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Bridget’s Blog: Welcome back for a new academic year

4th September 2023

CEO of Music Mark, Bridget Whyte

Well, it’s been an interesting Summer, hasn’t it?  The weather hasn’t quite been, well, ‘summer’ and for many of us it’s been a mix of leave to recharge as well as business as usual with plenty to keep us busy.  Every year I collect up a long list of things to do over the summer whilst it’s ‘quiet’, but at the point where I turn the calendar over to September I am always a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t tick everything off.

I love that there are potentially three points in the year when we can start again – Calendar, Financial and Academic – so as we do turn over the page into September, we have an opportunity to start afresh.  With shiny new shoes, fresh notebook and perhaps even a new pencil case, we can hopefully come at 2023/24 with new energy.  So Happy New Year and welcome back!

In England we can add a new National Plan for Music Education to our list – published last year but only now being implemented.  Whilst the plan itself is exciting and provides potential to develop new connections and programmes of activity, of course I am fully aware of the administrative and management pressures it is putting on colleagues across the current Music Education Hub network.  Remember there is support not only as we start this new year, but also in helping with discussions about the future Music Hub network.

Part of our role as a UK-wide organisation is to support our members and wider sector with training, events, and resources. We have plenty coming up this term that I’m looking forward to:

  • Our next High Impact Senior Leadership course starts on 29 September – six modules over twelve online session, ideal for those in leadership or looking to move into leadership to consider the skills and practices of being a leader in music education
  • Nate Holder is running more Why Music x Music Mark sessions alongside others including our Board’s EDI lead Yogesh Dattani on Tal basics, Natasha Hendry who will talk about Black history and culture in the music curriculum, and Dr Stefan Walcott who will look at Caribbean music.
  • For English colleagues, Christopher Stevens from Ofsted will be back with us on 16 October presenting headlines from a Music report which is due.
  • And of course there’s our Annual Conference on 27 – 28 November! Have you got your ticket yet? Early Bird booking is still open and we’re excited to reveal more about what to expect at the event over the coming weeks!
  • We’ve also been busy adding resources to our website we hope will be useful over the next year, including a new regular Research feature and a further update to A Common Approach

Just before the summer I attended three events in a week which had a lasting impression on me.  My blog about them highlighted just a few of the projects and programmes that take place across the country, led by great individuals and organisations.  Whilst we hope that everyone working in Music Education knows how amazing they are and how important their work is, we’ve decided, in our 10th Birthday Year to celebrate some of this work with a set of Music Mark Awards.  Nominations will open later in September with four award categories to celebrate some of the innovative and dynamic work happening across the UK’s music education landscape!

I am looking forward to seeing many Music Mark members and partners at events this term, both online and in person. Do keep in touch with us all with your news, events and to share your resources with the wider community.  Together we can help ensure the 2023/24 academic year is a great one for Music Education!