Talks begin on proposed spending cuts in Aberdeen
2 December 2010
Councillor Martin Greig accepts the petition from protesters
Talks begin today on controversial plans to cut spending in Aberdeen by £127million over five years. Councillors will look at over 750 savings options which would have a direct effect on the way the city’s services are delivered.
The proposals, first revealed in October, include plans to shut the county music service, which is used by thousands of pupils each year. The close of the city’s music school would save the council an estimated £450,000.
Aberdeen’s music service has one of the UK’s highest rates of students enrolled in instrumental tuition, with over 14% of all school pupils also attending the city’s music school.
Grant Bruce, secretary of the Education Institute of Scotland’s Local Association in Aberdeen, has written to all of the city’s councillors to claim that the council had not properly considered the impact of the plans on the 39-strong team of instrumental teachers. Bruce also cautioned against scrapping or privatising the service.
Hundreds of young musicians braved the snow outside Aberdeen Town House on Tuesday to attempt to force the council to rethink the cuts. A petition against the plans, containing 3,260 signatures, was received at the protest by Councillor Martin Greig.
At 1.30pm today, a second protest is to be held outside the Town House by community groups from around the city.
However, it will be impossible to wrap-up any concrete decisions today, as the Scottish Government will not announce the official settlement until 8 December.
Brand new Music Teacher coming your way in January 2011
29 November 2010
Rhinegold Publishing is bringing together Classroom Music and Music Teacher magazines, in order to offer you our most authoritative and comprehensive music education resource to date – wherever you work in the profession. The new magazine will be still be called Music Teacher and will still contain the range of quality features you've come to expect, but with an injection of lively new content to keep you inspired, entertained and in the loop.
The benefits to you:
- Everything that Classroom Music and Music Teacher currently include: practical feature articles, product reviews and in-depth news reports
- NEW! 36 sets of online and downloadable lesson materials per year (accessible to MT subscribers who upgrade their subscriptions - see below)
- PLUS: essential music education news so you can keep up-to-date during your coffee break
- PLUS: practical ideas and information for instrumental teachers, including sheet-music reviews
- PLUS: recruitment listings to keep you informed of new job vacancies as they are announced
- PLUS: the option to receive multiple subscriptions for your department at very little extra cost
- PLUS: free monthly e-bulletins with breaking news, and great prizes for you and your school to win
- AND if you already subscribe to both magazines, you'll save money!
Whether your subscription is due for renewal now or not, until 21 January 2011 you can take advantage of our special early-bird renewal offer – only available to subscribers. For just £40 you can renew your Music Teacher subscription and save £19 on the cover price when you pay by direct debit.
PLUS, we're giving you the chance to upgrade your subscription to include access to our online lesson plans for a special, low price of just £20 (normal price £30). To see a sample lesson plan, click on the 'sample articles' tab above.
PLUS, if you renew by 21 January, you'll get two free copies of Music Teacher - one for yourself and one to share with a colleague.
For more information about the changes and to renew your subscription, click on 'renew subscription' in the box on the left or call 01371 851892
Gove wants 'core curriculum' - and suggests music isn't in it
24 November 2010
Michael Gove, the education secretary, today hinted that under his recommendations music would no longer make up part of the national secondary curriculum.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today, Gove suggested he favoured a 'miminum curriculum entitlement' which would be followed for 'perhaps 50%' of school time, going on to include music in a separate list of other subjects.
Asked about the national curriculum, Gove responded that he believed there should be 'a debate about which subjects we mandate from the centre have to be taught, and after that you free it up.
'Our coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, have made the case very powerfully that what schools should follow is a minimum curriculum entitlement that takes up perhaps 50% of school time - and then there’s more space, not just for some of these other subjects but also for music, art, culture and so on,' said Gove.
The Department for Education's white paper will be released later today.
Cultural Learning Alliance's 'The Big Link Up' discusses future of arts education
23 November 2010
The Cultural Learning Alliance, an arts education umbrella organisation, held 'The Big Link Up' on 23 November at the British Museum in London. The event was attended by over 200 delegates from across the arts education sector, and was addressed by culture minister Ed Vaizey with responses from panellists including children's author Michael Morpurgo, educationalist Professor Mick Waters and Arts Council England's director of arts strategy Andrew Nairne.
Many of Ed Vaizey's comments focused on music education and the current Henley Review. The minister stated that, if successful, the review could and should become the model for all areas of cultural learning, effectively putting music at the forefront of the coalition's policy on arts education.
However, one delegate, a music teacher with Bedfordshire Music Service, questioned the relevance of the review, claiming that Bedfordshire local authority had not even been aware of its existence until very recently. The delegate claimed that she and and her colleagues had been forced to undertake a time-consuming campaign to persude councillors to wait for the review's findings before making any funding decisions that might affect the music service's future. Bedforshire's councillors had previously indicated that the music service's local authority funding might have to be withdrawn, leaving parents and schools to pick up the shortfall.
In addition, there was some disagreement between delegates who focused on the need to fight cuts and those for whom the current austerity suggested opportunities for creativity and development.
Venezuelan quartet visits Sistema Scotland
23 November 2010
The Millennium string quartetMarc Marnie
A string quartet whose members are graduates of Venezuela’s famous El Sistema has just completed a successful six-week residency at Sistema Scotland in Raploch, Stirling, the Scottish pilot project based on the Venezuelan model.
It is the second visit to Raploch for the Millennium Quartet, and has come during a busy autumn for the project – violinist Nicola Benedetti also visited recently to give masterclasses and perform with participants at the Scottish Parliament.
Staff and teachers were thrilled when the quartet identified several children with the potential to have musical careers – though the primary aim of the project is not necessarily to produce future maestros, but to nurture talent.
‘What’s really exciting about having people like the Millennium Quartet and Nicoletta Benedetti mentor for us is that the children can see themselves that this is where they could get to,’ said George Anderson, the project’s communications officer.
There are plans for the Millennium Quartet to return next year and Benedetti is keen to become more involved. So far the project has exceeded expectations with 350 children, from an original 30, now taking part.
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