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T-Time: Finding the Finances

5th April 2024

Last month, Tuesday 19th March, Music Mark held the first termly-teacher-tea-time-to-talk session (shortened to ‘T-Time’). 

After each T-Time session, our Schools Lead Abi Marrison or one of our teacher attendees will write a blog addressing the question posed for each theme (which follows below).  

This first session brought together teachers from different areas of the UK working in Primary and Secondary education settings. It was welcoming that teachers were open to sharing different perspectives and experiences, free of challenge or judgement. We know how important it is to create the correct climate for sensitive dialogue and are committed to hosting this space as ‘exclusive’ to those with a current teaching practice delivering music in the classroom.  


“Together, how do we make music education happen in schools with the strain on school finances?” 

T-Time is a one-hour live online discussion forum for teachers. It begins with all attendees being sent a provocation. This term our provocation came in the format of a 15-minute video interview between Music Mark’s School Lead Abi Marrison and Marie Dobing who founded the charity Morabe Music.  

About the provocation

Morabe Music was founded because there was no music happening in a small rurally isolated Primary school in Eyke, Suffolk, which the then new Head Teacher, Lucie Fairweather, wanted to address. During the provocation interview, Marie tells Abi that the initial challenge was not to raise money, but rather to build a community around music. Lucie, Marie and Marie’s sister did a sponsored run, with Marie sporting a ‘running violin’ costume! The event helped, but financial constraints are still a reality. The impact is the changed perceptions around the value of music and there is a willingness to ensure finances are found.  


What have we learnt?

To deliver music in schools you need a selection of the following; musical instruments, tech devices such as iPads or laptops, and people who are confident to deliver music.  

Take away 1

The need to purchase instruments or iPads led us onto the subject of fundraising and looking for grants. The core budget not being available for many for this initial access point was a shared sadness. One teacher remarked that iPads could be borrowed from their local library.  

We heard about some ways teachers are finding ways to fundraise including working with their Parent-Teacher Associations, creating Amazon wish lists, and charging ticket admission or taking financial donations for concerts (mainly Christmas). 

Take away 2

Whoever is delivering music education in the school, they need confidence. This led to discussion and debate about resources, schemes and packages used to support non-specialist teachers delivering music. We heard from primary schools where Higher Level Teacher Assistants (HLTA’s) are delivering music as PPA (Planning, Preparation and Assessment) time. There was an exchange of views that we welcomed on Musical Contexts, Charanga, Sing Up, Kapow and Classroom 200 (a resource from our sponsor ABRSM).

Another challenge faced in secondary settings is isolation and being the only music teacher. For one teacher, establishing music in their school was greatly supported by their local music education hub. This provided more capacity and specialism in the form of peripatetic teachers coming to the school to teach instrumental lessons. But, these teachers are paid for by the young people and not within the school’s means to cover the cost.

In answer to this term’s question; “Together, how do we make music education happen in schools with the strain on school finances?”, here is how Music Mark will continue to work for and with you.  

  • For England, you can see how Music Mark has been working e.g. writing to the Schools Minister and creating a document to all political parties to see what is needed to deliver the National Plan for Music in Schools.  
  • Music Mark will continue highlighting grants that schools or PTA’s can apply for. 
  • Music Mark will continue to highlight resources for schools on our #CANDOMUSIC website.
  • Music Mark will continue to support music services and music hubs across the UK in their work with schools.  


Next Time

Our next topic is “What can I do to make my music teaching more inclusive?” with a focus on delivering music education to young people with dyslexia. Book your place now… and don’t forget to prep your camera, mic and get your cuppa ready!


Further Reading: