laugh, here's the big disco aftermovie – it was heaps of fun!