Risk to peripatetic teachers as music education hub funding not confirmed

  • Network of 121 music education hubs and jobs of 12,000 peripatetic music teachers at risk
  • Current funding settlement for music education hubs runs until 31 March 2020
  • The Incorporated Society of Musicians and the UK Association of Music Education – Music Mark join forces in calling for an continued funding to ensure music education hubs and the peripatetic workforce is not put at risk

Today the ISM and the UK Association of Music Education – Music Mark (the two subject associations for music) have called for the government to confirm continued funding of at least £100m per annum for music education hubs for the next five years.

Alongside this announcement, a letter signed by over 170 music education hubs, high profile artists such as Sir Simon Rattle, Alison Balsom OBE, Tasmin Little OBE, Dr Jeremy Huw Williams (ISM President 2019-20), and music organisations has been published in The Times.

The current funding settlement for music education hubs currently runs until 31 March 2020 and no further funding has been confirmed – putting thousands of peripatetic teachers at risk of losing their jobs as music education hubs face an uncertain future.

The call to confirm further funding comes as the Government increases employer contributions into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme to 23.6 per cent, effective from September 2019. While the pension contribution increase is vital in supporting the teaching workforce, it will also place a significant additional cost burden on music education hubs and result in increased prices for parents and children. Salaries for new, employed teachers are set to rise to £30,000 by 2022-23, under Government plans for the biggest reform to teachers’ pay in a generation. Therefore additional support from the government is needed to ensure the delivery of its aspirations for music education hubs.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said:

‘Without the Government’s continuous investment over the past seven years the work of the music education hubs to ensure more equitable opportunity would not have been possible. However it is vital there is no gap in funding whilst the Plan is being ‘refreshed’ and that the Government confirms its commitment to music education hubs from April 2020 as soon as possible. As it currently stands, peripatetic teachers – thousands of which the ISM represents – are at risk of redundancy as music education hubs are put at financial risk.

Music education in the classroom is already in crisis. Without this funding, this additional provision will also either be drastically cut or parents and schools will face the rising costs.’

Bridget Whyte, Chief Executive of Music Mark said:

‘While we are grateful for the Government’s investment over recent years into music education hubs, the current allocated funding is simply not enough to ensure the future of music education hubs and equitable access for all children to the opportunities within the National Plan for Music Education. Parents and schools cannot, and should not, be expected cover the increased shortfall. Therefore we call on the Government to maintain a realistic ongoing settlement for the delivery of its aspirations for music education hubs.’

Music education hubs were set up in 2012 as part of the National Plan for Music Education (published in 2011). Since the network of 121 music education hubs was established, more and more children and young people have gained access to musical learning opportunities beyond the national curriculum.

At present there is risk of a gap in funding for music education hubs while the refresh takes place.

The government has committed to a £7.1 billion increase in funding for schools by 2022-23 (£4.6 billion above inflation), compared to 2019-20 funding levels. Ahead of that the schools budget will rise by £2.6 billion in 2020-21 and £4.8 billion in 2021-22, compared to 2019-20 funding levels. It has not been announced how this money will be allocated.

About the National Plan for Music Education

The report Music Education in England, otherwise known as the ‘Henley Review’, was published in 2011. The Henley Review set out recommendations for the minimum expectations of what any child going through the English school system should receive in terms of music education. It highlighted high quality and sustained music education within the school curriculum as the cornerstone of every child’s music education.

The National Plan for Music Education was born out of the review and is based on its recommendations. The Plan is an ambitious, aspirational document which sets out clear objectives with regards to delivery, access, progression and excellence in the music education sector. The Plan was launched in 2012 and continues to 2020. The Plan’s main aim was to ensure that access to music education was not impacted by a postcode lottery. The vision was to ensure that opportunities were equal and available and notably, the Plan noted that the first opportunity many pupils will have to study music will be at school and that this foundation should be nurtured to provide broader opportunities and progression routes.

About Music Education Hubs

Music education hubs were set up in 2012 as part of the National Plan for Music Education, and they built on the work of local authority music services. Music education hubs comprise groups of organisations – such as local authority music services, schools, other music education hubs, arts organisations, community and voluntary organisations.

Music education hubs were designed to augment and support music teaching in schools (a guaranteed statutory requirement to the end of Key Stage 3) so that more children could experience a combination of classroom teaching, instrumental and vocal tuition and input from professional musicians, as set out by the Plan. The structure of the various organisations also meant that music education hubs would be able to deliver a music offer that drew on a wide range of expertise. The Plan stated that the Hubs in ‘every area will help drive the quality of service locally, with scope for improved partnership working, better value for money, local innovation and greater accountability’.

Music education hubs were also promoted as having an important role in ‘first access’ to music through continuing to develop the whole-class instrumental and vocal programme for a minimum of a term in primary schools, as well as providing broader opportunities and progression routes inside and outside the classroom. The idea was that class teachers and specialist instrumental teachers working together could maximise opportunities for musical progression and provide for different needs and aspirations of pupils beyond the music curriculum.

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

We support almost 10,000 musicians across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.

About Music Mark

Music Mark is a membership organisation and subject association for music. On behalf of its members and the wider sector, Music Mark lobbies for, and champions, a government supported, high quality, music education provision for all school aged children and young people which addresses diversity, equity and inclusion at its core.