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Hubs showing some 'shameful' employment practice, says MU

22 October 2012

Diane Widdison, the Musicians' Union's national organiser for teaching, has said that some 'shameful' employment practice is going on in England's new music education hubs.

The remarks were made at the opening of the union's third biennial teachers' conference. Widdison said that there were 'pockets of good practice' in the hubs, but that many were showing a 'real desire to erode teachers' terms and conditions'. She added that the MU plans to recruit a network of union representatives in all the hubs in order to ensure that teachers are supported and their concerns are heard.

The MU teachers' conference took place in Cambridge, with an opening address given by Paul Harris, the well-known music educator and writer. Harris explored the theme of what makes a 'virtuoso teacher' before answering questions from the floor, many of which concerned ways to handle pressure from employers and pupils' parents to put pupils in for inappropriate exams. Other sessions were led by Lincoln Abbotts, ABRSM's director of teacher support; Christopher Gray, programme leader of Aberdeen University's music and communities degree course; and Richard Crozier, former head of professional development with ABRSM.

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