There are undoubtedly inequities in the central funding of LEAs. This characteristic of the Revenue Support Grant system has proved to be insoluble. Inevitably, some LEAs "do better" than others. Hertfordshire are one such, it is alleged. There are many others. Yet over several years Hertfordshire have distinguished themselves by upholding their commitment to a high quality music service. This report cannot do justice to their achievements. The Music Service took the lead within the LEA for an authority-wide strategy for the arts in education. In collaboration with the then Eastern Arts Board, an Arts in Education officer was appointed; and subsequently a dance adviser, who is working jointly with the Music Service. A new investment in world musics has been made: additional sets of steel pans have been purchased; a samba festival was held in St Albans; in Hitchin, jointly with the Asian Cultural Centre, pupils were introduced to the traditions and conventions of Asian music; the gamelan continued to be popular - indeed there are now two regular weekly groups, one adult and one which includes a high percentage of children educated otherwise than at school.

Further broadening of the music genres on offer, particularly to increase access and ensure greater inclusiveness, took the form of workshops on rock music, keyboards, guitar and drums.

In a collaboration with the youth service, district councils, the Royal Philharmonic and the Eastern Orchestral Board, an innovative project ("On the Edge") was delivered across the County: young people from different social backgrounds worked with club musicians and classical musicians in a creative project involving performances of their work and culminating in the premiere of a new piece performed by the entire RPO in concert at Hemel Hempstead. The project was professionally evaluated and disseminated in the County and nationally via identification as an example of best practice in Qualification and Curriculum Authority's From Policy to Partnership. An ongoing course in music technology was established in conjunction with the University of Hertfordshire, and this enabled the Authority's teachers to upgrade their ICT skills and receive post-graduate certificates in music technology. A part-time consultant for music technology was also appointed.

Hertfordshire is one of several LEAs to have established a music therapy service. This one was a pilot, which ran until August 2000 and was evaluated externally.

The Service's strategy of encouraging the development of minority instruments was strengthened.

Additional support was provided for SEN pupils and, recognising that the LEA still had room for improvement in this regard, a range of new initiatives was launched to promote the involvement of pupils and students with disabilities in music making.

The submission revealed a considerable number of examples of joint working with several other LEAs and of the involvement of professional musicians in schools.

And finally, we note something which we would very much like to see replicated throughout the country, viz that one of the ways in which Hertfordshire continued to promote the importance of music as an integral part of the National Curriculum was to include music and the arts in the LEA's statutory Educational Development Plan.


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