(Supported by the Department for Education and Skills)

Blackburn with Darwen
East Renfrewshire
Highland Council
North Ayrshire
North Lincolnshire
West Sussex
City of York

Barking & Dagenham
Gwynedd and Ynys Mon
North Lanarkshire


Blackburn with Darwen Music Service is one of the youngest music services to have participated in this scheme. Set up in September 1999, the Service is already making its mark with rapid growth in the volume of peripatetic tuition and imaginative interventions jointly with the youth service, targeting disaffection and social exclusion. A Music Service to watch..

In the 1970s and 80s, Croydon picked up three major awards and four diplomas. In the intervening years, they have been more self-effacing! So we were delighted to receive a submission which reveals a Service on track once again to achieving national recognition..

East Renfrewshire were responsible for an interesting 'Music and the Nursery' initiative which provided instrumental staff with new skills for working with very young children, nursery staff with the confidence to use music on a daily basis and ten senior pupils with opportunity to perform with staff under the direction of a professional conductor..

Essex have established a music school standards fund for their 26 music schools, which will enable them purchase equipment to improve or facilitate provision and to encourage and pilot new ideas. We have been impressed by a successful pilot of music technology classes at a junior music school which is based in a village school. Tailored to meet the needs of Key Stage 2 pupils, the fund's investment also paid for the employment of a music technology specialist..

The Highland Council while continuing their praiseworthy commitment to community and traditional music through the medium of community radio, facilitated an impressively high number of ensemble playing activities.

There aren't many music genres not provided for by Luton, though we would have welcomed a fuller description.

To their great credit, North Ayrshire make no charges for tuition or the loan of instruments. The instrumental service, which was responsible for a variety of classical, operatic, rock and traditional music initiatives throughout the year also contrived to bring together in Mallorca a symphony orchestra comprising young musicians from Sweden, Spain and North Ayrshire!

Publication of a range of valuable teacher guides and a successful introduction to musics of other cultures, directed by Scott Stroman, for both primary and secondary levels were among the highlights of North Lincolnshire's year.

A privately funded 'Music Zone' with additional financial support from Youth Music and Space for Sport and the Arts has given Plymouth LEA an invaluable kick-start of out-of-school provision for when the LEA launches a new music service in April 2003.

String musicians

Renfrewshire were responsible for a good range of new initiatives during the year, including what must have been a challenging four-day music residential course at two locations, involving 150 primary school pupils.

Southend Music Services, which were also formed in 1999 have improved the conditions of service for their instrumental teachers. Much has been achieved in the Services' short life and we look forward to learning more of their INSET provision and ensemble performance opportunities in future submissions.

Stirling Council's Children's Services made a praiseworthy commitment to provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEN), yet their submission was outstanding for its investment in a three-year music development project ('Sound Tracks') with two broad strands - New & Contemporary Music and Traditional & Indigenous Music. The first year is now completed and there is evidence that in accordance with its main aims, the project is indeed promoting, improving and developing young people's confidence, self esteem, social skills, group interaction and organisational skills. The breadth of musical experiences involved was remarkable and we look forward with some excitement to the Service's final evaluation of the project.

Trafford's submission was succinct, though we were interested to learn that an INSET day for all phases and for governors was devoted to addressing issues around the Islamic faith and music.

Of many features in the West Sussex Music Support Service's impressive submission, we single out four for attention. First, an investment of £100,000 for the purchase of instruments for pupils, with priority given to families who would otherwise be unable to afford to buy or hire an instrument commercially. Secondly, the service development plan which included positive measures to encourage pupils to learn "minority" instruments. Thirdly, one of the most impressive demonstrations of what can be achieved when an LEA's music and youth services together with district councils work collaboratively. And finally, we are grateful to the Service for sharing their development plan with us. This was a challenging document, which pulled very few punches. We would only comment that while real progress was being made on the world musics front, there was scope for more schools activity (beyond the commendable 'Rhythmix' project) in jazz and popular music styles.

We are delighted to be able to conclude our honourable mentions with the submission from another Service to watch. This one is the City of York Arts Service whose

  • INSET provision was thorough and broad based with additional input from a range of external providers;
  • professional musician involvement was generous and multi-genre;
  • special needs provision was exemplary; and
  • whose performance opportunities for pupils were plentiful.

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