The National Schools Singing Programme (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. The NSSP has £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.
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.
Benefits and Opportunities
Music plays an important part in our lives and in our Faith. This programme seeks to help re-energise our Schools and Parishes by bringing the joy of prayer through song, and encouraging our young people and their families back to Mass. The NSSP gives pupils the opportunity to experience new skills which they can develop throughout their lives. Choral singing has long been known to have a positive effect on well-being and develops many transferable skills, especially around teamwork.
Choirs recently formed at Westminster SSP schools have taken part in Parish Masses, sung for community events such as Carol Singing at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, at the turning on of the Christmas Lights in Earl’s Court, and at School Summer Fairs. They have also sung at Masses in Westminster Cathedral, and performed a Showcase Concert in Farm Street Church.
Carols of Comfort and Joy at Westminster Cathedral: Saturday 25th November 2023
Our Chamber Choir were delighted to accept the invitation to sing at the Carols of Comfort and Joy at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 25th November. The concert brought together all the primary schools involved in the Westminster Schools Singing Programme this year and it was lovely that so many family members were able to come along to the Cathedral to enjoy the performance. Our chour will be singing three of their carols at our fothcoming Key Stage 2 Carol Service on Wednesday 6th December. Thank you to Miss Murphy, our choir leader, and all the choir members who sang on the day.
Yvette Murphy (Our School's Choral Director)
Yvette is a London-based conductor, organist, and mezzo-soprano. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Yvette read for a degree in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion, and held the Organ Scholarship at Selwyn College. During her time at Cambridge, Yvette was President of the prestigious Cambridge University Opera Society, Publicity and Fundraising Officer for Sing Inside, Cambridge (a charity bringing singing workshops into prisons), and Evensong Officer for the Minerva Festival (promoting the work of marginalised gender composers in choral music). Before arriving in Cambridge, Yvette held the Organ Scholarship at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, and was organist at the Parish Church of St Mary and St Nicholas, Leatherhead. Alongside her work for the Diocese of Westminster, Yvette is Director of Music and Organist at St Saviour’s, Pimlico, and engages in regular freelance work as a conductor with Children’s Voices of Enfield, Genesis Chorale, a non-auditioned choral society in West Byfleet, and St John of Jerusalem Festival Chorus, Hackney.