Birmingham primary school adds UB40 to its curriculum

Legendary Brummie band bring music into the classroom.

Pupils at a primary school in Birmingham studying the musical and cultural impact of global reggae stars UB40 performed to the band at a special assembly on Monday.

Teachers at St Edward’s Catholic Primary School added learning about the influential Brummie musicians to their Oracy Curriculum as a way of introducing different music genres to children and developing their understanding of culture, identity, and community.

Members of the bestselling Birmingham band appeared at the special event, where the 400 of the Selly Park school children from Reception class up to Year 6 presented their research and sang a selection of the seminal group’s hits including Higher Ground, X and Can’t Help Falling in Love.

In return the band will be providing music equipment to the school, provided by electronic instrument brand Roland, and offering a legacy award for outstanding pupils over the coming years.

Robin Campbell, founding member of the band, said, “When we first started out making music over 45 years ago, we could never have imagined that we’d be part of a school curriculum – it’s a bit surreal, it’s very flattering – it’s a wonderful thing. It’s great that the kids are getting to study this kind of subject.

“Our sponsors Roland are going to be supplying instruments and equipment to the school who don’t have the funding that they used to have, and we’re also going to be initiating an award for the child that progresses the most within music – they’ll get the UB40 award every year.”

Natalie Carry, Deputy Headteacher at St Edwards Catholic School, said: “It was an absolute privilege to welcome the band members today. A lovely group of people, they were so humble and so appreciative of the children’s work.

“Our children have all worked so hard on this project, learning about the music, lyrics, and history of UB40 and learning from their example as a diverse band from Birmingham.

“To have an authentic audience – the actual band – to perform to was just the icing on the cake. Truly a day that every child and staff member will remember forever!”

Teacher Jess McDonald, who introduced the band to the school’s curriculum, spoke of her delight at the band supporting the special assembly, saying: “As a teacher there are so many surprises in store however this was by far the biggest one and the highlight of my career to date. For the children to be learning about a local Brummie band who then came along to the school was just phenomenal.

“At St Edwards we strive for a broad, rich and balanced curriculum; so, the children have not just focussed on the music of UB40, but the lyrics, the art – we’ve stretched the topics across the whole curriculum.”

Formed in Birmingham in 1978, the band wore their working-class roots on their sleeves, championing causes and concerns on songs that tackled political and social issues head-on. Capturing the hearts, minds, and dancing feet of disaffected British youth, that loyal audience has grown and evolved with them over the past 45 years, thanks to the power and importance of music that continues to resonate today as they fly the flag for the many.

For all the latest band news and tour announcements, visit .

Pics – John Charlton.