Music for children with SEND in mainstream and SEND schools

The flagship of our inclusive offer is our Awards & Certificates in Musical Development. Developed in association with Sounds of Intent, these innovative qualifications are founded on their framework for the assessment of musical learning. This framework has been embedded into a wide range of SEND settings over the last 20 years and is designed to celebrate the musical achievements of any and all individuals. The Awards & Certificates in Musical Development take this one step further by ensuring these achievements can be formally recognised.

Furthermore, the beauty of these qualifications is that they are assessed in-house. Teachers can train to become assessors online and free of charge via the , before collecting evidence gathered in class of their learners’ progression and mapping this onto the qualifications framework.

Learners are certificated via one of two methods. Schools and organisations who are looking to enter numerous learners for the awards are encouraged to become a validated centre so that they can manage the assessment, moderation and certification of learners for themselves. Alternatively, Sounds of Intent National Centre provide the opportunity to enter learners for certification on a more ad hoc basis.

More information about the Awards & Certificates in Musical Development can be found in the following blog articles:

Teachers supporting students with SEND working towards our graded music exams may also find it helpful to familiarise themselves with the music special needs pages of our website. Notifying us of a candidate’s requirements ensures that the examiner is aware and, where appropriate, can adapt their delivery accordingly

Reasonable adjustments are available to candidates who may need alterations to the delivery of the exam to be made, in order to make it accessible to them. Examples of the adjustments that are typically requested  include additional time, alternative Supporting Tests or tests provided in a different format such as in enlarged print, printed on coloured paper, or made available in Braille.

For more information on supporting SEND students through their graded music exams, why not check out the following blogs:

The flexibility of Arts Award lends itself well to young people with SEND. The qualifications’ focus on participation, personal progression, and development of other skills such as research, communication and leadership means that any young person can achieve an Arts Award in music without needing to demonstrate a particular level of technical skill. Furthermore, this flexibility extends into the young person’s portfolio and how they evidence their journey; for example, portfolios can be made up of video and/or audio footage, annotated photographs, transcriptions, posters, mind maps – whatever both suits them best and illustrates what it is they are trying to evidence.

Teachers looking to be trained as an Arts Award adviser can also opt to book onto a session especially designed to focus on supporting learners with SEND. More information about our SEND Arts Award adviser training can be found here.

The Arts Award blog has a wealth of case studies and articles on supporting learners with SEND; the following may be of particular interest:

Financial assistance is also available to students with SEND via both the Music & Drama and Arts Award Access Funds. Teachers (or others known to the student in a professional capacity) and Arts Award advisers can apply for small grants to support individual or groups of learners facing barriers to the arts work towards their qualification. Examples of the kinds of projects that take place can be found here:


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