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Sounds of Intent

Programme Details 2018-2019

Postgraduate Certificate
School of Education

PROGRAMME CONVENER(S): Dr Caroline Waddington, 020 8392 3000, caroline.waddington@roehampton.ac.uk

For further information please contact the Programme Administrators, Carole Neill (Mon), 020 8392 3646, or Jane Elmslie (Tue-Fri), 020 8392 3646.

Email enquiries: TaughtPG@roehampton.ac.uk

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIC TO THE PROGRAMME: Entry requirements for the Postgraduate Certificate will normally be a minimum lower class second class degree in either education, music or another related subject area. Under certain circumstances, applicants with a Certificate in Education and/or a significant level of expertise or experience of working with children and/or adults with SEN, would be allowed to progress to the level of Postgraduate Certificate.

PGC: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits) at Level 7

LOCATION: Roehampton Lane campus.

PROGRAMME OUTLINE: The Sounds of Intent programme is designed to enable practitioners to gain the skills and understanding necessary to use the Sounds of Intent framework to assess children and young people’s levels of musical development and devise music policies and curricula. It is delivered part-time over three terms (with tuition one day a week in the autumn term, and occasional days in the spring and summer terms). Participants engage in a day-a-week placement in the spring term (which can be within their own school or centre) in order to develop their skills as reflective practitioners.

About Sounds of Intent
‘Sounds of Intent’ is a framework of musical development for children with learning difficulties, which offers (a) an online assessment tool (b) a curriculum framework and (c) downloadable resources. It has taken over 10 years research to develop, and has involved hundreds of practitioners from across the special education sector. It is internationally unique. It is commended by Ofsted, and has been taken up by national organisations such as Live Music Now, Jessie’s Fund, Drake Music and Nordoff Robbins. Since its official public launch in February 2012, the Sounds of Intent platform has received over six million unique visitors, the world over, with around one million downloads of support materials (including unique video streams). During the last systematic processing of membership data, in June 2016, the Sounds of Intent platform had:

  • 630 registered practitioners;
  • from around 200 different schools;
  • over 3,500 individual pupils being assessed;
  • over 9,000 session forms completed.
The ‘Sounds of Intent’ research project was set up in 2002 jointly by the University of Roehampton, the Institute of Education, London, and the Royal National Institute of the Blind, with the aim of investigating and promoting the musical development of children and young people with learning difficulties – although the system can also be used effectively with babies and adults. Led by Adam Ockelford, the research team developed a framework of musical development that covers the whole range of ability from profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) to those with autism, with or without exceptional musical abilities (so-called savants). Today, the online framework is freely available to anyone who wishes to use it, and works on all platforms, though it is particularly well suited to touch-screen technology (such as iPads). The software enables ideas for promoting children's engagement with music to be viewed and downloaded, and for individual children to be assessed. Teachers, therapists, other practitioners and parents can register to assess their children online. Assessments can be made as a one-off or over a period of time. The results can be printed out as numbers or in graphical form.

The Sounds of Intent framework is based on research with three main elements.
  • Observational data of children with learning difficulties and/or autism experiencing or engaging with music gathered by practitioners through video recordings and field notes. Many hundreds of observations have been made, and over 200 are included on the website. These have been analysed for responses, actions or interactions deemed to be representative, exceptional or in any way indicative of attainment or progress.
  • The analysis has been informed by psychological research pertaining to ‘typical’ early musical development, including listening, producing and responding to music and musical sounds from the period of foetal development through to the first years of life.
  • The model is also underpinned by zygonic theory, which seeks to explain how music makes sense to us all, and in particular that mature engagement with music entails the (typically subconscious) attribution of derivation to its constituent sounds, whereby one is felt to generate another or others through imitation. This applies both to structural understanding (through which music ‘makes sense’) as well as aesthetic response (which includes music's apparent capacity to express or represent emotion). The theory has been used to predict the order in which the musical abilities it implies are likely to evolve in children (irrespective of their learning difficulties).

AIMS: The programme is intended for:

  • teachers (music specialists and non-specialists) working in schools and services supporting children with SEND
  • classroom assistants working in schools with children with SEND
  • musicians wishing to work within schools and communities with children with SEND.
The Postgraduate Certificate aims to:
  • provide a highly engaging applied framework for the development and training of participants in terms of their academic and practical music-making skills;
  • provide professional development for participants by providing opportunities for application of new knowledge within their own professional context;
  • meet the needs of employers through both its curriculum, which provides training in fundamental theoretical and research issues with an applied focus, as well as through its intensive delivery.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: By the end of the programme, students will be expected to:

  • demonstrate a knowledge of the learning development in children with special educational needs and disabilities;
  • demonstrate a knowledge of the musical development of children with special educational needs and disabilities;
  • demonstrate a knowledge of the Sounds of Intent materials;
  • demonstrate a knowledge of a range of techniques required to promote the musical development of children with special educational needs and disabilities;
  • demonstrate the ability to assess children using the Sounds of Intent materials;
  • demonstrate an ability to reflect onand thereby improve their own practice;
  • demonstrate an ability to develop and design a music curriculum for children with learning difficulties using the Sounds of Intent framework and materials;
  • demonstrate an ability to lead on and advise on the use of music and the Sounds of Intent framework and materials within their own professional context.



Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Below is a list of modules offered this academic year.

Optional modules
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.


AMS020L021A - Introduction to Sounds of Intent
AMS020L022S - Using Sounds of Intent in the Field
AMS020L023H - Using Sounds of Intent for Curriculum Development

a) Each module code consists of a three-letter module prefix denoting the programme it belongs to (eg JOU020L403S = Journalism Studies), the following three digits refer to its credit value (eg JOU020L403S = 20 credits), the single letter in the middle (eg JOU020L403S) denotes the module level (L = Level 7), the last three digits denote its unique number (eg JOU020L403S), and the final letter denotes its suffix (eg JOU020L403S). The suffixes indicate the following: A - Autumn term, S - Spring term, H – Summer term/Summer intensive mode, Y - All year, V - collaborative partnership (off-site).

b) Individual module details can be viewed by clicking on each module code or using the "View all modules" link below for a complete list of module assessment and descriptions.

View all modules

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