The School Song (there is usually only one) is sung at the beginning and end of term and on important occasions. Such songs become deeply loved – they give joy and linger in the memory. Moreover, they contribute to social cohesion and help every student overcome feelings of alienation. Crucially, they can gently inculcate core British Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural values (there is a statutory duty to do so) including the desire to work and create.
Just as many independent schools have their own songs, so must all state schools and academies. It is hoped that, in practice, schools and academies will have their songs free of charge or at minimal cost.
Whilst a song should focus on everyday experience, sometimes in an amusing way, it is also desirable that, wherever possible, the larger values be covered. An example (for older students) is a quiet reminder of those who served our nation in the past and often sacrificed their lives.
Institutional tradition should be acknowledged unless its time and sentiments have passed — a well-known example is Harrow’s Forty Years On which has a fine tune although its words are outdated. Virtually all existing school assembly songs are in some way outdated or inappropriate.
Words should be in modern language. Many of the traditional school songs are in Latin. Eton’s glorious Boating Song is well-known but it is the school’s boating song rather than the official school song (Carmen Etonense) which is in Latin. Schools with no substantial Latin in their practice or background should decide for English (with exception for mottos).
Above all, a song must have a lovely tune and (together with the words) be a beautiful integrated entity. Moreover, introduced at the earliest possible age, it should generally be of a deeply emotional and enduring nature. This is essential because the main purpose of the songs is the promotion of social cohesion and the perpetuation of society’s positive values.
There are 250 (two hundred and fifty) songs in the five albums. They have been vetted by a Royal College of Music composition tutor and encompass a wide range of educational institutions and situations from the age of five to eighteen and even beyond.
The songs include prayers (which can be the school song or stand on their own as prayers) and, in order to allow for varied institutional preference, there is a yodelling song, a whistling song, a swimming song, and songs not only for mixed but also for girls’ and boys’ schools. For older students, there is the Leaving Hymn and, all in all, a wide choice is available for all aspects of school life so that an institution can feel comfortable that its song reflects aspiration and ethos.
Ten sample songs, illustrating the range of what is available, can be heard and seen on this website — https://songsforschools.org/ten-sample-songs/
The albums are printed as paper editions (rather than in electronic form) because a printed edition makes it easier to comprehend the totality of what is possible, particularly the diversity.
A school or academy (or a grouping of perhaps six or seven institutions with a common ethos) may wish to have its own individual song and 2,000 (two thousand) additional melodies are available with the final words coming after correspondence and discussion.
While the present focus is on primary and secondary educational institutions it is noted that many UK colleges and universities do not have their own song or anthem. The situation needs to be rectified.
Furthermore, English-speaking schools, colleges and universities around the world also need something embodying their ethos and values. They, too, should have their own song.
All in all, the potential for school songs is huge.