The School Song (there is usually only one) is sung by the whole school at the beginning and end of term and on important occasions. Such songs become deeply loved –– they give joy, perpetuate ethos and linger in the memory.
Moreover, they contribute to social cohesion and help every student overcome feelings of alienation.
Furthermore, they inculcate a love of beauty (which is sometimes lost in modern music) and are in the ‘classical’ tradition.
Crucially, they gently instil 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passed –– a well-known example is Harrow’s Forty Years On which has a splendid tune although its words are possibly outdated. Existing school assembly songs are often outdated in some way or not easily understood by students.
Words should be in modern English. 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). 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 beyond. Any UK educational institution may use any of these songs free of charge.
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 as well as new settings of Ave Maria and The Lord’s Prayer. 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 because a printed edition makes it easier to comprehend the totality of what is possible, particularly the diversity. That said, electronic files would also be available.
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 3,000 (three thousand ) additional melodies are available with the final words coming after correspondence and discussion. Several meetings and travel etc can be involved and such things can be costly. However, basic standard prices are £300, £500 and £700 for purchase of sole copyright.
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 assembly and college songs is huge.