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Guildhall to award its own degrees

23 April 2014

The Privy Council of the United Kingdom has granted Taught Degree-Awarding Powers to The Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

The Guildhall School’s bachelors and master’s degrees were initially validated by Kent University, with City University London becoming sole validator in 2002. In addition to granting Guildhall the right to award its own degrees, the Privy Council’s decision means that the School is now also free to launch a new range of academic programmes, which is one of the aims for the School’s new state of the art facilities at Milton Court.

Professor Barry Ife, principal of the Guildhall School, said: ‘There is an increasing expectation among students, stakeholders, peer institutions and other agencies in this country and abroad that highly-respected institutions should have gained academic autonomy. I am absolutely delighted that after several years of hard work on quality assurance, the School has been officially recognised by the Privy Council in this way.’

It is expected that the School will award its first degrees at its graduation ceremony in the autumn of 2015.

Key Data on Hubs Published

22 April 2014

The results are in from the major survey of music education hubs initiated last October. It was undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), at the request of Arts Council England (ACE).

The report focuses on the six ‘Key Performance Indicators’ agreed between ACE and the DfE in January this year. Here are some of the highlights:

  • '14,368 state-funded primary schools engaged with their music hub on one or more core roles. This equated to 83.2 per cent of primary schools reported by hubs (17,289).'
  • 'A total of 3,073 state-funded secondary schools engaged with their music hub on one or more roles. This equated to 76 per cent of secondary schools reported by hubs (4,048).'
  • 'The proportion of pupils nationally receiving ‘Whole Class Ensemble Tuition’ (WCET) for the first time represents approximately 8.6 per cent of the national cohort of pupils in Years 1 to 9.'
  • 'A total of 175,374 pupils (35.6 per cent of those receiving free first access/WCET in the previous year) were reported to have continued to learn to play a musical instrument in 2012/13.'
  • 'A total of 618,952 pupils regularly attended at least one school- or hub-led instrumental ensemble or choir. This represents approximately 7.6 per cent of the 8.2 million pupils attending state funded schools nationally in January 2013.'
  • 'Overall, hubs had supported 9,014 (62.4 per cent) of the primary schools and 1,576 (51.0 per cent) of the secondary schools they engaged with to develop singing strategies.'

NFER added: ‘It is not possible to provide a breakdown of the number of pupils continuing their musical education beyond WCET by school phase (primary or secondary) or pupils’ characteristics. We suggest that Arts Council England may wish to consider amending the questionnaire to enable this data to be collected in future.’ 

MT will report more fully on the data in our June issue. The report can be downloaded from ACE’s ‘Music Education Hubs’ webpage (PDF link here).

Milton Keynes Music Teachers Bounce Back from Redundancy

21 April 2014

The Musicians’ Union (MU) is supporting its members who have set up Milton Keynes Music Co-operative, which launched this week. Following the redundancy of nearly 100 instrumental teachers, the MU has provided practical support and advice to a core group of dedicated teachers who rallied their colleagues to set up the Milton Keynes Music Co-operative. With a membership of 60 self-employed teachers the cooperative will work alongside the skeleton Milton Keynes Music Service as part of the local Music Hub, to ensure delivery to children in the area of instrumental lessons.


MU Organiser for Education & Training Diane Widdison said: ‘Their commitment to being part of a collaborative body, sharing resources, developing good practice, and offering consistency to schools, parents and children, is typical of the vocational drive we find among music teachers. We applaud these teachers who, whilst facing redundancy and all the stress this entails, devoted huge energy and time to finding a way for teachers to stay together and not be cast out into a competitive landscape where increased competition tends so often to lead to under cutting and a gradual erosion of teaching standards.’


The formation of the Milton Keynes Music Co-operative has been supported by the Musicians’ Union, Swindon Music Co-operative, David Barnard (Managing Director of Sound Futures Ltd and was founder of the Swindon Music Co-operative) and the Co-op Enterprise Hub.

New Music Scholarship at Christ's Hospital

21 April 2014

Christ’s Hospital School has announced a new music scholarship in memory of Sir Colin Davis, who was a pupil at the school from 1939 to 1945.

Andrew Cleary, Director of Music at Christ’s Hospital said: 'Sir Colin Davis was a much respected and world-class musician. We are immensely proud that somebody who gave so much to music was a pupil here at Christ’s Hospital. Like so many Old Blues who have experienced a life-changing opportunity at the School, Colin Davis went on to inspire so many. We are honoured to be able to offer such a prestigious scholarship to inspire a young musician at the School and keep Sir Colin’s association with our School alive amongst our pupils.'

Christ’s Hospital’s scholarship programme recognises high achieving and outstanding individuals who excel in specific fields and who would benefit from financial assistance. Scholarships are awarded to pupils who are entering the School at Years 7, 9 and Sixth Form.

Discord at the NCO

17 April 2014

A group of people connected with the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain (NCO), calling themselves ‘concerned stakeholders’, have publically aired grievances against the charity’s board of trustees, and effectively called for a coup d’état, albeit one with the organisation’s founder at its helm.

The website, which is authored anonymously but publically supported by NCO founder Vivienne Price, accuses the trustees of secretly ‘implementing a programme of radical change’. Issues under discussion include the diminished managerial role of Price’s successor, principal director of music Roger Clarkson; the cost of appointing and employing the managing director Sarah Derbyshire; and plans to move the base of operations from Somerset to Birmingham.

A lengthy editorial on the website calls for the resignation of all trustees except Price, and for her to be allowed to form a new board. A petition has been launched to this effect.

Responding to the allegations and the petition, Derbyshire told MT: ‘The NCO is going through a period of change, ensuring that we are fit for purpose in a fast-moving world. I am deeply sorry that our founder, Vivienne Price, does not feel that she can support some of the major changes we are discussing and working on and I am particularly sorry for her personal upset. 

‘NCO values are, and always will be, at the heart of all that we do. We are passionate about offering the best experience we can to our children and have developed our musical opportunities to reach more children, such as increasing the numbers of orchestras. But this all takes time and money. We need to work to continue raising our profile and attracting funding to ensure that we can continue what we are doing now so successfully and to offer much more in the future.

‘One significant decision is the proposed move to Birmingham, the reasons for which are understood by the NCO’s largest funder, Arts Council England. This move will: position the NCO in a vibrant musical and cultural centre and raise the profile of the NCO as a national organisation; improve access and support collaborative work, thereby involving more families and more children; provide positive professional opportunities for our staff; offer the NCO the opportunity to work alongside major national music and arts organisations; enhance our ability to raise funds and to maintain our services in what is a very challenging time for charities; and enable us to share good practice with like-minded organisations and so build on our successes in providing talented young musicians with the best possible musical and social experience.

‘The implication on the OurNCO website that Roger Clarkson, principal director of music, is no longer in charge of the musical direction of the NCO is incorrect. Roger’s musical leadership is respected by the board.‘I truly hope that we can begin speaking with Vivienne’s representatives and those who have initiated this petition to try and resolve the situation as quickly and as smoothly as possible, moving forward and working together towards a common goal.’

Following our coverage of recent disputes regarding the management of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain (NCO) and the petition launched by the authors of the website, we have received statements from both ourNCO and the NCO board. The statements can be found here.

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