Primary Robins

Every week of the school year, Pimlico Opera gives primary school children a half-hour singing class. In a school year this equates to more than 100,000 hours of teaching.




About the Project

Fifty years ago, every primary school had children sitting around a piano learning songs. In 2013, Primary Robins was introduced to four Hampshire schools, giving 430 Robins a weekly half-hour singing class. Today there are 6,060 Robins spread across the country: Newcastle, Durham, Manchester, Essex, Kent, Lewisham, Hampshire, Staffordshire and Surrey.

A year of singing classes is £40 / child.
The project costs £250k / year.


Primary Robins

How does it work

The project is startling in its simplicity and in its effectiveness: classes gather every week and learn songs. Each term the Robins have a new specially-prepared songbook of around 10 songs, one of which is in another language. All songs are traditional rather than pop tunes, and often turn out to be familiar to our Robins’ parents and grandparents. The songbook includes 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.


“Thank you for the wonderful experience you have provided for the children this year. They have learnt so much, and the development of their musical understanding and vocabulary has been particularly clear. There has also been a clear improvement in their performance and teamwork skills.”
Ruth Nutton-Jones, Deputy Headteacher – Medlock Primary School, Manchester

“Over the past seven years Primary Robins has become a cherished and established part of our curriculum and transformed singing at the school.  As well as developing our children’s musical abilities, Primary Robins has fostered a confidence and enthusiasm.”
Sue Nardoni, Headteacher – Pycroft Grange Primary School, Surrey


“Over these 10 academic years, I have seen the huge impact that the project has had on so many children. Singing every week for 30 minutes boosts confidence, encourages working as part of a team and gets the brain ready for learning.”
Annabel Larard, Primary Robins Project Leader

Pimlico Opera receives neither government nor public subsidy.

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