This week, Year of the Young Person is focusing on music because the council wants all residents to know of the incredible young music talent in Newham, that’s growing year-on-year.

John Bergin, CEO of Newham Music, says: “Without a doubt, Newham is batting the ball right out of the field in music with just under 22,000 students taking part in music-making – this is nationally, unprecedented.”

Schools are using music as part of their recovery curriculum because it helps foster a sense of belonging and community. While lockdown has closed schools, Newham Music’s programmes have been credited by school staff as putting joy back into the school day.

Michelle Daniel, music co-ordinator at Southern Road Primary School, said: “Being involved in music is making our students more resilient and more confident. We see examples of this right through their work across the school.”

Chis Morgan, head of music at Lister Community School, recognises it as a driving force for connectivity: “The fact that the pupils have been shut down for so long, the connections that come with music…have provided an incredible lift.”

Through Newham Council’s enrichment grants, Newham Music was swift to transfer all its music provision to online platforms. Mr Bergin said: “We can’t just stop. We have identified fertile conditions for threading the power of music through our schools and communities. It’s creating a more level playing field between schools and we want to continue to push Newham’s young people’s culturally diverse and creative boundaries."

And that’s not all, Newham Music has just launched a landmark music and social inclusion initiative called Music Promise. It will provide new pathways into music for young people of all abilities and it has been shortlisted as a finalist in the National Music & Drama Education Awards 2021.

Go to to find out more about Music Unlocked - for young people with special educational needs and disabilities; Street Studio Success - a digital music project for 12-16 year olds; Music Connected - bringing young and diverse communities together through music collaboration and Music Enrichment for Schools - Newham Council’s music grant to schools.

Music helps child use their voice for the first time

Global research demonstrates the positive impact of music education on pre-school children. It supports them physically, cognitively, behaviourally and so importantly in young children’s communications such as self-expression, speech and language even their relationship building.

Furthermore, music-making has been scientifically proven to help children with learning needs.

Anna Lowenstein one of the teachers from Newham Music, said: “I see more smiles, more direct communications, an increase in confidence and motivation amongst the children I support.

"Recently one of the three-year-olds I support, who has never spoken before, vocalised in the lesson, for the very first time. It was an extraordinary moment.”

Pursuit of excellence

Cllr Carleen Lee Phakoe says: "As a lifelong resident, I know the beauty of our diverse borough. Since being appointed to my role as the cabinet member for brighter futures in November 2020, I - along with colleagues - have been working on the Year of the Young Person, to elevate and inspire our young people to be the best that they can be.

"Through working alongside our business and community partners, we are investing in the future of our young people and seeking to amplify the voices of our greatest asset – our young people.

"I wish to see all young people of the borough treated with respect, not being disproportionately affected by criminal justice issues, poverty and social exclusion.

"If Newham is to truly be the very best place for a young person to grow up, we must deal with the burning injustices our young people face whilst simultaneously giving them the tools to succeed. I am committed to the pursuit of excellence for our young people and will continue to work each and every day to support them in their endeavours."

What’s happening!

It’s February Half Term and Newham Council aims to help young people enjoy themselves by providing the February Half Term Holiday Programme with information about how to stay safe and healthy, as well as a wide range of online activities both in and around Newham and further afield for every age group and interest. Go to: to join in.