LEA Awards 2007 title

(In association with the Music Education Council,
the PRS Foundation and Jazz Services)



One very good reason why the work of Blackpool’s music service so effectively supports curriculum delivery is that 90 per cent of the peripatetic staff have classroom teaching qualifications. So, in addition to support for music-making, reviewing of schemes of work, support for non-specialists, NQTs and teaching assistants helping to monitor, assess and report on pupils’ progress and being available by telephone at all times (sic), that could be said to account for why all the authority’s schools now use the music service! 58 per cent of schools were involved in WCIVT provision and all the indications were that that proportion would rise to beyond the initial period with brass and guitar tuition (violins were less popular). Transition from year six to seven was facilitated by continuation of the policy of offering all pupils a new instrument on starting high school and development of an authority-wide programme identifying secondary school destinations.

There were weekly rehearsals for 24 wind bands, six orchestras, 30 choirs, 20 pop groups, one staff choir, one SEN brass band and 33 “show companies”. Apart from members of the show companies 20 per cent of the school population rehearse in an ensemble training week. Collaborative and partnership working with six other LEA music services and over 20 arts and community organisations and professional ensembles was a praiseworthy feature of the year.

East Ayrshire were the lead authority in a consortium of education authorities across central Scotland working with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to introduce key repertoire to secondary school students. Teacher CPD was a part of the YMI funded programme. With NESTA funds interesting and potentially valuable action research was conducted across eight special schools to investigate new musical instrument development and implement a range of activities related to music, movement, sensory awareness and general health. A cultural exchange with schools in Northern Ireland with a singing and traditional music focus was particularly successful as was an early years interactive musical adventure with Scottish Opera: “Big Hairy Hamish, the monster who cared” raised important environmental issues such as re-cycling and healthy eating and involved 388 pupils both as contributors and performers.

Lower string tuition, having been identified as a gap in provision, was significantly increased, leading to more pupils joining school string and symphony orchestras as well as other authority-wide ensembles.

Collaborations and partnerships with an incredibly wide of music, arts and public bodies was once again an outstanding feature of the East Ayrshire music education scene as was the INSET and CPD provision. Finally, we again commend the authority for maintaining their policy of not charging for tuition or instrument hire and providing free transport to rehearsals and concerts.

Given their generous funding of arts organisations, especially those concerned with music, Edinburgh must have one of the strongest cases for the title of arts capital of the UK. That same spirit of generosity clearly influenced the policy of not charging for tuition or participation in bands or ensembles of any description. The appointment
of five part-time neighbourhood music co-ordinators was responsible for improved development of opportunities for instrumentalists who were not yet part of City-wide bands or ensembles and for instrument specific training. As well as an already commendably broad INSET programme, the service had introduced a pilot professional review and development programme for instrumental staff with an accompanying CPD framework. A successful evaluation indicated significant and beneficial outcomes for all aspects of the service.

Whilst it would be almost reprehensible if the authority did not fully exploit its favoured position, we could not but be impressed by the range of scope of the involvement with professional practitioners within all the expressive arts. And we join with Jazz Services in applauding the £33k contributed to the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival and related education events.

The North Lanarkshire initiatives we commended in our last report were sustained and indeed developed over the year; and it almost goes without saying that the authority’s commitment to meeting the INSET needs of their staff and to substantial delivery of rock and traditional music education was in no way diminished either. We were impressed by a “Music for All” project which was accessed by seven special schools. The courses enabled young people to experience and learn basic music concepts, to use music technology and how to explore rock and pop. Collaborations and partnerships with the RSNO, RSAMD, and Scottish Opera among several others enriched much of provision throughout the authority. North Lanarkshire’s policy of funding music education to the tune of £1.3m represents a first class example of Scottish authorities’ commitment and a powerful reason why over 19 per cent of the school population were involved in weekly music activities provided by the music service.

Oxfordshire strengthened the student voice on the music service’s governing body and extended the authority’s music education group to embrace over 30 local musicians and organisations committed to sharing resources and using them more efficiently to reach more young people. The low percentage of schools involved in WCIVT was being addressed directly with primary heads and through increased funding and INSET. A range of measures ensured that parents were involved in and informed of the tuition process. Attendance at five INSET days continued to be the minimum contractual obligation. A senior manager had designated responsibility for CPD.

The range and scope of opportunities for regular ensemble performance across a wide spread of genres, and encompassing the full range of abilities, with due regard to the importance of progression, continued to be an outstanding feature of music education in the county. The music service continued to build on its good record of meeting the needs of pupils with SEN. Exceptionally, that provision was also being developed in the “gifted and talented” context.

Southwark made a massive investment in the development of the WCIVT programme. Thus 72 per cent of eligible schools were involved; and 75 per cent of pupils continued beyond the initial programme. Over 60 per cent of Southwark’s pupils were from African or African-Caribbean heritage. On offer was singing from pupils’ own cultures whether African, Caribbean, South American, European, Irish or Asian; African drumming, a jazz programme, and, as a pilot for one term, ocarinas for folk music and samba. There were innumerable music technology developments over the year, much of which was designed to support the WCIVT programmes. INSET provision was similarly favoured.

The authority’s proximity to major conservatoires and orchestras and top performing arts organisations continued to be fully exploited; and staffing levels in secondary schools, music centres and for WCIVT increased over the year.

We were delighted to welcome back Warwickshire after an absence of nearly ten years when they were awarded the major trophy. They were yet another authority to reorganise their music service with a radically different staffing and management structure resulting in new area music education teams designed to ensure by a major shift of funding to less advantaged areas that the whole county had equal access to music education. At the last reckoning, music service provision reached over one third of the school population. One of the first of the county services to be awarded Investors in People status, the county music service (CMS) attributed its success to the quality and effectiveness of its staff, all of whom participated in regular self-evaluation and SWOT analyses. So, what stands out in this submission? For the Panel the following:

  • in the course of 2008 all primary schools will have ongoing WCIVT as part of their normal CMS provision and without charge;
  • dedicated staff to ensure expansion of contemporary and popular music and music technology;
  • successful expansion of choral initiatives and chamber music festivals;
  • live music performances, all genres, by professional musicians in all schools on at least one occasion in the year;
  • developed intercultural/world musics work as a regular and integral part of CMS provision and as part of curriculum studies;
  • INSET similarly integrated with curriculum training;
  • Music education funding for all eight county nursery schools;
  • An exceptionally high commitment to provision for pupils with SEN and/or disability, and an expansion of music therapy;
  • Expansion of provision for adults.

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