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To the Secretary of State for Education – an open letter published in The Times

20th September 2019

Penned and sent by The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and The UK Association of Music Education – Music Mark.  See letter published in the Times here


Thousands of jobs are currently at risk in the music education sector. The current funding settlement for music education hubs currently runs until 31 March 2020 and further funding is yet to be confirmed – putting thousands of peripatetic teachers’ jobs at risk.

Music education hubs were set up in 2012 as part of the National Plan for Music Education, which runs until 31 March 2020. They have provided children and young people with musical learning opportunities beyond the national curriculum, including learning a musical instrument. Without Government’s support since 2012 the work of the music education hubs would not have been possible.

However music education hubs are under significant financial pressure due to inflation, obligatory increases for many to teachers’ pay above inflation and higher employer contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme effective from September 2019.

Therefore we ask that Government confirms its commitment to music education hubs from April 2020 as soon as possible – and in recognition of increased costs to deliver the National Plan for Music Education that the funding be increased to at least £100m per annum for the next five years.

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.

Signed by the ISM and Music Mark, as well as 173 signatures from:

Sir Simon Rattle OM CBE, Conductor

Alison Balsom CBE, Trumpeter

James H. Dickinson, Chair of Music Mark, Head, Hull Music Hub

Dr Jeremy Huw Williams, Baritone, President 2019-20 of the Incorporated Society of Musicians

Tasmin Little OBE FGSM Hon RAM ARCM (hons) Hon DLitt Hon DMus, International Violinist

Carolyn Baxendale MBE, Greater Manchester Music Hub Lead

Alison Corfield, Norfolk Music Hub Lead

Andrew Higgins, Alfred Publishing Co (UK) Ltd

Andrew Withams, Head of Service, Music on Sea Southend Music Service and Hub

Angela Turton, Head, Oxfordshire County Music Service

Ann Wright, Director of Education, VCM Foundation

Anna Markland, Pianist

Annabelle Knowles, Music Hub Lead, Torbay Music Hub

Barry Farrimond MBE, CEO – Open Up Music

Beth Fagg, Piano teacher

Bridget Whyte, Chief Executive, Music Mark

Bryan Welton, Head, Lambeth Music Service

Charlotte Payne, Music Director, Inspiring Music, Lead Partner of Inspiring Music Education Hub – Central Bedfordshire

Charly Richardson, Chief Executive, Lewisham Music

Chris Jones, Head of Service, Dudley Performing Arts

Chris O’Reilly, CEO, Presto Music

Clair McColl, MISM and Music Education Hub Lead – Dorset

Claire Lambert MD, Kidenza CIC

Cliff Woollard, Managing Director, Encore Enterprises CIC 68

Craig Eastwood, Head of Music Service, Stockport Music Service

Dame Felicity Lott DBE FRAM FRCM, Soprano

Dan Somogyi, Team Leader and Education Advisor,SoundStorm, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole MEH

Dan White, Director, Wandsworth Music Education Hub

David Little, Music Mark Trustee

David Power, Head, NE Lincolnshire Music Hub.

David Rose, Manager of Music for Bedford Borough

David Stowe, Head, Suffolk Music Education Hub

David W Beeby, Head of Music Department, Poole Grammar School

David Ward, Executive Director, Joint Audio Media Education Support

David Wheway Snr Lecturer Education (SoTED) Canterbury Christ Church University

Dawn Wren, Chief Executive, Berkshire Maestros

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive, Incorporated Society of Musicians

Deborah Rees, Acting Head of Music Service, London Borough of Camden

Dennis Wickens, Composer

Dominic McGonigal, Chairman, C8 Associates

Dr Alison Daubney, University of Sussex

Dr Jonathan Savage, Reader in Education, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Kirsty Devaney, composer, educator, researcher

Dr Marina Gall, Senior Lecturer in Education (Music), University of Bristol

Dr Michelle Castelletti, FRSA PhD MMus BA(Hons) DipSacMus, Conductor, Composer, Director of Oxford Festival of the Arts

Dr Pauline Adams, Former Lecturer at the Institute of Education, University College London

Dr Rebecca Berkley, Lecturer in Music Education and Artistic Director Music at Reading; Institute of Education, University of Reading

Duncan Mackrill, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Sussex

Dylan Gwyer-Roberts, Secondary Programme Leader and Music PGCE Tutor, School of Education, Bath Spa University

Elisabeth Wigley, Chief Executive, Merton Music Foundation, Lead Partner for the Merton Music Education Hub

Emily Gottlieb, CEO, National Opera Studio

Emma Johnson MBE, Clarinettist

Fran Hannan, Managing Director, Musical Futures

Gail Dudson, Director, Yorkshire Youth & Music

Gareth Churcher, Head of Service, Cornwall Music Service Trust

Gareth Gay, Head of Service, Cognus Limited

Gary Griffiths, Head of Havering Music School

Gary Spruce, Subject Leader: Secondary Music PGCE, Birmingham City University

Gemma Price, Head, Bury Music Service

Geoffrey Harniess, Head of CYM (London)

Georgina Biddle, Senior Specialist Music Service, Music Partnership North Newcastle (Newcastle Music Service)

Gerald Sterling, CEO/Head of Service, Bromley Youth Music Trust

Gerard Booth, Head of Service, Oldham Council Music Service

Gillian Moore CBE, Director of Music, Southbank Centre

Glyn Bowen, Director, Somerset Music

Graham Bland, Barking and Dagenham Music Education Hub

Harry Bicket, Conductor

Hester Cockcroft, Chief Executive, Awards for Young Musicians

Holly Radford, Producer – MAC Makes Music

Ian Axtell, Course Director: Masters in Teaching and Learning/Educational Leadership, Birmingham City University,

Ian Burton, CEO, Nottingham Music Hub

Ian Naylor, Head, Music Education Sheffield

Isata Kanneh-Mason, pianist

Issie Barratt, Founding Artistic Director & CEO, National Youth Jazz Collective

Ivor Flint, Composer and educator

Jack Pepper, Composer and broadcaster

Jacky Craig, Lead Officer, Music Partnership North – Northumberland

James Ainscough, Chief Executive, Help Musicians UK

James Thomas, Head of Hackney Music Service

James Underwood, Chief Executive, West Sussex Music

Janice Pounds, Music Education Commissioner, Accent MEH

Jayne Briggs, School Improvement Adviser, with responsibility for the Derby & Derbyshire Music Partnership – Leading the Music Education Hub for Derbyshire

Jennifer McKie, Senior Music Adviser, Lincolnshire Music Service

Jeremy Dibb  Director, Warwickshire Music

Jeremy Sams, British Theatre Director

Jim Reiss, Managing Director, DJ School UK

John Barber, Love Music Trust

John Bergin, CEO, Newham Music

John Callister, Head of Service, Entrust Music Service Staffordshire

John Summers, Chief Executive, Halle Concerts Society

John Thomson, Head of Service, SIPS Education Music & Arts Service

John Wilson, Conductor

Jonathan Dickson, Head of Service

Judith Robinson, Head of Education, Sound and Music

Julie Dorr, North Tyneside Music Education Hub

Karl Lutchmayer, pianist, lecturer and writer

Kate Campbell-Green, Head, Tameside Music Service

Kathryn Enticott, Director, Enticott Music Management

Katy Spicer, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, English Folk Dance and Song Society

Kevin Rivett, CEO, Calderdale Music. Trust

Kim Waldock, Music Educator

Laura Worsfold, Chief Executive Officer, Severn Arts

Leslie East OBE, Chair, Association of British Choral Directors

Lewis Gibbs, Head, Devon Music Education Hub

Lindsay Evernden, Head of RG Music Hub

Lindsay Thomas, Head of Music Service

Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Director, The Piano Teachers’ Course, UK

Mark-Anthony Turnage CBE, Composer

Mary Mycroft & Judith Phillips, Joint Heads of Waltham Forest Music Service

Matthew Gunn, Head, Cambridgeshire Music

Michael Armstrong, Music Hub Manager, SoundStorm/BCP Council

Michael Summers, Manager of Music Education, Durham Music Service (lead partner in the Durham and Darlington Music Education Hub)

Molly Newton SLE, Strategic Manager, York Music Hub

Mr Peter Morris, Chair, Wolverhampton Music Education Hub

Natalie Clein, Cellist

Neil Chippington, Chair, Choir Schools’ Association

Nicholas Daniel, Oboist

Nicolas Chisholm, Chairman of the Brighton Philharmonic orchestra and former president of the ISM

Nigel Tully MBE, Executive Chair, National Youth Jazz Orchestra

Oonagh Barry, Head, Houndslow Music Education Hub

Paul Guenault, Director of Music, Buckinghamshire Music Trust

Paul Hoskins, Director of Music, The Purcell School for Young Musicians

Paul McCreesh, Conductor

Penny Stirling, Director, Yorkshire Young Musicians

Peter Chivers, Brighton and Hove and East Sussex Music Education Hub

Peter Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Swindon Music Service

Peter Cook, Musicians’ Chapel Laudemus Michael James Music Trust

Peter Desmond, Head of Music & Performing Arts, Haringey Council

Peter Lovell, Interim Music Service Lead Officer, Essex Music Education Hub

Peter Renshaw, Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Peter Smalley, Chief Executive, Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust

Phil Needham, Principal, Wakefield Music Education Hub

Professor Chris Collins, Head of School of Music and Media, Bangor University

Professor Gavin Henderson CBE, Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Professor Graham F Welch, Chair of Music Education, University College London Institute of Education

Professor John Bryan, University of Huddersfield

Professor Martin Fautley, Director, research in education, Birmingham City University

Professor Peter Dickinson, Rainbow Dickinson Trust

Professor Sir Barry Ife CBE FKC FBbk HonFRAM FRCM FGS, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Rebecca Johnson, Musical Inclusion Manager, Middlesbrough Council

Richard Britain, Head, Thurrock Music Education Hub

Richard Milton, Head of Service, Music and Performing Arts Salford

Ruth Atkinson, Lecturer in Primary Education (Music)

Ruth O’Keefe, Head of Service, Trafford Music Service

Sally Cathcart, Music Educator

Sarah Lee, Head, Surrey Music Education Hub

Scott Hollins, Music Education Manager (Lead), Walsall Music Education Hub and Service

Sharon Bray, Head of Service, Leicestershire Schools Music Service

Sharon Broughall, CEO, Barnet Education Arts Trust

Simon Yeo, Manager of Cumbria Music Service/Lead, Cumbria Music Education Hub

Sir Mark Featherstone-Witty OBE, Founder, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts Learning Group

Sir Thomas Boaz Allen CBE, Baritone and Chancellor of Durham University

Sonia Mellor, Head, Rotherham Music

Sophie Lewis, Managing Director, National Childrens’ Orchestra

Stephen Wild, Head of Music, Leeds Music Education Partnership (ArtForms, Leeds City Council)

Steven R Kohut, Music Educator

Stuart Birnie, Head of Service, Services For Education – Music Service

Stuart Burns, Executive Director, Orchestras for All

Stuart Whatmore, Head, Tri-borough Music Hub

Sue Beckett, CEO, Portsmouth Music Hub

Sue Nicholls , Music education consultant

Sue Wakley, Music Hub Manager, MK Music Hub

Susan Hollingworth, Choral Director and Music Educator

Susan Robertson, Service Manager, Tees Valley Music Service

Suzi Digby (Lady Eatwell) OBE Hon D Mus

Tanya Moore, Cornwall Music Education, Hub Manager

Thom Meredith, Principal, Musica Kirklees (the lead organisation for the Kirklees Music Education Hub)

Tim Palmer, Head of Music Education, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance

Tim Rogers, Head of Service, Lancashire Music Education Hub.

Tim Sandford, Deputy Chief Executive, British Youth Music Theatre

Toby Smith, Head, Solihull Music Service/Hub

Tony Johnson, Head of Music & Arts Service

Yogesh Dattani, Head, Ealing Music Service


Since the letter was published, additional Music Mark members have given their support, including:

Caroline Peirson – Deputy Chief Executive (Finance & Operations Manager), Richmond Music Trust

Alison Stevens –  Manager, Shropshire Music Service

Mark Pemberton – Director, Association of British Orchestras