(Supported by the Department for Education and Skills)



Highland Council
Kingston upon Hull
North Lincolnshire
North Lanarkshire
Waltham Forest

Barking & Dagenham
Gwynedd and Ynys Mon
Milton Keynes

Brighton and Hove

There was a commendable unity about provision in Barking & Dagenham, an area of economic disadvantage and one with the highest school population relative to total population of all the LEAs participating this year. The Community Music Service (CMS) not only maintained the ten-year old policy of free individual and group instrumental tuition, free loan of instruments and opportunities to play in CMS ensembles, but also took steps to ensure that that policy had influence in those schools which historically had not taken-up provision. In consequence, 200 additional pupils benefited during the year. Following consultation with all the LEA's head teachers a detailed expansion strategy was also embarked upon, the fruits of which will be harvested in the course of 2001/02. A range of new activities, projects and structures was introduced to support pupils' musicianship, including

  • INSET for improvisation skills;
  • residencies and workshops for world musics;
  • London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) Discovery Projects at Key Stage 1 (in which 1200 Reception and year 1 pupils participated) together with many other activities in partnership with the LSO;
  • the promotion of singing across the Borough, and an interesting continuity and progression initiative to support pupils learning to play an instrument and to stem the high drop-out rate at the secondary transition phase. A data base established to track pupils more effectively was an important ingredient in that endeavour.


In the course of the year, the Camden Music Service

  • introduced an instrumental bursary scheme;
  • expanded Saturday Music Centre provision with a third centre specializing in all popular music styles to complement the existing classical and jazz centres;
  • doubled the number of Borough ensembles with an emphasis on the beginner and intermediate levels.

We were also impressed by the range and scope of the LEA's INSET programmes and the level of involvement of professional musicians, which, unusually, was especially strong in world musics - the polar regions being the only major area not covered! That was reflected in a fascinating project which we would like to see replicated in other LEAs with an ethnically diverse population: the World Song Project encourages children and their families to share songs, dance and other music with the wider community. Parents and grandparents are invited to informal drop-in sessions, leading to the eventual recording of the resulting materials. As a result of the project, families from minority groups see that schools value the contribution they bring to the community. Schools in the Borough are building up a library of material, thereby enriching and extending the range of vocal repertoire available to all. Selected materials are to be published as a Borough resource.


Dudley are another LEA with a very large school population (15 per cent of the total). Over the years, the Music Service has made submissions which demonstrate an all round consistency of commitment to music education. Last year was no exception. Thus a substantial investment in INSET was made; collaborative work was undertaken with six other LEAs and an unusually large and varied collection of agencies and organizations, including canal trusts, an area health authority (on a drug awareness project), British Waterways, building societies ( in connection with Young Musician of the Year events) and joint activities with several charities.

Furthermore, the range and scope of the involvement of professional musicians was increased and a commendably large number of group instrumental performance opportunities was provided through seven brass bands, seven wind bands, two orchestras, six string orchestras, one string chamber orchestra, one big band, four choirs, several rock and jazz bands and guitar, clarsach and keyboard ensembles. We were impressed too by a cross-curricular Live Music in Schools programme (of which ICT was an integral part), which embraced art, science and history. A rock competition for school bands ('Rock the Castle') led to a year long programme of gigs in local venues for the participants. It was also noteworthy that not only did every school receive instrumental tuition, every mainstream school was also involved in a Music Service project during the year.


For Gwynedd and Ynys Mon the foot and mouth epidemic had damaging effects on the last two months of the year. Yet the year was memorable for happier reasons. A full-time music adviser was appointed mid-way through the year. Both LEAs signed-up to a strategy aptly entitled "Enriching Experiences"; indeed the submission brims over with examples. We highlight just two. "The Bridge" was designed by the Adviser and developed by composer Bill Connor. It involved three schools from each LEA (primary, secondary and special) exploring improvisatory creative techniques based on the theme of bridging, including, naturally, the Menai Strait Bridge. Bill Connor was then commissioned to write a new piece for the Welsh Chamber Orchestra (WCO) which drew upon the work in the classrooms and incorporated defined sections to be played simultaneously by the pupils and professional musicians. During the final stages, members of the WCO visited all the schools to refine their contributions and to raise awareness of instrumental techniques. This was combined with a wide range of classical and popular repertoire concerts and educational activities for the participating and other schools in the area and a highly successful public performance of the new work, "Y Bont".

In previous reports we have referred to our belief that there are rich veins of local/regional culture and heritage to be quarried through music education. We were delighted therefore to learn that these two LEAs shared that perception and commissioned a new association, Truc, whose aim is to preserve, illuminate and advance traditional Welsh instrumental music and Welsh culture, to undertake a series of visits to schools to provide live experience of traditional music and instruments and to involve young players in workshop activities. The schools' responses testified both to the high quality of those experiences and to the need to expand such provision. And, finally, 'pour encourager les autres', we are pleased to receive evidence of both Authorities planning to expand provision for adults and, through the youth services, young people.


It is many years since we last heard from Hampshire, so it was with pleasure that we received the new Music Service's (HMS) first submission since it was formed from the previously separate strands of instrumental teaching, music ensembles and curriculum inspection and advice. The HMS base was flooded and permanently closed mid-year. That major disruption notwithstanding, the Service adopted its first strategic plan in October with short and long-term targets for pupils, schools and communities. Early in the year, three Millennium targets were reached with 2000 performances by school, college, area, county and community ensembles; the acquisition of 2000 instruments for use by pupils in schools and the bringing together of 2000 people in a single musical performance. Over two years, £140,000 was raised through sponsorship, donations and fundraising events to support those activities. And, most importantly, there are now more permanent gains to be celebrated with all those new instruments, including many new "minority" instruments on free loan to pupils, ensembles and schools, often in areas of social disadvantage, with free teaching and support through local musician residencies.

Significant local/national events such as the Civil War battle of Alton, the raising of the Mary Rose and the more recent fight for Twyford Down were the main elements in major commissions from the local composer Martin Read. Those started life as ideas from pupils formed during the development of a model of good practice for schools to adopt for their own composers-in-residence.

A generous Standards Fund grant with matched LEA funding facilitated the continued development of previous projects with a host of additional features, such as 'Singing Schools', 'Recorder Extravaganzas' involving professional players, expanded youth jazz opportunities, world musics (including a weekend festival), a rock and pop instrument pool, and local web-site development for curriculum guidance for class and instrumental teachers. Outstandingly good INSET, work with professional musicians, performance opportunities and collaboration with other LEAs rounded-off a memorable year for Hampshire.


The Milton Keynes Music Service too can fairly claim achievements in those areas, which, of course, we are pleased to recognise. We concentrate, however, on the provision made by the Service for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities because it represents an exemplary demonstration of what can be achieved by the employment of a dedicated co-ordinator, albeit for no more than one day per week.

Provision for pupils in the six special schools took various forms: a music service teacher and local composer taught composition using computer software; two tutors from the Drake Music Project worked with ten pupils through half-day workshops using switches, Soundbeam and other accessible technology; a music service teacher and local community folk band delivered a four-week project to 40 year six and seven pupils in singing, rhythm work, dance, and movement and performance using tuned percussion and instruments the children could make themselves - this project also included discussion relating to the history of music and its possible origins in nature; two music service teachers worked with 35 pupils on a composition/performance project looking at songs and sounds related to machines (curriculum area chosen by the school) and members of the folk band worked alongside music service teachers to deliver a four week project for 21 year seven and eight pupils with learning difficulties.

The second strand concentrated on projects for pupils in special needs units in mainstream schools. That involved: the use of Soundbeam, switches and echo mirrors; the Drake Music Project working with pupils with physical disabilities who learnt about story-telling through music and the use of sound to create mood and character; and music service staff, school teachers and local musicians working with 60 pupils with learning difficulties on sound, rhythm and movement.
The Special Needs Co-ordinator attended meetings of the Milton Keynes Music Education Forum, thereby ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities or special needs were considered in all music education activities.


Southampton's first three-year development plan was completed by the end of the year. Very much about affirming and extending entitlement and enrichment as much as aspiring to excellence, the Music Service, jointly with Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight launched their Solent Music Project investing in:

  • world music resources, developing curriculum guidelines and promoting a programme of INSET through working with and observing visiting specialists;
  • community workshops for parents and governors and differentiated training for teachers to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.

Also as part of the Development Plan, in the special needs area, we noted several interesting projects, including a special schools brass strand (which led to the formation of a special schools brass band - possibly the first of its kind in the country). Equally, if not more, remarkable at one of the Authority's special schools, 50 per cent of the pupils learn to play a brass instrument. We were also particularly pleased to see provision being made for children, so often overlooked, in the City's hospital school.

In three years, there has been a 64 per cent increase in the number of pupils learning to play an instrument. To cope with that growth, it was necessary for Southampton to purchase 430 new instruments reflecting a judicious mix of world and western classical 'minority' instruments - and the Service maintained its policy of not charging for their use. All schools used their delegated funds to subsidise tuition and in over 50 per cent of cases tuition was provided free of charge. Moreover, the schools bought £100,000 worth of tuition more than the sum delegated by the LEA, with the result that there was opportunity for any interested primary school child to learn to play an instrument.


Surrey Youth Music and Performing Arts (SYMPA), an integral part of the County Arts Unit, contributed to the LEA's expansion of their visual arts, dance and drama provision. That expansion created even more demanding workloads for staff trying to deliver programmes broadening music and opportunities designed to engage disaffected and disadvantaged young people. One of the most successful examples of that was provided by the Rhythmix project, a Standards Fund collaboration with Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and Medway, involving live music-making for young people not previously involved in music service activities, through World musics, pop, DJ music technology, steel pan, gospel and jazz. SYMPA continued to deliver "Menuhin's Children", a long-running project to provide disadvantaged children with the experience of learning the violin (coloured violins helped to give the participants street cred!). A potentially useful initiative introduced in the year, called "Download", enabled specially-prepared music to be emailed direct to schools together with supporting text, lyrics and guidance notes for teaching staff. Also available was up-to-date expert advice on a range of topics. And schools were able to ask for a backing track for a hymn or song for assembly or classroom use.

The "Upbeat" project was located in a purpose-built performing arts centre with the needs of special school pupils in mind. Twenty schools and units signed up for workshop classes for recorder players, dance, music-drama and song composing sessions with Richard Stilgoe. Primary school festivals continued to enthuse pupils and parents. And at a more senior level, a new community-based project brought pupils, parents, amateurs and semi-professional musicians together to play one of Mahler's ten symphonies each year for the next ten years.

We hope the next submission from Surrey will tell us more about their INSET provision, without which it will be difficult to sustain the many ambitious programmes embarked upon.

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