A charitable music foundation is launching its scheme in a local primary school.

Slingsby Primary School will become the fifth acquisition in a partnership with Richard Shepherd Music Foundation, which aims to bring music classes to more primary school children across Yorkshire.

The Foundation was set up in memory of the late composer, Dr Richard Shepherd, who died in February last year.

Working with education partner, Sing Education, the organisers are subsidising curriculum-based music lessons in primary schools within disadvantaged or isolated communities.

Four schools have already introduced the classes to their pupils and the Foundation hopes that more children will experience music in the classroom and events across the region.

Cathy Grant, General Manager for the Foundation, said: “Richard Shephard changed the lives of hundreds of children across York and North Yorkshire, and the goal of the Foundation is to extend that legacy and experience to thousands more children across the North.

“Right now, many children in communities across the region are unable to experience a full and progressive music education, through no fault of their own. By subsidising this programme of music teaching, and providing performance opportunities, this can start to change.”

During the programme, children will participate in a music lesson and singing assembly at least once a week.

They will also have the opportunity to take part in a choir or music club and have the chance to perform at the prestigious Ryedale Festival.

St George’s RC Primary School in Scarborough was one of the first to sign up in September and Head of School Amanda Stone is already starting to see the impact of the lessons.

She said: “The children absolutely love the music sessions.

“They are all engaged and enthusiastic. The teachers are excellent at their job, are friendly and have fitted into our school well.”

A survey by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in 2019 showed that “1 in 5 primary school teachers report there is no regular music lesson for their class.”

Schools are often lacking the resources or time to develop a truly progressive and challenging music curriculum and the Foundation is concerned that a generation of children will grow up excluded from the experience of music, and the opportunities for development and educational achievement that it brings.

“None of this would be possible without the generous support of our donors,” Cathy added.

“They make it all possible, and we’ll be continuing to seek vital funding throughout the year to allow our activities to continue and expand.”

In the future, the Foundation hopes to include the development of junior choirs and specialist provision for disabled young people to access adapted instruments.