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Kent Music: Music Hub Audit

Case Study
  • Client:

    Kent Music

  • Task:

    Online survey of all primary and secondary schools in Kent that work with Kent Music's Music Hub to deliver music education

  • Skills:

    Survey design, online survey, data collection, Visual Tables, bespoke reporting, full written report and data visualisation.

As a Kent based company who conduct many projects in the arts and entertainment sectors we are proud of our work with Kent’s County Music Group, Kent Music. We first worked with them in 2010 on a study to survey parents for their views on their children’s peripatetic learning with Kent Music. As an organisation, Kent Music have really embraced research as a key component of what they do and for We Work With Data, they are one of the best examples of an organisation where one project has led to another, as they realise the value of the work that we do for them.

We have now been conducting the annual return of information from all the schools they work with in Kent since 2012. This work is done using research techniques for non-research purposes (MRS regulations) as all schools agree to volunteer information on their musical activity as part of their relationship with Kent Music’s Hub. Most of the content of this survey is designed by ourselves in conjunction with Kent Music but we are also duty-bound to ask many prescriptive questions on behalf of Arts Council England and the Department for Education.

The data is collected through an online survey, to which all schools are invited to participate. It is a detailed questionnaire that requires the input of not only the music teaching staff but often other members of the school too. As a result, a PDF version of the survey is made available to the schools in order that they may read through and prepare the more complex sections that ask schools to detail membership of school ensembles and tuition by gender, educational needs and other measures. The online survey is also designed in such a way that the participants can complete the study over several visits throughout a two month field period. During the field period, we send out a number of reminders to those that have not completed and, since the pilot study in 2012, we have seen response rates in excess of 80% for each year.

Once the data has been collected we author a detailed report that is delivered back to the board of the music hub, along with raw data, aggregated Visual Tables and school level reports that the “hub leaders” use when visiting the schools over the course of the subsequent academic year. We also prepare detailed and complex reports that are delivered back to Arts Council England and The Department for Education. Since 2015, we also deliver an infographic summary (click here to see this) of the main results which is then forwarded to each school in Kent. The infographics are designed with one of our Infographic partners Howell & Hicks. By communicating the results of the study with the schools, we show them that the exercise is not purely a “box ticking exercise” and demonstrate how the research helps formulate policy and set direction for Kent Music. This helps encourage both future participation and engagement with Kent Music themselves.

In 2013, the Chief Executive of Kent Music, Peter Bolton, commissioned extra analysis on the results to look at how poverty impacted on music education. We combined external data on the schools with our own survey data and worked with Kent Music to get to the heart of the matter. Peter Bolton and We Work With Data’s Managing Director, Steve Taylor, then presented the results of their findings at the annual Music Education Expo at The Barbican in early 2014, which was very warmly received by the audience. Kent Music remain committed to an ongoing programme of research with ourselves.

 

 

 

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