Winners 2024

Outstanding Musical Initiative

Winner: Learn To Play, Olympias Music Foundation

Sponsored by:

Promising a good long-term legacy, this project impressed judges with its reach and impact for young people and their families. OMF’s vision to create a brave new generation of diverse young musicians and audiences is clear in the project, and the judges were particularly impressed by how it targeted a lack of access to music lessons for young students in Manchester.


• Ark Music, Ark Schools
• Earthsong Programme, Bristol Beacon, and the Earthsong Foundation
• Orchestras for All
• The King’s Coronation Bandstand, Music for Youth
• The OAE at Acland Burghley School

Outstanding Drama Initiative

Winner: Lit in Colour, Bloomsbury Publishing

The judges felt that this initiative had the greatest reach and impact in what was a very strong shortlist. They were impressed with how the scheme tackled, with care, a very topical issue in drama classrooms, and they were impressed with the wide-reaching change in syllabus content that has happened as a result of this inspiring project.


• Immersive Telepresence in Theatre, Coventry University
• Light UP, Unexpected Places
• Speech Bubbles, Speech Bubbles CiC
• What You Will, Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation
• Write Here Write Now, Polka Theatre

Outstanding Music Education Resource

Winner: ChoirMaker, Ex Cathedra

Sponsored by:

The judges appreciated the focus, rigour and innovation of this resource, which was designed in response to a clear gap in the provision of singing at Key Stage 2 and 3. They felt that the musical selections and range made this an ideal standalone yet supportive resource.


• Aurora Classroom
• Primary Singing Toolkit, ISM Trust and Voices Foundation
• Teaching Notes podcast, Music Teachers Association
• YuStudio, Charanga

NEW - Outstanding Music Education Print Resource

Winner: Slap Djembe, Andy Gleadhill, Percussion Plus

The judges agreed that this was an original and comprehensive resource for teachers to teach drumming effectively and break down barriers. It was excellent for visual learners, and was well planned and sequenced, with an innovative use of video. The judges were particularly impressed with how the resource engaged with rhythm and notation in a culturally sensitive and progressive way.


How to Make Your Choir Sound Awesome, Lucy Hollins & Suzzie Vango, Banks Music

The judges thought this comprehensive resource was innovative and brimming with information, and timely for reinvigorating school singing.


• A Young Person’s Guide to Vocal Health, Olivia Sparkhall, Compton Publishing
• Don't Fear the Horn, Richard Steggall, Bromley Brass Press
• Instant Primary Music Lessons, Ann Bryant, Rhinegold Education
• Violin Junior Series, Ros Stephen, Schott Music
• Where Are All The Instruments? West Africa, Nathan Holder

Outstanding Drama Education Resource

Winner: Prospero, C&T

Describing this as an ‘innovative project with lots of potential to upscale’, the judges agreed that Prospero does a brilliant job at combining technology with collaborative learning in drama lessons. The judges agreed that its growing community of creatives, teachers and learners has the potential to reach international levels and they wish to support this mission of growing interactive learning resources for students.


• Beyond the Canon’s Plays for Young Activists, Bloomsbury Publishing
• Drama Games for Exploring Shakespeare, Nick Hern Books and Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation
• Frantic Studio, Frantic Assembly

Excellence in SEND (Music & Drama)

Winner: UpRising Balloon, Music Education Hubs East Midlands

The judges supported the innovative, sustainable, and individual needs-based approach of this online resource for music educators, which is free. They noted the level of success enjoyed by teachers using the resource, and the long-term potential impact for the S-E-N-D classroom.


• Awards and Certificates in Musical Development, Trinity College London
• Count Me In! Services For Education and University of Roehampton
• Creative Music Nurture Groups, Hertfordshire Music Service
• INSPIRE, Live Music Now
• Sounds Wild, Soundabout

Excellence in Musical Theatre (Music & Drama)

Winner: Theatre Peckham

Sponsored by:

The judges supported the high-quality work that Theatre Peckham offers to young people in its community, highlighting the impact it has had on a wide range of ages. As well as making theatre more accessible to those who have struggled to gain access, Theatre Peckham impressed with its peer-to-peer encouragement offered by young participants to younger counterparts; this quality made Theatre Peckham a standout winner.


• A Summer in Ruins, A Place for Us CIC
• CAPA Juniors, Trinity Academy Cathedral
• Rhymes LIVE!, London Rhymes
• Starcast, Performing Arts schools in Salisbury and Fordingbridge

Excellence in Primary/Early Years (Music & Drama)

Winner: Listen Imagine Compose Primary, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

The judges agreed that this project does an amazing job at uniting composers with schools, and they were impressed with how many children have been supported in their individual creativity. The judges also noted the scalability of the project, the quality of the free resources, and how effective the leadership has been.


Thinking Music

The judges agreed that this project was innovative in forging links between universities and schools – to their mutual benefit – and they were impressed with its unique approach, commitment, and potential for growth.


• Musical Mondays, Live Music Now
• Play Percussion, Sing Up
• The Creative Space, Brays School

The Rocksteady Award for Progressive and Inclusive Music Education

Winner: Hope Creative, Bristol Beacon

Sponsored by:

The judges were impressed by the inclusivity of this project, declaring it a ‘worthy winner that addresses a real need’. The inspirational music-making activities for care experience children, care leavers and young carers were scalable and ambitious, and those involved felt supported in using music to take creative risks and to bond with peers.


• Aspire, Amasing
• Inspire, Live Music Now
• Intergenerational Music Sessions, Live The Beat
• Learn To Play, Olympias Music Foundation
• Sounds Virtual, Soundabout

Outstanding School Music Department

Winner: School21, Stratford

Sponsored by:

The judges agreed that Music appears to define School 21, and they were impressed by the exceptional quality and variety of its provision across the age range, in a relatively short period of time. Located in Stratford, East London, with many pupils on free school meals, the school has become a musical beacon in its community. The judges were also impressed by the many heartfelt endorsements from parents, who acknowledged the professionalism and commitment of teachers.


Tattershall Primary

The judges were amazed at the level of engagement in music at Tattershall Primary and at this level of provision, in a rural area and with such committed staff.


• Bishop Wordsworth's School
• Formby High School
• Loughborough Schools Foundation
• St John Rigby College
• Yealmpstone Farm Primary

Outstanding School Drama Department

Winner: ClassAction, Godalming Sixth Form College

Sponsored by:

Emphasising the strength of the school’s links to the industry, the judges agreed that Godalming provided excellent opportunities for learning with professional companies and practitioners, making this school a deserving winner. They were thoroughly impressed by the brilliant extracurricular options, passionate teaching staff, and success and track record of the school’s alumni.


• Beaumont School
• Chiswick School
• Malton School and Sixth Form
• Wellington College

Francesca Hanley Inspiration Award

Winner: Jayne Smith

Sponsored by:

The judges found string teacher Jayne Smith to be a truly inspiring teacher, with unlimited commitment, generosity, and compassion. Her dedication to pupils was evident from their own warm testimonials, and parents described her support with lending instruments, exam preparation and organising events as transformational. She is ‘wonder woman’, in the words of one, and embodies the very best in inclusive practice.


Jayne Barnes

The judges felt that Jayne exemplified what a strong teacher does and were moved by her passion to nurture talent, and her big strides towards improving access and inclusion.

• Carl Smith
• Kat Penn
• Rachael Borman

Instrumental or Vocal Teacher of the Year

Winner: Cathy Laney

The judges were impressed by Cathy’s unwavering professionalism as a teacher, mentor, conductor, and organiser, and by her commitment to CPD and acquiring new musical skills during the last 30 years. One judge said: ‘this is clearly someone who loved making-music at every level and is one of those people who would do anything for you, and certainly won’t watch the clock’.


• Eleanor Diack
• Niall Oates
• Sandie Williams

Drama Inspiration Award

Winner: Russeni Fisher

Sponsored by:

After the judges agreed that Russeni Fisher should win this category, one described him as ‘an incredible role model for young people who goes above and beyond to navigate the needs of every student’. They were impressed by the wide demographic of people that he had reached, including the number of vulnerable young people, and they agreed that his approachability made Russeni a stand-out winner.


• Adam Milford
• Kirsty Marsh
• Megan Ratcliff

Music Teacher Magazine Editor's Award

Winner: Nathaniel Dye

Sponsored by:

         I have decided to give the award to an outstanding teacher who became a speaker, writer and strong advocate for music education during the last year. This person has displayed bravery and great ambition in the face of a cancer diagnosis, giving inspiration to many.

Phil Croydon
Editor of Music Teacher Magazine

Drama & Theatre Magazine Editor's Award

Winner: The Creative Space, led by Harry Dawes

Sponsored by:

I have decided to give the award this year to The Creative Space – a multi-sensory drama studio that provides a substantial programme of immersive theatre workshops, reaching children in Birmingham with Special Educational Needs. I am thrilled at the impact that the space has had on those involved, and I hope this will inspire other projects of a similar kind in the future.

Hattie Fisk
Editor of Drama & Theatre Magazine

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Sally Daunt

The judges agreed that Sally’s work in supporting those with learning differences in the music education sector was extensive and transformative for students. They felt that her outstanding work as a learning support tutor, her work for the British Dyslexia Association Music Committee, for ABRSM and others, and her efforts to support young performing musicians on a regular basis was something that we should celebrate, and all aspire to. One judge said that her ‘unwavering dedication to raising awareness about the transformative power of music for those with learning differences was a real legacy’.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Danny Braverman

The judges were impressed with the wide range of Danny’s work, and his clear focus on social change and social development.

Having written his own work, advocated for others, and set up new projects in response to the needs of the students around him, the judges felt that his work conveyed a tirelessness for positive change. Ultimately, they felt that Danny recognised the power of theatre for change, and that his work deserved recognition.