Aberdeen have been responsible for a number exciting initiatives which came into being too late to be taken into account for this year's awards. They have, however, been responsible for other initiatives that have done much to enrich the musical life of pupils in the area. Notable among these was a week-long visit by Tommy Smith, the international tenor and soprano sax star with members of the Scottish Jazz Orchestra. Workshops were held with pupils in several schools and they led an INSET day for the City's team of instrumental instructors.

Buckinghamshire, too, did much to enrich their programme of work with a substantial number of new initiatives, a very commendable range of INSET provision, a high level of involvement of professional musicians in schools and joint work with other LEAs and district councils in the County.

A somewhat elliptical entry from Cambridgeshire was distinguished by news of a promising new rock, pop and club music initiative which includes the development of NVQs for excluded pupils in DJing and training in rural promotions.

We were delighted to receive evidence that the successful joint working of the Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion LEAs has been maintained with the result that this part of the Principality is blessed with first rate provision; furthermore, the two LEAs have adopted action plans which will include expenditure of £600,000 in future years to improve the quality and quantity of centrally-held instruments.

Cornwall have clearly consolidated the resurgence in music which we recognised in 1998. We wonder if now might be the time to begin to draw on the County's rich cultural roots, about which we have read little; after all there is only one Cornwall!

East Renfrewshire, one of the smaller authorities to submit this year, highlighted a particularly imaginative staff development project for those involved in the delivery of the curriculum for the very early years: "Rumble in the Jungle" was a cross curricular initiative taking the form of a musical and including the assignment of a musician from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to each nursery school. Early evaluation suggests this was a thoroughly successful INSET project.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Schools Music Service exploits to good effect its links with the Early Music and Folk Festivals within its area, and continued to develop its praiseworthy programme involving Opera North working in special schools with a range of pupils with moderate and severe learning difficulties.

Essex's Vocal and Choral Initiative, including the appointment of an animateur and direct input into schools, has been responsible for some interesting developments, including the study of Baroque and Renaissance works in secondary schools. The Music Service has also formed two new string orchestras and re-launched the Percussion Academy with £20,000 worth of new instruments; indeed there was a much needed expansion of the instrumental hire scheme.

We were heartened to receive a submission from Newcastle upon Tyne, the first for many years, and hope that with the help of a large injection of Standards Fund moneys the LEA will restore its support for music, for example to the high quality level we applauded in 1988.

Newham's Music Trust was responsible for the organisation of an exciting research project. Sponsored by Tate and Lyle, it involved an investigation into the effects of a short music activity every day for pupils in seven schools in years one and two (the National Music Council's website "MusicEd" will be featuring this project).

Given their astonishing run of success in the NMC's Local Authority section of this awards scheme, we were not surprised to receive a high quality entry from North Lanarkshire qua education authority. Indeed, it identified a series of ambitious plans for all pupils with interest and commitment to become involved in school/area music groups and ultimately authority-wide groups.

The all-round quality of the North Somerset Music Service's provision shown in their submission was such that we feel the time is ripe for a touch more adventure!

Southend-on-Sea's Music Service has only existed since September 1999 and clearly has much work to do; but we were impressed by the remarkably diverse range of workshops conducted by professional musicians: they included African drumming, Cuban music, early music, folk, Japanese percussion, harp and tuba.

Stirling one of the smallest authorities participating this year, embarked on several praiseworthy youth and community education projects. Organisation of many of the courses and workshops is based on the principle that young people should be allowed to engage in the arts and cultural activity in a way that is meaningful to them and their lifestyles.

Wandsworth increased by 100% the number of visiting music teachers supporting music. They also opened a second centre for young musicians and increased their level of support for the London-wide Centre for Young Musicians at Morley College. It seems to us that year on year this Authority's provision is improving both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Renfrewshire's Schools First Concert Band and Schools Percussion Ensemble won several awards for the quality of their performances.

Worcestershire, together with many other LEAs, benefited from the larger Standards Fund. They invested in a new Centre for Arts Education, which now provides a permanent 'home' for the instrumental music service and the arts education service. The year also saw a series of exciting new early years' music developments, expansion of support for new technology, publication of new materials to encourage the understanding and performance of world musics, fruitful collaborations with other LEAs and the introduction of programmes of music therapy in three special schools.


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