New term, new Hub – music education in Gloucestershire is changing

We’re continuing to work through the massive changes to the way we work that we began during the summer term. The Government has changed the way that music education across the UK is funded, and the way music services are expected to work. As a result, from Autumn term 2012, we are now leading a new music education hub with a range of partners who are involved in music or in services for young people.

The idea is that no single organisation can deliver everything a young person might want/need from music. Co-ordinating what we do will mean that it will be easier for children and young people, parents, carers, teachers, and others working with children and young people to find the music opportunities and pathways that are right for each child. This might range from learning an instrument or improving their singing; joining a choir, band, group or ensemble; taking part in workshops or large scale musical experiences.

It also means that we will be able to reach more, and a wider range, of children and young people – particularly those who often miss out on music education, including looked-after children, those not in mainstream schooling or those with special educational needs.

Working together will also help us to make better use of public money, making sure money and resources for music education are spread as fairly and equally as possible, and benefit all children and young people.

In some cases we need to transform what we do and how we do it. We need to make sure we are relevant to young people and those who work with them, now and in the future. As we said in our funding bid to Government:

“We want all children and young people in Gloucestershire to take part in music making activities that excite and challenge them, raise their aspirations and give them the opportunity to develop their talents as well as to develop as people.”

Changes to the way Gloucestershire Music works

We’ve had to make some hard decisions. We have less funding, but very clear direction from Government that we must make sure that music opportunities reach more, and a wider range of, children and young people. As a result, we had to decide to change the way we work.

Many people know us as ‘the people who provide instrumental tuition in schools’. But this was costing us a lot of money in administration and management (contracts, wages, insurance, and all the other things that go with being an employer of 200 people). So we had to take the hard decision to stop offering this service, and to make our valued peripatetic teachers – and other central team members – redundant.

Schools are now contracting instrumental teachers directly (which many schools had started doing already). We hope that in time schools will find that this offers them far more flexibility, and in many cases, cost savings. We will be developing ways to offer support for schools, and tutors, to make sure that children continue to receive quality, affordable tuition that’s right for them.

Gloucestershire Music will be continuing to provide some of the same services – such as teaching whole classes in school, running out of school hours orchestras and groups, and providing an instrument hire service. But we will also now co-ordinate the work of the Hub, which means we will work with pupils, parents, teachers, parents, carers and others working with children and young people to find out what’s needed and how we might work together to respond; manage the plan and the funding and make sure we’re doing what we’ve said we will do; promote and advocate the work of the Hub and the value of music to children and young people; monitor and evaluate the impact of our work.

What the Hub will do

In summary, the Hub will provide, through Gloucestershire Music, Gloucestershire Music Makers, and other partners and providers:

•    First access to music – at least a term of whole-class instrumental teaching in all primary schools; singing opportunities in and out of school
•    Targeted inclusion work – music opportunities targeted to children and young people who are looked-after, have special educational needs, or are in pupil referral units
•    Progression routes – out of school hours orchestras, groups, choirs and ensembles out of school hours; singing opportunities in and out of school
•    Instrument hire – affordable loan services for everyone in the County, not just children and young people
•    Training for teachers – continuing professional development for school teachers to help them deliver the music curriculum
•    Training for music leaders – Continuing professional development for musicians to help them develop their skills in working inclusively with children and young people, particularly those who lack opportunities or are outside of mainstream education

The Hub will also, importantly:

•    Bring together all those working in music education in the County – to create a network of people, information and opportunities to do with learning music in Gloucestershire
•    Work side-by-side with teachers and others working with children and young people – to make sure the Hub is relevant to them, supports them, and is driven by them
•    Co-ordinate and sign post other music opportunities in the County (from learning an instrument to taking part in a workshop to rehearsing to performing in a band or ensemble) and will be finding out what’s available, what’s needed, and adapt accordingly

All of our plans are based on hearing from what you’ve told us you want and need – from pupils to teachers to commissioners of children’s services. I’ve outlined in summary (as a ‘five minute guide’), what we’ve heard and how we’ve responded. Download the five-minute guide.

There’ll be more information on our website which will be transformed over the next few months to contain all the information you need about music-making for young people in Gloucestershire. If you’d like to keep in touch with developments then please email gloucestershiremusic@gmail.com and we will let you know when there’s more news.

Malcolm Pollock, Head of Gloucestershire Music, lead organisation for the county’s new music education hub.

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Posted on September 12, 2012, in Music Education, What's happening and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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