Type your search below

National Schools Singing Programme at York Minster

Scroll to explore

“The link the school now has with the Minster is invaluable.” – local primary school teacher

What is the National Schools' Singing Programme?

York Minster is one of six Anglican cathedrals to participate in the National Schools Singing Programme, the aim of which is to support world-class inclusive music programmes in Church of England schools. The syllabus and structure of the National Schools Singing Programme enables diverse communities to engage with choral and church music of the highest standard.

You can watch a short BBC documentary about the model to find out more.


“The growth in enthusiasm in the children’s singing is demonstrated by many more of them joining the school choir, since the project began.” – local primary school teacher

How does the programme work?

Weekly sessions will take place during the normal school day and will be tailored to suit each class and year group. They include music for school liturgies blended with interactive music education games and secular repertoire. Classes support the national curriculum and enhance educational attainment and progression, which in turn supports a favourable Ofsted assessment.

Once the programme is established, we plan to integrate it in the Minster’s musical and liturgical life, giving children the opportunity to sing both in services and concerts.

“A particular bonus of the project as a church school is the exposure the children are having to sacred music.” – local primary school teacher

Get Involved

If you would like to register your school’s interest in the programme, please email Emilie Bels, York Minster’s Schools Singing Lead.


York Minster’s Schools Singing Programme has lift off!


After three months of planning, the programme was launched in our first schools after the Easter holidays: Naburn Primary School (roughly 18 children ranging from Years 3-6), St Barnabas (23 children, Years 3 and 4), and St Lawrence’s (about 40 children, Years 3 and 4). Going from nothing to reaching just shy of 100 children a week has been thoroughly energising and enjoyable!

So far, the children have learned the difference between beat and rhythm and have begun learning some Kodály musical terms. They’re also learning about dynamics which they applied to Now the Green Blade Riseth (stand by for Noël Nouvelet in a few months!) and lots of other enjoyable songs. They have even managed to sing a few of rounds in two parts with some confident little singers leading their own parts without adult help. Not bad for only a few hours of tuition thus far!

We are in the process of planning the children’s first singing opportunity in the Minster: a sung lunchtime Eucharist at the end of the summer term – keep an eye out for dates. The children will be singing repertoire by Richard Shephard and Andrew Carter. We hope participating schools come to sing lunchtime Eucharists on a regular basis (termly).

This programme creates opportunities for children from the York Diocese to perform wonderful music in the special setting of York Minster. If your school is interested in having us in the new academic year, contact us at schoolssinging@yorkminster.org!

Stay up to date with York Minster

  • Event alerts
  • Seasonal services
  • Behind the scenes features
  • Latest Minster-inspired gifts