MUSIC MAESTRO: Clockwide from front, Robert Tucker, 8, Ruby Savill-Downs, 8, Frankilin Tait, 9, Eddie Healy, 9, George Almeroth, 10, Andrew Barnett, 10, and Lily St Pierre, 8. In the middle is Jenny Warren, 10.
MORE music teachers than ever have been recruited this term at one Brentwood school to extend the range of instruments pupils can learn to play.
Individual lessons in piano, keyboard, saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, cornet, French horn, oboe, recorder, flute, violin, viola, classical guitar, electric guitar and drums are now all on offer at St Thomas of Canterbury CE Junior School.
Pupils at the Sawyers Hall Lane school, which also has an orchestra and two choirs, even recorded their own 40th anniversary CD last term, which has been a real hit with parents.
All pupils are taught music and singing each week as part of the curriculum, an area which was graded as outstanding by Ofsted inspectors during their recent visit.
Head teacher Andy Scott-Evans said: "Music has always been a strength of the school and we are working very hard to keep up the very high standards people have come to expect.
"We are extending the range of instruments available and are very pleased to be offering an even wider variety again this year.
"We have customised rooms for these lessons and we are looking to extend this provision to accommodate the increasing range of lessons.
"We have a great range of teachers from young 19-year-old students studying at Guildhall, to highly experienced teachers who have been here for nearly 20 years."
One choir, for Year 5 and 6 which has about 25 members, is run by David Rooke, the choir master at St Thomas Church.
Mr Scott-Evans said: "This is an excellent opportunity for the children and makes a great link with the church. The members of this choir sing at the church Eucharists and also had the opportunity to sing at Canterbury Cathedral's Chapter House last year.
"With so much emphasis on choirs in the media at present I am hoping even more pupils will join our two excellent choirs again this year."
The other choir for Year 3 and 4 has a massive 50 members and is run by teachers Lucy Higgs – who also runs the well-attended orchestra club – and Katie Gowland.
Every year the school runs an X-Factor-style talent competition with the winners having the opportunity to perform in various concerts and fairs and one early winner even went on to record a CD in a local studio.
Last term's summer concert for singers and musicians involved almost one third of the school, about 100 pupils.