So, Michael Gove has gone, shufﬂed from the Department for Education by a prime minister with his eye on the 2015 election.
The ‘blob’, as Gove labelled the mystifyingly unappreciative education sector, has had the last laugh, as there’s little doubt that it was his low popularity that put Gove on tory strategist Lynton Crosby’s hit list.
Taking his place will be Nicky Morgan, fresh from the Treasury. The Conservative MP for Loughborough, she retains her additional role as minister for women and has also taken on responsibility for ‘equalities’. So what do we know about her? Well, true to the coalition line, she voted to raise the cap on tuition fees and is a champion of academies and greater autonomy in general for schools. She voted for all of Gove’s education reforms. Her only major break from the tory majority was when she voted against the same-sex marriage bill last year, leading to the issue being removed from her ‘equalities’ brief.
What we really want to know is, ﬁ rstly, will she give the profession a break? A slower rate of change would go down a storm, thanks. And secondly, will she listen to what teachers want?
On an entirely different note, I recently had the honour of introducing the youth orchestras that performed at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on the last day of Music for Youth’s National Festival. It was a humbling experience, witnessing the fruits of so much hard work and enjoying the infectious camaraderie that springs from dedicated ensemble participation. Orchestras performing on the day included the Greater Gwent Youth Orchestra, a band that had its funding pulled last year but has clearly not let standards slip, producing a deeply affecting Gadﬂy Suite; The Wessex Youth Orchestra, which, if you shut your eyes, would seem to be entirely peopled by adult professionals; and the mighty Birmingham Schools’ Concert Orchestra, which gave an unforgettable performance of Arnold’s Peterloo Overture. Props to the Kirklees Youth Orchestra, two members of which ﬂew back from Malaga especially for the performance (before ﬂying back again), and the refreshingly original Bradford Youth Orchestra, which stopped off in Birmingham on its way back from a tour of the Rhineland. And all credit to Judith Webster and her team for delivering a multi-venue, ﬁve-day event involving more than 10,000 students without apparently breaking a sweat.
It takes a special talent to get the date of your own event wrong, but in my defence, I did claim in my last editorial that my head was ‘spinning’ with the possibilities. The Music Education Expo 2015 takes place on 12 and 13 March next year, not February as stated. The Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2015 take place on the evening of 12 March and nominations open on 4 August, see page 50 for full details.