What is the NSSP?

The National Schools Singing Programme (NSSP) is for all Catholic dioceses in the UK to create or enhance their own music programmes for children educated in Catholic state schools.

We have £2.325 million available to seed fund singing programmes for young people. This funding can be used to create independent, financially sustainable projects through the network of diocesan schools. It will directly benefit children and support the most poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised members of our society. Schools and musicians will also be able to access free consultancy and ongoing support from Benjamin Saunders and Thomas Leech.

The NSSP model

The NSSP initiative takes inspiration from the model developed by the Diocese of Leeds in 2003. It uses the existing infrastructure of Catholic state schools and offers additional funds to support world-class inclusive music programmes. The funds help engage diverse communities which have often been an afterthought for choral and church music. You can watch a short BBC documentary about the model to find out more.

Weekly sessions take place during the normal school day and are tailored to suit each class and year group. They include music for school liturgies blended with interactive music education games and secular repertoire. Classes support the national curriculum and enhance educational attainment and progression, which in turn supports a favourable Ofsted assessment.

The foundation of the Schools Singing Programme rests on a network of after-school choirs that support parish and cathedral liturgies. As well as enhancing the in-school experience of musical education, the programme engages the wider community with concerts and performances that all can enjoy.

Who is funding it?

The NSSP is founded and supported by the Hamish Ogston Foundation: a charitable foundation specialising in providing grants supporting music, heritage and health charities. The funding promises long-term sustainability, maximal financial impact and measurable social outcomes.

Hamish Ogston CBE was a child chorister and educated his sons at Westminster Cathedral Choir School. He is passionately committed to a National Schools Singing Programme in order to offer the best possible singing opportunities to children in Catholic education, irrespective of economic, ethnic or social background.