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Hubs funding boosted to £75m for 2015/16

22 July 2014, Alex Stevens

The Department for Education has announced that central funding for the network of 123 music education hubs in England will be more than £75m in 2015/16, described as ‘an £18m funding boost’ by education minister Nick Gibb.

The £75m figure represents a year-on-year increase of nearly 30%, and is in cash terms a return to the settlement in 2012-13, the year in which the music hubs system was first implemented. Funding subsequently decreased to £63m in 2013/14 and £58m in 2014/15. Funding levels after 2016 will be dependent on the result of the 2015 general election.

A DfE statement said the funding ‘will mean thousands more disadvantaged pupils will have access to music lessons and enable hubs to purchase tens of thousands more instruments’.

Gibb said of the move: ‘Music hubs have made a very encouraging start - and now we want to build on that. That is why we are increasing funding by £18 million. No children should miss out on the inspiration and excitement that music can bring to their lives.’

Darren Henley, the managing director of Classic FM whose review of England’s music education led to the National Plan for Music Education and the recommendation of the hubs model, said the announcement was ‘great news’.

‘I’m delighted the Department of Education is now spending even more in this vital area. Music hubs have already helped hundreds of thousands of children try a musical instrument, sing or join a choir or orchestra.’

The Incorporated Society of Musicians established the Protect Music Education Campaign earlier this year, initially in response to a DfE consultation document position on local authority funding of music education. It said the announcement was ‘a substantial victory for the Protect Music Education campaign’.

‘The campaign has been a united voice for music education, defending key funding ever since the Government launched a damaging consultation in March 2014 suggesting local authorities stop funding their music services.’

The ISM’s chief executive, Deborah Annetts, said: ‘This is wonderful news for all children and young people. This funding is a critical component in ensuring that access to music education is there and we welcome this decision by the new secretary of state.

‘We now hope that all political parties will commit to music education funding until 2020 and that the Department for Education remove the damaging guidance to local authorities when they respond to the recent consultation.’

England’s music education sector had been waiting for details of funding after next March for some time, with the awarding body, Arts Council England, having committed to funding the same hubs as are currently in place rather than run a reallocation process.

An ACE spokesperson said in June that ‘given the time scales involved we do not intend to run a bidding process for 2015-16. Existing arrangements will remain in place until the end of the financial year 2015-16, letting hubs focus on improving quality and delivery.’

A DfE statement said: ‘A key objective of music hubs is to give every 5- to 18-year-old the chance to learn to play an instrument as part of whole class tuition for at least a term.

‘Many hubs are also subsidising instrument hire to those on low incomes so nobody’s background is a barrier to music. For example, in Hull instrument hire is for all who are having music lessons at their Music Hub. In Brighton instruments can be hired for £37 a term but families on low incomes can hire an instrument for free.’

Creativity Project supports young composers

21 July 2014

A report has been published by Music4U which examines music provision for young people between the ages of eleven and eighteen in York and the Humber Region.

Funded by Youth Music, the ‘Creativity Project’ is based on hands-on musical exploration as well as research. The report focuses on the issues surrounding young people starting out in the field of composition.

The project began as a series of workshops and short courses which were attended by over 100 young people. All the participants came from communities that have low levels of engagement with music. Professional musicians and composers worked with the young musicians, helping them learn the skills and gain the confidence required to create their own music.

The musicians leading the workshops were asked to document their experiences, recording their successes as well the challenges they encountered. This first-hand evaluation was collected and used as the basis of the report, which contains a summary of the project alongside ideas for the development of further creative work in the region.

Delma Tomlin, director of the National Centre For Early Music (NCEM), commented: ‘Our aim was to bring together young people, teachers, youth workers and pastoral staff, and professional composers/creative musicians in practical music-making sessions.  The outcomes have been tremendously varied and inspiring. They have ranged from ukulele players in Goole writing pop songs, young people with special needs in York and Hull improvising and developing new gamelan pieces, special school students in Scunthorpe producing dubstep and electronica music to young bands in Immingham writing rock songs. The young composers have also made music videos and Pupil Support Units and schools across the region have experimented with technology and different instruments. We wanted to build confidence and give freedom to young people to create music in their own time, with groups of friends and in community and youth centres.’

Richard Hallam MBE, music education consultant, said of the report: ‘Much of the recent focus of the National Plan for Music Education has been on active music-making through instrumental and vocal ensemble work. Whilst composing and performing are present in best practice, this is not always the case. This is one of several reasons why this report is so important. It is impossible to make music without someone composing or improvising!

 ‘The Creativity Project has resulted in a rich resource for everyone. There is much good advice on composing and improvising, in and out of school. There are helpful conclusions and strategic and practical recommendations, as well as 37 new pieces that can be listened to online.’

The report is available to download from the NCEM website.

CLV in charge of RCM accommodation make-over

18 July 2014

Campus Living Villages (CLV) has been appointed by the Royal College of Music to create brand new state-of-the-art accommodation for its students.

The deal has been confirmed and the £45m project is now underway to replace current facilities on Goldhawk Road. In addition to 417 student rooms, the buildings will include 24-hour music practice rooms, a gymnasium, a central amenity space with external courtyards, informal personal space, and teaching kitchens.

Professor Colin Lawson, director of the Royal College of Music, commented: ‘With 750 students coming from more than 60 countries, we place great importance not only on the environment in which they learn, but also on the environment in which they live. For our new student accommodation, it was vital for us to find a partner with a reputation for excellence and consideration of all aspects on student life. We are confident that CLV can meet our expectations.’

New support programme for KS3 teachers

16 July 2014

A year-long, fully subsidised professional development programme to support KS3 music teachers in London is being launched this summer.

Teach Through Music is a new partnership led by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, alongside Sound Connections, Barbican, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College London and the University of Greenwich. The programme is on offer as part of ‘Music Excellence London’, an initiative by the Mayor of London to raise teaching standards in schools across the capital.

150 places are available on the Teach Through Music programme, and participating teachers will be offered a series of seminars, events and courses. Trained peer mentors will also be on hand to support teachers making changes in the classroom and give feedback.

Andrea Spain, from Trinity Laban, said creative isolation is a problem for many music teachers: ‘Music teachers may be the only music specialist in their school and have little contact with others. As well as helping develop practical skills, Teach Through Music will support teachers to overcome barriers to more ‘musical’ approaches to teaching, presented by limited resources and whole school systems that don’t lend themselves to musical learning.’

‘The Teach Through Music training is being devised collaboratively by a partnership of teachers, higher education and specialist music organisations,’ said Philip Flood at Sound Connections. ‘This partnership will draw on the very best music and education expertise, while developing highly practical solutions for the classroom.’

Farewell Michael Gove

15 July 2014

David Cameron’s final cabinet reshuffle before the 2015 election has seen some significant changes.

Michael Gove, who had served as education secretary since the 2010 general election, will be taking up the position of Commons chief whip. According to a tweet posted by David Cameron earlier today, Gove will now have ‘an enhanced role in campaigning and doing broadcast media interviews.’

Replacing Gove is Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan, who was appointed just three months ago as financial secretary to the Treasury, and minister for women and equalities. Morgan will be retaining her women and equalities portfolio alongside her new post as education secretary.

Born in south London, Morgan attended Surbiton High School before studying law at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. She was elected MP for Loughborough in 2010, appointed assistant whip in 2012 and economic secretary to the Treasury in 2013.

In his time as education secretary Michael Gove has been responsible for the biggest shake-up of England’s school system for decades. He has constantly faced opposition from teaching unions, and general secretary of the National Union of Teachers Christine Blower has stated that the union will be looking for a change of direction from Ms Morgan.

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