It’s a Hit! Felsted Prep drummers roll up to teach Magna Carta Primary pupils


Felsted Steel Band visit Magna Carta Primary School

Felsted Prep School Steel Band visited Magna Carta Primary Academy in Stansted Mountfitchet to teach their Year 5 and 6 pupils how to play.

Felsted steel band members aged 11 to 13 brought a selection of the steel pans they use to perform at community and school events, and delivered a workshop for the younger children during the day and then performed to the whole school for their assembly.

‘We are lucky to be able to celebrate the traditional music of Trinidad and Tobago at Felsted and enjoy sharing this with the wider community,’ said Rachel Clarke, Assistant Director of Music at Felsted. ‘This was a great opportunity for our pupils to show leadership and the confidence to step outside of their comfort zone and into the role of teacher. They were able to guide the younger children in learning a new skill with care and patience’. 

Year 8 Felsted Steel Band member, Thomas F, really enjoyed the experience ‘Over the course of the day we taught 3 groups and learnt about the history of the steel drums. I really enjoyed teaching the younger year groups and hope that they learnt a lot from our day with them.’

Pupils from Year 7 through to Sixth Form have the opportunity to join the Steel Band group at Felsted, and a parents’ band plays regularly at local events. Mrs Clarke has over 25 years’ experience in teaching Steel Drums and says ‘I enjoy giving as many people as possible the chance to learn this unique instrument’. The Felsted Parents’ Steel Band recently visited Polly's Field retirement home in Braintree to play for their residents, Mrs Clarke comments ‘It was a pleasure to see the residents and band members derive so much joy from the shared experience.’

Felsted School has a history of partnerships in the community. One such partnership is between The Ascension Church and the Felsted School Mission in the East End of London. The Ascension Church works with the local community providing youth activities, promoting fitness and social interaction. This partnership can be traced back to the mid-19th century when extreme poverty of this particular part of London’s docklands was brought to the attention of the then Headmaster. In recent years this link has been further strengthened by the work between the school and Royal Docks Academy (RDA). Since 2015 there have been eight pupils who have taken up full scholarships at Felsted.

Music is a strong discipline at Felsted School, with opportunities for musicians at all levels, starting with every pupil playing an instrument from the youngest years. Felsted currently holds a unique partnership with Junior Guildhall, allowing talented musicians an integrated programme with the Felsted Music Department as well as the opportunity to study at a top conservatoire in London on Saturdays. 

‘It is so important that our students receive a genuinely rounded education and the performing arts are key to this,’ said Head of Felsted Prep School Miranda Norris. ‘We are totally committed to offering individuals the opportunity to pursue and develop their talents and interests in music while at school and giving them all the encouragement they need to make a contribution to cultural life as adults in future. To have such outgoing performers within the school who are confident to go into the community to share their skills is also a great way to inspire others to get involved in music’.