Simon Toyne

Executive Director of Music

I joined the Trust in September 2015 to develop the musical enrichment programme across the network.

Working with partners including the Nevill Holt Opera, King’s College Choir and the Voices Foundation, our students benefit from unrivalled musical opportunities.

Through major music festivals and bespoke workshops, training and events, every child in every DRET academy has access to music making of the highest quality.

Singing now takes place every day in DRET’s primary academies, and it is real privilege to see greater numbers of students and staff making music a central part of their lives.

At the David Ross Education Trust, there is a shared passionate belief that we owe every child the chance to have the best possible education.

Music is an incredible example of how learning can unlock a child’s potential. It is a multi-facted discipline that sharpens our focus and opens our minds, connecting us with people throughout history and helping us to live happy and fulfilling lives.

Career history

Simon has over 25 years experience of working in music education in the state sector, as a classroom teacher, Head of Department and as a member of Senior Leadership Teams.

As Assistant Head and Director of Music at Tiffin School, Simon developed an arts outreach programme, which led to the foundation of the Thames Youth Orchestra and the Tiffin Children’s Chorus. He also set up the Choirs for Schools project, engaging all 32 primary schools in Kingston upon Thames, at the same time as delivering outstanding academic results across GCSE and A Level Music.

Simon led the Tiffin Boys’ Choir on tours all over the world, including to Australia, China, New Zealand, Russia and the USA; under his direction, the choir worked with the Royal Opera, Bolshoi Opera, Mariinsky Opera and all the London orchestras, as well as appearing on the soundtrack to many films, including Philomena and The Hobbit.

Simon’s musical life began as a chorister in Exeter Cathedral Choir, and continued as a Music Scholar at Eton College and as Organ Scholar of University College, Oxford. He is passionate about the importance of all children experiencing quality music education, and has given workshops on singing and choral music for the Association of British Choral Directors and Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Alongside his work for DRET, Simon is a Director of the Eton Choral Courses.