The panel was particularly impressed with the way in which Barking
and Dagenham offers such an enormous variety and quality of exciting
programmes. It is true that they are located in an area which is
currently the subject of much attention; but there can be few Authorities
that have made such outstanding use of the resources available
to them. They have established and progressed partnerships with
the London Symphony Orchestra, the Barbican and with ten other
music services from the London Olympic boroughs. They have a number
of initiatives with Sing Up, Youth Music and Rock School. The extensive
classroom offering from the Music Service is particularly strong
in the area of transition from primary to secondary, with a number
of imaginative programmes such as providing playing days for Year
6 pupils, a buddying system allowing older pupils to offer support
to Year 7 pupils, much contact with Year 6 parents and other initiatives
designed to support Year 6 pupils into secondary. Arguably musical
students will feel more ready to go to secondary school than many
of their counterparts who do not perform! This is clearly an Authority
where the importance of the Wider Opportunities scheme has really
The relationship with the LSO has enabled Barking and Dagenham
significantly to strengthen its gifted and talented programme.
Talented music students are fortunate enough to be able attend
Master Classes with LSO players and numerous workshops and other
classes. The Music Service offered no fewer than 41 CPD sessions
during the year, including Sibelius workshops, whole-class teaching,
Rock School examinations, partnership working, Sing Up workshops,
and much more. They are an Authority that has become very strong
in almost every area.
Shining through the application from Blackpool was the incredible enthusiasm of
its relatively small Music Service. This is the 12th most deprived authority in
the UK, the most deprived outside London, and as such some of the statistics are
quite remarkable: parental contributions to instrumental lessons have increased
by 12%, indicating a significant increase in demand in spite of the recession;
there has been an increase of some 15% in attendance at events; demand for musical
services from primary schools increased by an average of some 20%; GSCE music candidates
increased by 30% with the number of A*-C results increasing by 17%; all schools
have a choir; more than 64% of pupils continue with music in some form into secondary.
But beyond these numbers is a range of creative programmes designed to enthuse
and excite, including a significant staged performance on average every three weeks.
Blackpool has a particularly strong focus on looking after SEN pupils. It is a
remarkable fact that 25% of their Schools Orchestra have SEN; and in some cases
the number of SEN pupils in schools choirs exceeds 60%. To quote from their submission: “the
positive impact this vocal provision has on the pupil’s social, language
and academic skills is extensive and often applauded by Headteachers within Blackpool”.
An exemplary use of music for the wider good.
What stood out from the submission by East Lothian was the incredible range of
programmes and opportunities provided for pupils, so many that it is difficult
to scratch the surface in this limited space. There is a funded team of 10 primary
music specialists who provide music lessons to all primary schools in the county.
2000 primary pupils undertook lessons in guitar. 1000 pupils received drumming
lessons. 390 schools had the opportunity to participate in a Fischy music project.
A large number of primary secondary schools participated in outreach and creative
music projects across the Authority. A digital and podcast project moved from an
after school club to the school timetable proper in two secondary schools. The
Arts Service offered workshops in everything from Taiko drumming to radiophonics.
It’s an incredible story they tell, reflecting the fact that the Council
provides a full package of support to both primary and secondary music, with not
a cut in sight!
East Lothian’s was one of the strongest submissions the panel saw in terms
of technology. All secondary schools have recording studios and relevant software
and a number of their projects have featured electronic instruments and equipment.
If you are a young musical technophile, move to East Lothian! Another strong area
for this very strong Authority was the range and quality of relationships with
local community groups, individual musicians and artists, and funders such as YMI
and Youth Music. This was a strong all-rounder, with many outstanding features
but one of the most extensive set of programmes we’ve ever seen.
Enfield is a borough with a very high percentage of children on free school meals,
a very high proportion of children for whom English is not their first language,
and a very high percentage of children in its population. Against this background,
the Authority has done a brilliant job of marshalling its resources to provide
a particularly strong all-round performance, whether it be in instrumental provision,
classroom teaching or in support for transition from primary to secondary. 48 primary
and special schools across the borough took part in 15 music festivals across the
borough, with around 2000 pupils participating: an increase of 43% on the previous
year. Over 13,000 young people and adults receive weekly tuition: an increase of
70% over 2008/9, and 26,100 people participated in live music performances and
events: an increase of 14%.
Enfield are especially strong in what might be seen as the dry subject of evaluation;
but of course unless you can work out what you have done well it is difficult to
see where you should continue to devote resources, and we found the methodology
and practice of their evaluation procedures to be exemplary. Not only do they survey
their pupils, parents and schools regularly, but they also seek anecdotal and face
to face feedback at parents’ evenings, projects, rehearsals and workshops.
This feedback is analysed and assessed before identifying new projects and programmes.
Underpinning all this is the strongest CPD programme of any submission; interesting
as this area had been given strong attention after the 2009 Federation of Music
Services evaluation programme. 72% of all of their instrumental and other staff
attended CPD events during the year, and the range and scope of such provision
was very wide indeed. Enfield is an Authority that is doing very well in music
Hampshire is a county with a big reputation to live up to in music education.
It has been a consistently strong performer for many years, and this year proved
to be no exception. Although relatively well resourced and with a number of demographic
advantages it is clear that it does not rest on its well-deserved laurels, and
is constantly striving to improve its provision and the access to its services,
as seen by a major emphasis on self-evaluation during 2009. Especially pleasing
in this year’s submission was to see a renewed emphasis on priority groups
such as looked-after children, with the Music Service even starting their own version
of the In Harmony project. Curriculum support at primary level remains free to
all schools, and a wide range of other programmes are available for purchase,
including gamelan, samba and West African drumming, which has led to the involvement
of over 5,000 children and 500 teachers.
In our opinion, Hampshire has the strongest provision for gifted and talented
of any of our winners, including awards for composition students, the now famous
Hampshire Award programme which has enabled the creation of a number of new ensembles
and an Ambassadors programme. Their county youth orchestra is of an incredible
Finally we should mention the Schools Prom event in November 2009. Hampshire provided
a choir of 800 pupils from Year 4 to Year 13 to perform a piece they had commissioned
from Stephen McNeff. This piece also featured a group of advanced instrumentalists,
a performance from the County Youth Choir, and drama and dance to boot. This major
challenge was risen to in splendid fashion, providing a fitting centrepiece to
an excellent year for Hampshire.