‘SYMPHONY SCHOOLS: FREE EXTRA TUITION FOR BLACK BOYS’
UK based Charity, ‘Symphony Co’ starts educational initiative to combat distinguished limits placed on young, Black boys sitting their GCSE exams.
The non-profit organisation led by Gospel singer, songwriter and social entrepreneur Seth Pinnock is soon to launch ‘Symphony Schools’, a program which seeks to educate, equip and empower young, gifted Black boys by providing free core subject extra tuition classes in line with the National GCSE curriculum.
In partnership with local churches, ‘Symphony Schools’ is currently accepting applications for Black boys in Years 10 and 11 to receive free tuition once a week, in the subjects of English and Maths. Set to span over the course of 12 weeks, and tutoring twelve students in total, the program will be delivered by qualified teachers, predominantly from the Black African Caribbean diaspora. Symphony Schools will launch in early January 2021 and will begin rolling out its program first in Birmingham, with plans to extend in both London and then Manchester also.
While Black African and Caribbean children only make up around 1.2% of current school students in the U.K., on ratio they are amongst the worst performers at GCSE level, of which most reside in some of the poorest areas of the U.K. Last year 70% of African-Caribbean boys in London left school with fewer than five or more GCSEs at the top grades of A*-C or equivalent, while African-Caribbean men are the least likely of any group to have a degree. “The government has cited that the education you will or will not receive is subject to the postcode you reside in – this has got to change”, says Seth.
“In 2019, London alone saw 63 lives lost to knife crime, to which, just over 23 were teenagers.
The issues run deep -from poverty to mental health to social media. Youth centres are closing* and schools are under huge pressure, leading to the “managed moves” of difficult children – often falling within the category of a ‘young Afro-Caribbean male’. These men look just like me, they come from the same background as me…
Following the death of George Floyd and the heightened exposure of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement earlier this year, I thought long and hard about how I wanted to contribute to be part of a solution, and not just a voice of protest. Plans for ‘Symphony Schools’ had been cooking for about 12 months by that point, and I just felt it was the right time to make it public. We launched a GoFundMe fundraiser and within one week made a staggering £20,000 off of donations alone – we were amazed! It confirmed it was indeed a cause close to people’s hearts. Change was what people wanted and we’ve found they’ve gladly continued to partner with it since.” says Seth
Symphony Schools Principal, Matthew Popo — community organiser, who has worked passionately with inner-city youth for several years now, also adds: “With obstacles such as increasing class sizes, demanding curriculums and reduced resources all having an impact upon the education of Black boys, we aim to bridge the achievement gap & add a social context to learning that supports both their wider development also”.
“We aim to encourage young black men to have a stronger presence within their families, actively supporting the lowering of rates of violence and crime that prevail in our communities, allowing them to become a beacon in society. We will celebrate and empower our young, Black men to believe there is more!”, shares Matthew, full of hope.
NEW YEARS PRAYER WEEK MOVES ONLINE AND ON TV
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TEARFUND & TBN UK
You may be well acquainted with our annual New Year’s Prayer Week, ‘Headstart’, which opens up many of our new years with powerful prayer, praise and presence. At the beginning of the year, Headstart saw us congregating over 1000 people across two cities, as well as online – with life-transforming testimonies of hope and healing.
As we considered the current climate like so many others, we have earnestly prayed and envisioned what 2021 could have in store for us, as well as what the future of ‘Headstart’ looks like for our community.
Once again God has exceeded our expectations. We are so excited to announce that in Partnership with global development agency Tearfund and Christian broadcasting network TBN, next year ‘Headstart’ will take on a new form; airing live on television for the first time, under the new name: ‘Declaration’.
‘Declaration’ will broadcast live from the 3-9 January 2021 at 8PM-9PM on TBN, expecting to reach tens of thousands of households within that week alone.
Paying homage to the original model of ‘Headstart’, each day of ‘Declaration’ will focus on a different theme for prayer, and will be jam-packed with an array of guest speakers, teachers, and faith leaders during the whole week.
There will be an online prayer breakfast every morning hosted on YouTube, led by church leaders from across the UK, as well as virtual afternoon seminars on Zoom, aimed at people in ministry with a particular focus on the theology of justice and mission. The day will culminate with an evening service of dynamic worship, prayer and teaching broadcasted live on TBN. Each evening will extend with an ‘Afterparty’, a fun-filled 30 minute feature post-service with interviews and prayer on @WeAreTearfund Instagram.
Unprecedented in our ministry, we’re excited to see what God will do during ‘Declaration’, as we at Symphony join the incredible team at Tearfund and TBN! Set to be a week like no other, we trust God to move in power touching countless lives.
We look forward to having you join us on such a momentous occasion, and starting the New Year off together!
It is with great sadness that due to the current worldwide Coronavirus Pandemic and UK Government counsel, we have decided to postpone the ‘A New Thing Live’ Spring Tour until further notice.
We understand that this is an extremely difficult time for our nation, as we day by day hear more updates concerning Coronavirus, standing in faith for a shift. Although not our desired outcome, we do feel this to be the most responsible taking in mind all involved.
This was not a decision made lightly, as we considered much of the work and months of dedication put in by several team members and volunteers – including administration, rehearsals, programming, creation of set lists, and not to mention the churches partnered with and affected also.
Our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience and disappointment caused to many. We are remaining in high hopes and endeavour to have the tour back on the road at a later and more appropriate time for all involved this summer 2020.
Unfortunately, the postponement of the tour will incur us as a charity significant financial loss. In light of this, if able at this time, please would you consider making a donation towards us here at Symphony Co, as we aim to raise funds to balance out the deficit. Your generosity would be most appreciated and help us tremendously during a time of readjustment. You can donate at wearesymphony.co/give/, with any amount gratefully received.
We continue to pray for all of you during this difficult time, as we look to God to strengthen, protect and heal us, and bring an end to this virus worldwide. Please continue to pray for Seth, A New Thing, and our whole team as we navigate through these next few weeks, seeking to bring the Tour back at a more convenient time in the future, persisting in outworking the vision of Symphony despite setbacks.
We will continue to update you on further news as it develops over the upcoming weeks.
As ever, thank you for your support and understanding. Please continue to keep safe, as we encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on the perfecter of our faith, trusting Him in all things.
‘SETH PINOCK & A NEW THING LIVE’ SIGN WITH ABSOLUTE
We have some exciting news to share with you today. Seth Pinnock & A New Thing have signed a 3 year distribution deal with prominent music label service- Absolute!
Providing global music label services since 1998, Absolute continues to work with big names in both secular and sacred music fields. Artists such as Jill Scott, Faith Evans, Israel Houghton, Tim Hughes, Hillsong United and Guvna B all feature on their roster.
We of course are excited about what this holds for the future of Symphony Records – a platform provided by Symphony Co, serving as a home for independent artists to be fully seen and heard.
A New Thing will be working hard with Absolute across the next few weeks to ensure the much anticipated sophomore release is stocked in bookstores, record shops and in your favourite playlist! Unfortunately to make for this, the albums release date will have to move back 2 weeks, from June 7th to June 21st 2019. We do have something special to share leading up to that, so please be on the lookout!
Once again, thank you for all your continued support and prayers as we venture into this new season with Absolute – we are beyond thrilled for what the future holds for us and believe as ever – the best is yet to come!