Primary Robins

Primary Robins

Every week of the school year, Pimlico Opera gives primary school children a half-hour singing class.

The project began with 380 Robins in Hampshire. Today there are 4,000 Robins spread over Durham, Newcastle, Manchester, Surrey, Kent, Essex and Hampshire.


The Primary Robins project continues to thrive thanks to the generosity of individuals and trusts.

We receive no public funding and are reliant upon donations.

A full year of singing lessons costs £40 per child. They participate at no cost to the school or their parents.


Primary Robin Belinda Coles had a role in our 2019 production of Porgy & Bess

Primary Robins


Primary Robins was founded in September 2013. The project enriches the the lives and expands the outlook of school children who have little exposure to music.

Forty years ago, every primary school would have had children sitting around a piano learning songs. This essential part of growing up has been a casualty of today’s curriculum.



How it works

The project is startling in its simplicity and effectiveness.

The Robins sit around the piano together and learn traditional songs every week.

Every term the Robins have a new specially prepared Song Book of around ten traditional songs, one of which is in a foreign language.

The Song Books include musical notation. It is not intended to teach the children to read music, but some see the pattern of how they sing and what the dots do.



The project began with 380 Robins in Hampshire. Today there are 4,000 Robins.

All of the schools have Key Stage 2 level 4 results below the national average, with higher than average numbers of children receiving free school meals.

Primary Robins are disadvantaged children within disadvantaged communities.

Last summer two Primary Robins appeared in the production of Porgy & Bess.

Read the end of term report from the Primary Robins Project Leader:



“Primary Robins first came to Old Moat in September 2021. Until that point, we had held Christmas performances that involved singing, but, particularly with COVID, singing had not been high on the school agenda and was a little lacklustre. Our school is in an area of high deprivation and not many of our children experience music lessons outside school. Music is a curriculum area that is challenging for non-specialists. We simply can’t afford to buy in expert tuition for all our year groups, so to have a classically trained singer provided by Primary Robins teaching four year groups to sing is an amazing opportunity for high quality music education. Opera singer Ed Robinson arrived in September and already, we can’t imagine school life without him. Staff and children alike look forward to Ed’s visits on Fridays:  the impact on mood is palpable as the children’s voices fill the air.  Music is a powerful medium and Ed has the children’s attention from the moment the lesson starts. He has got the children from Years 1-4 engaging with and enjoying music, and singing with more confidence than we have ever seen at Old Moat. Something really special happens when a real musician works with children – it’s an opportunity they wouldn’t have without the incredible support of Primary Robins and we are all incredibly grateful for it.”

Victoria Collier
Deputy Headteacher at Old Moat Primary School, Manchester

With thanks to the Trusts and Foundations that support Primary Robins.

29th May 1961 Charitable Trust

Barbour Foundation

Buffini Chao Foundation

Chapman Charitable Trust

Charity Service Grant Fund

Community Foundation for Surrey

Derrill Allatt Foundation

Eric and Margaret Kinder Charitable Trust

Geoff and Fiona Squire Foundation

Glebe Charitable Trust

Lake House Charitable Foundation

Mila Charitable Organisation

Philip King Charitable Trust

R.W. Mann Trust

Rothley Trust

Underwood Trust