Milton Keynes school creates new folk song inspired by local heritage

Pupils composed a song with the three-time Radio 2 Folk Award winners through online workshops

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 12:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 12:36 pm

Pupils in Milton Keynes have worked with Historic England and multi-award winning folk group The Young'uns to create a new fold song inspired by Milton Keynes' local heritage.

The children from Moorland Primary School have worked with three-time Radio 2 Folk Award winners The Young‘uns to compose, perform and record their own song, based on their local heritage.

The school, which forms part of the Campfire Education Trust along with five other schools in Buckingham and Northampton, participated in online songwriting workshops with the folk trio who have combined educational work with a successful international touring career over the last decade.

Pupils from Moorland Primary composed a song with The Young'uns
Pupils from Moorland Primary composed a song with The Young'uns

Sean Cooney, from The Young‘uns, said: “We discovered folk songs and their transformative power by accident in a pub when we were teenagers.

"They gave us a proud, outward looking, inclusive and creative identity. We thought: 'why didn't anyone teach us these songs when we were at school?’

"It's been part of our mission ever since to share and create songs that celebrate heritage and community in fun creative ways with as many young people as possible.”

Ahead of these workshops, Kate Argyle from Historic England’s Heritage Schools Programme worked with teachers from the school to identify themes and subjects for the new composition.

The Young'uns (C) Elly Lucas

She provided training around discovering local heritage, enabling the school to choose the focus for their song, as well as helping the children to learn more about their local area.

Moorland’s song, called 'Not just cows and roundabouts', captures the spirit of Milton Keynes in its lyrics.

Kate Argyle, Local Heritage education manager for Historic England’s Heritage Schools Programme, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for the children to create a unique song inspired by their local heritage with one of the county’s leading folk groups.

"Local heritage is a fabulous source of inspiration across the curriculum and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work with staff, equipping them with a wealth of local heritage resources to inspire learning and creativity in the future.

“The fact that this project succeeded in the face of the lockdowns and disruption of the past year is a testament to the resilience and determination of the school to give the students the best experiences.”

A virtual celebratory concert was held yesterday (Monday) where the children, staff and invited guests heard The Young’uns perform the new song along with those created with the other Campfire schools and Loud and free in unity! a new composition specially commissioned for the whole Campfire Trust.

A compilation of the songs sung by the Young‘uns and the children is available to hear on the Moorland Primary School website.

The folk song project was conceived and organised by education consultant and folk music enthusiast Karin Horowitz.

She said: “It’s a joy to have brought the amazing work the Young’uns in schools together with the treasure trove of heritage material Historic England has provided.

"This project has given a great boost to the well-being of both children and staff.”

All schools taking part in the project have received a national Heritage Schools Award, which is given to schools by Historic England that have successfully supported pupils to better understand their local heritage and its importance.