The Department of Education is proposing to cut funding for local Authority music services. It says they will be ok, as the “hubs” will be able to take up the strain.
Two problems with that:
ONE – we know they can’t cope: semi-privatised music services all over the country are struggling to survive dependent on underpaid peripatetic instrumental teachers and volunteers who refuse to give in, realising the value of what the government seems prepared to throw away.
TWO – They are cutting the funding for the hubs themselves from around £80m to around £50m These are TINY amounts of money in the scheme of things: why is this government being so vindictive with our children’s musical educations?
There is still time to protest – click the link below and add your voice. You don’t have to write anything long and complicated – just tell them you don’t like it!
You can read my letter below.
It is not my job to crawl over the minutiae of funding of local authority services, and in any case, you make the data necessary to perform that function so difficult to obtain, it would be virtually impossible. That is your job; but your current proposals to both reduce funding to hubs AND withdraw funding to Local Authority music services suggest that either you are not very good at it, or are engaged in a cynical fund-cutting exercise.
I do believe, however, that the provision of music education for the nation’s young people is a core part of the responsibility of the public sector. Local authorities have a long, honourable and excellent history of making provision for youth music, coordinating effort between schools which otherwise might never be able to pool resources.
The historic example of Bedfordshire, where I live, is a perfect example of the need to maintain and fund this effort – since the county music service was emasculated some years ago by short-sighted accountants, the opportunities for music diminished, and only been kept alive by the heroic efforts and sacrifices of volunteers and professional teachers. People realise the value of youth music and will struggle on – but that does not vindicate your policies.
A fully-funded music service in every county that wants one is the only sensible option. It will civilise society and create jobs.
Please don’t pretend that the tiny amounts of money involved can’t be found. There can be few areas of public
expenditure where the return on investment is so huge, and so beneficial to the community at large.