British Council World Voice

Sing Up Foundation to build on British Council’s World Voice programme

The London-based Sing Up Foundation is taking over the reins of a seven-year, 23-country singing and education initiative started in 2013 by the British Council.

World Voice was inspired by the national singing organisation Sing Up and developed by the British Council and Artistic Director Richard Frostick to train teachers overseas to use singing to develop musicality and as a tool for learning in the classroom.

The international training programme sent in experienced singing leaders to work with children and train the children’s teachers, music specialists and lay teachers. Some of these teachers became Master Trainers who mentored and ‘cascaded’ the methods further. The programme was underpinned by a set of resources and a handbook, all of which will be available as part of the Sing Up Foundation’s support of the project.

Over the first seven years, World Voice reached over 1.5 million children and developed the skills of over 12,000 teachers across Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco, Nepal, Palestine, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Siera Leone, Sudan, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. 

World Voice worked in a wide variety of contexts and was adapted to support a range of outcomes for children, from supporting language learning, to fostering a sense of community in refugee camps, to using the content of songs to learn about curriculum subjects.

An independent evaluation of the project highlighted the benefits of the singing programme on children’s overall wellbeing as well as their sense of achievement, social skills, behaviour, engagement and ability to build relationships.

Celi Barberia, Head of the Sing Up Foundation, said: ‘We’re incredibly honoured to continue and build upon the World Voice programme. It‘s clear that World Voice had a profound impact and over the next year we will develop the work to celebrate the legacy established by the British Council and create a revitalised World Voice programme’. 

Cathy Graham OBE, Director of Music at the British Council, said: ‘The joy that World Voice has generated for everyone who has been associated with it across the world is truly inspirational, and a ringing endorsement of the power of singing to improve lives.

‘As Sing Up is the organisation which delivered the National Singing Programme in England during 2007-2012 which was the original inspiration for World Voice, we can say that the programme is returning home. The British Council is delighted that the initiative’s important cultural relations legacy will continue to flourish under Sing Up.’

To find out more about the Sing Up Foundation and World Voice and to access the evaluation, the teaching handbook and some of the teaching materials, visit

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