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New partnership for Music Teacher and the Federation of Music Services

23 June 2010

A new partnership between the Federation of Music Services (FMS) and Music Teacher was launched officially on 17 June at the FMS conference in Belfast. The partnership means that any music service employee can now purchase a subscription to Music Teacher with a 50% discount on the cover price for the first year. From September, the magazine will feature a FMS news page; music services employees are invited to email fmseditorial@rhinegold.co.uk with their news stories, however large or small.

In addition, music services will now be able to advertise job vacancies at reduced rates on Rhinegold's market-leading recruitment website. Each music service will receive a 20% discount on the standard rate, with a further 10% off for every ten subscribers generated within the music service. For more information, email fmsrecruitment@rhinegold.co.uk.

It is hoped that the partnership will enable music services to communicate their work to a much larger pool of readers. Details of how to purchase your music service subscription can be found at www.rhinegold.co.uk/fms.

Arts Council England announces extent of in-year cuts to 2011

18 June 2010

Arts Council England (ACE) has announced cuts of 0.5 per cent to all its regularly funded organisations for the year 2010/11. The cuts come in the wake of a total £23million decrease in the Arts Council's funding allocation from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, whose own budget had been brought down by £88m as part of the Government's initial £6.2bn of savings since taking office.

ACE has used £9m of its historic reserves in order to reduce the size of the cuts directly felt by arts organisations, though these new funding arrangements will apply only until the end of the current financial year. Any future planning will inevitably be affected by the Treasury's next spending review, details of which will be announced by chancellor George Osborne in the Autumn and the top priority for which has been announced by the government as a significant reduction in the size of the country's budget deficit. It is widely thought that this will entail significant cuts in the levels of both public borrowing and spending.

The Art's Council's Chair, Dame Liz Forgan, said: 'In-year cuts are always the most difficult to manage, because plans have already been made against an expected level of income. But we have done our best to minimise the effect on our funded organisations and the art they produce so brilliantly.

'Some immediate impact was inevitable, and in the longer term the arts sector will also feel the effect of the cutting back of projects that are key to its long-term sustainability and development. But I am confident that the decisions we have taken are the right ones - for art, for artists and for the audiences we serve.'


Scrapping of Shetland Islands' free music tuition put on hold

18 June 2010

Plans to charge £140 a year for peripatetic music lessons in the Shetland Islands suffered a blow yesterday as local councillors agreed to hold a review into the scheme, which had been due to start in the new school year.

The current scheme of free music tuition had been under threat as councillors tried to cut £10m from the council's overall budget. The council had agreed in February that tuition fees would come into force, estimating that this would bring in revenue of around £130,000.

However, at yesterday's council meeting, Shetland South councillor Rick Nickerson supported a review of the plans, disputing that such revenue could be made. Mr Nickerson said he hoped to return to the council on 25 November with a package that would save more than £130,000 from the music service without removing free tuition from the islands’ schools. Plans for a review were finally supported by eleven votes to eight.

Councillor Betty Fullerton was concerned that after agreeing to consult on closing schools during the same meeting, members were considering going back on a decision to stop free music tuition.

“I am quite angry about this. We have to make savings, and maybe we should charge more. Moray charges £258,” she was quoted as saying.

A petition signed by over 6,000 people in protest at the removal of free music lessons was handed over to the council on Wednesday, after a campaign led by local musicians.


Vetting and Barring Scheme to be put on hold

15 June 2010

New home secretary Theresa May has announced plans to halt the Labour government’s controversial Vetting and Barring Scheme. Registration, which would have been compulsory for nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, was due to begin this month; this will now be put on hold while the government contacts 66,000 organisations, charities and education bodies to inform them that a full-scale review of the scheme is to take place.

Speaking to the BBC, May described the scheme as ‘draconian’: ‘You were assumed to be guilty until you were proven innocent. All sorts of groups out there were deeply concerned about this and how it would affect them. Schools were very concerned that foreign exchanges could be finished as a result of this, and parents were worried about looking after other people’s children after school.’

Education leaders complained that the registration of nine million people would create an unacceptable atmosphere of suspicion. Children’s authors including Philip Pullman threatened to end school readings if forced to sign up, and headteachers argued that longstanding volunteer workers would be lost. A concern for music teachers was that adults were to be charged £64 to register, whereas the cost of the current CRB check is often carried by employers. The CRB check will remain in place while the review is carried out, although the Independent Safeguarding Authority, the organisation set up to run the scheme and the database it would have produced, will continue to decide who is to be barred from certain jobs. It will also manage the lists of individuals barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.

The Vetting and Barring Scheme was intended to tighten the rules on who could work in which jobs, and would have been the biggest child protection database in the world, covering one in four adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It would have brought together information from a number of separate lists and eliminated the need for repeated CRB checks, which was thought by some to be a positive step.

The review looks likely to result in a scaling down of regulations, resulting in fewer people being required to register. A detailed ministerial announcement is expected shortly.

Educators, performers and composers named in Birthday Honours list

14 June 2010

Composers George Benjamin and Karl Jenkins have been awarded the CBE for services to music in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Terence Alan Clarke, assistant headteacher and arts coordinator at Langley School, Solihull, was also awarded the CBE, for services to education. Langley School is a specialist performing arts college with a strong take-up for GCSE music, offering ensembles including a rock band, choir, orchestra, saxophone/clarinet ensemble and Key Stage 3 band. William Ashton, life president of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, was awarded the OBE.

Veteran musicians and teachers Richard and Julia Moss were awarded the MBE for services to classical music in Kenya. The Mosses have been leading figures in Nairobi’s music education for half a century, during which time they have taught in many of the city’s schools and worked for the City Council’s music teachers’ division. For the last 12 years they have run the Quaver Orchestra, a children’s orchestra that brings together young musicians from across the city. They are about to publish Quavers on the Equator, a history of the Nairobi Orchestra.

Others awarded the MBE include David Young, conductor of Dublin Welsh Male Choir; Leonard Andrews, for voluntary service to brass band music in Warrington, Cheshire; Richard Best De La Rue, for services to music and the community in Guernsey; Margaret Houghton, for voluntary service to choral music in Cambridgeshire; Philip Kelsall, resident organist, Tower Ballroom, Blackpool; Janet Townsend, for services to music and to the community in Port Isaac, Cornwall; and Evelyn Robins, principal, Eve Trew School of Dancing and Gateshead Children’s Arts and Theatre School, for services to the arts in the North East.

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