Children and Young People with SEND

“I just wanted to say how fabulous your work has been with all the young people. [We’ve] had some fantastic feedback from staff who’ve had the chance to come into your sessions – you’re going to be missed!”


Children and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamChildren and Young People with SEND: Newman School, RotherhamNational Foundation for Youth Music and Arts Council logos

Arts Award logo


Between 2012 and 2014, we undertook an action research project, Amazing Music Technology, which considered and tested ways of using mainstream, specialist and assistive technology to enable young people with special educational needs and disabilities to make music.

We now use and share what we learned through the project in sessions run in special schools across West and South Yorkshire. The lead musician for the project is Andrew Cleaton.

Read the amazing feedback we’ve received from pupils and staff we have encountered here

Andrew visits a school for one day each week for a term. With teaching and support staff working alongside him, he uses music technology, conventional instruments and singing activities, which means that children get the chance to make music – there’s always something which suits their needs and abilities. He takes along YY&M’s store of music technology equipment: we have mainstream and everyday items – iPads with a dozen or more interesting music-making apps installed. We have specialist equipment – a laptop with a full version of Ableton Live (a software music sequencer and digital workstation used mainly by creative DJs), a Numark Orbit (wireless DJ controller), and a Korg Wavedrum Mini (drum machine). And if there is music technology equipment and conventional instruments in the school which aren’t being used, he fixes them, and gets them back into use by training staff to use them. By the time his visits finish, staff have the skills and confidence to continue making music.

Through this programme we have worked with children and young people with many different needs; nursery aged children both with identified SEND and who are thought to have additional needs, primary aged children with PMLD (profound and multiple learning disabilities), and with specific conditions such as Autistic Spectrum, secondary aged young people up to KS5 (Sixth Form) with severe and complex needs, or with learning disabilities. We adapt activities to meet the needs of the young people we’re working with, and to fit in with their other learning and school needs.

We’ve had some fantastic feedback

“I just wanted to say how fabulous your work has been with all the young people. I’ve had some fantastic feedback from staff who’ve had the chance to come into your sessions – you’re going to be missed! [We] have learnt so much from you and it’s been a real learning curve for us to rethink our  practice…”
Sarah Kulmer at Newman School, Rotherham

“A lovely project where the young people have clearly had a rich experience, and the arts journey was clearly demonstrated.”
Arts Award Moderator

“[One student] got so much from this experience.  She was sad it ended.  We all looked forward to the sessions as the pupils smiled and laughed so much.  Thank you for the sessions.”
Teaching Assistant, Newman School, Rotherham

“Fantastic. Great. Happy.”
Student (via Talker), Newman School, Rotherham

“I only managed to go into one session (after trying several times!).  It was amazing.  I was very emotional due to the engagement of all the children.  The equipment Andrew used was fab, the way the students could use a drum on their tray.  Amazing! The children’s faces said it all! I WOULD LOVE SOME TRAINING!!”
Teaching Assistant, Newman School, Rotherham

“Having supported children over many years in ‘music therapy’ sessions I have seen both ends of the scale, of how children react.  This session was amazing – our children responded amazingly not only to the ‘music’ + activities but Andrew.  His manner and approach to children with special needs was outstanding.  He came across as a caring person and quickly bonded with each child adapting to their individual needs.  All the children have each week grown in confidence and participated more and more.  It takes a lot for me to get emotional – but most sessions – watching the children do things they wouldn’t usually do and how they reacted to making music – brought me to tears. Can’t recommend him enough – really sad the sessions ended. *Brilliant* 20/10 :-)”
Claire T. Teaching Assistant, Newman School, Rotherham

“All of the pupils reacted positively to individual approach that Andrew delivered.  [One student] responded really well to Andrew and instrument that she worked with and stayed focused for longer periods the normal.  [Another student] copied the rhythm and beats of the drum and repeated sounds using the microphone which she wouldn’t usually do as confidently as part of a group.”
Teaching Assistant, Newman School, Rotherham

“The pupils who attended the music sessions really enjoyed the music sessions and really looked forward to going to them.  Andrew really got involved with all the pupils and made it exciting for them.  The pupils were always smiling and wanting to get involved.”
Teaching Assistant, Newman School, Rotherham

“A very positive experience for [one student].  Andrew was so very patient with him and gave him a chance to take part in every aspect.  It was great to be in such a small and focussed group with input from each child.  We’ve always had big smiles from him when Andrew and music session was mentioned.”
Teaching Assistant, Newman School, Rotherham