Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2014 announced
9 February 2014
This year’s Music Education Expo saw the announcement of the winners of the 2014 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence. The ceremony took place on the evening of 7 February 2014 in the Barbican’s Garden Room and Conservatory. Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor, ably assisted by a jazz trio from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, oversaw proceedings, with awards presented by figures including Darren Henley, The DfE’s Jenny Curtis, and representatives from the sponsors. The shortlist – which is available to view at www.musiceducationexpo.co.uk/shortlist – was compiled by the editorial team of Music Teacher magazine from over 200 public nominations, and the winners are printed below:
Best Musical Initiative: Singing Playgrounds
Best Print Resource: Portsmouth Music Hub Songbooks
Best Digital/Technological Resource: Friday Afternoons (Aldeburgh Music)
Best SEN Resource: Drake Music Scotland
Excellence in Primary/Early Years Music: Mini Music Makers & Little Music Makers
Best school Music Department: Baden-Powell & St Peter’s Church of England Junior School
Hub Innovation Award: SoundCity (Brighton & Hove)
Most Innovative Retailer: Knock on Wood
Music Teacher Magazine Editor’s Award: Jane Cutler
Best Classical Music Education Initiative: In Harmony Opera North
Lifetime Achievement Awards were also presented to Vivienne Price & Christine Croshaw
Principal of Leeds College of Music to stand down in August 2014
6 February 2014
Professor Philip Meaden has announced that he will stand down as Principal and Managing Director of Leeds College of Music in August 2014, after six and a half years in post.
MU survey reveals dissatisfaction amongst music teachers
6 February 2014
The Musicians’ Union (MU) has issued a report calling on the Government to work with Ofsted to ensure that schools recognise the importance of music education.
Over two thirds of the MU’s 30,000 members work in music education. In 2013 it saw a rise in the number of legal cases and calls for support by members who teach. After the publication of the November Ofsted report on the progress of Music Education Hubs in England, the MU consulted with its members who are working for music services and within Hubs and asked how the report reflected what was going on in their area of work and what impact the transition to Hubs has had.
The report raises concern that teachers are being blamed for problems relating to funding and administration. It also suggests that Hubs are being blamed for problems that fall out of their remit, such as schools not having a music specialist. Hubs seem in some cases to be unsupported and in many cases undermined by the Coalition Government’s policy of encouraging schools to have greater independence from their Local Authorities.
The MU reports that some music services have made the whole of their teaching staff redundant, re-engaging them on zero hours contracts or as self-employed teachers. Some of these teachers are being subject to employment covenants restricting the work that they are allowed to undertake outside of their hours with the music service.
The MU’s recommendations are:
1. Government works with Ofsted to ensure that schools get a consistent message that music education is both important and relevant.
2. That future national funding decisions are made quickly and that the current level of funding is at the very least maintained.
3. The data collection requirements from Hubs are revised to ensure they are fit for purpose.
4. That governance arrangements of Music Education Hubs are more closely scrutinised to ensure greater accountability and transparency.
Read the full report here
Michael Gove under fire for funding policy
4 February 2014
Michael Gove has made a speech in which he expressed wishes for state schools to be ‘indistinguishable’ from fee-paying schools.
Delivering a keynote speech at the London Academy of Excellence, Michael Gove said he wanted the country's schools to be among the best in the world and that the ‘Berlin Wall’ between state and private schools must be torn down. He also said teachers should be willing to use disciplinary measures such as detentions, line-writing and litter-picking to combat poor behaviour. Hailing the achievements of academies and free schools, which are already able to run longer school days, Mr Gove said he would be providing resources to allow all state schools to extend the day to 10 hours. The extra time would make room for extra-curricular activities such as music.
Gove has come up against criticism for failing fully to address the issue of funding for such an ambitious policy. Average funding for a state school pupil is currently less than half that of the private sector.
Mary Bousted of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said: ‘Teachers are already desperately overworked. They work the most unpaid overtime of all the professions and they can’t work harder. If this is going to happen, there needs to be significant extra funding.’
Gove has also come up against criticism for funding free schools by cutting funding for sixth form colleges. There is concern that funds will be further diverted from sixth forms to make way for plans to overhaul secondary education.
Research by the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) claims that the Government is spending more than £39,616 for every student at the free schools, compared to £4,000 on those at sixth-form colleges. SFCA claims that its analysis shows that budgets were slashed by 10 per cent three years ago, 6 per cent in 2012 and a further 1.2 per cent in 2013. The cuts stem from the fact the Government's pledge to maintain funding for education only covers the years of compulsory education from the ages of five to 16.
‘Slashing sixth-form funding to protect schools means the Government is building a very well appointed road to nowhere,’ said James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the SFCA. ‘Courses are being cut - particularly those that the Government is keen to see grow - modern foreign languages, STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths], class sizes are increasing and industrial unrest is on the increase. The curriculum is being seriously impoverished.’
Baroness Morgan accuses Tories of ousting non-Conservative supporters
4 February 2014
Baroness Sally Morgan has hit back at the Conservatives following the announcement that Michael Gove will not be renewing her term as head of Ofsted. Her current term, which was due to end this month, will be extended to the autumn while a successor is found, but she will not be given a second spell.
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