Conservative Council Wants To Destroy Children’s Music Service

By Roger Moisan
Once the flagship provider of instrumental lessons, music centres, musical ensembles, classroom support and much more, East Sussex Music Service (ESMS) is facing the axe. In order to save money due to local government cuts imposed by their own party, Conservative led East Sussex County Council have decided that the way forward is to deny thousands of local children the opportunity of learning a musical instrument.
Despite decades of research proving the irrefutable benefits of music in education and the way young lives are transformed through such opportunities, heartless council leaders feel that this is the best way to make savings, due to their own mismanagement of the budget.
Last week, this letter was sent to parents of children currently involved with ESMS:

Dear Parents and members of adult groups 

A proposal for East Sussex Music to withdraw from providing non-statutory instrumental lessons 

I am writing to let you know that on 30 April the East Sussex County Council Lead Member for Education, Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability is being asked to agree to consult on drawing up a proposal to close the instrumental teaching part of the service which would mean the Music Service ceases to provide small group and individual instrumental lessons.

As you may know, over the last few years it has been increasingly difficult for the Music Service to remain financially viable because of cuts to Arts Council and County Council funding.  Over the last 4 years, the service has made savings of over £600,000 through restructuring and efficiency savings.    However further recent reductions in funding mean that more savings are required. 

Lucy Morgan-Jones
Head of East Sussex Music

A so called consultation on these proposals will take place, but in my experience, these consultations pay nothing more than lip service to public opinion, with the intended outcome being a fait accompli. We have seen evidence of this strategy time and time again with the academisation of schools and the outsourcing of public services such as libraries and health care.

Of course those who will suffer the most are the children from low income families who receive subsidised lessons and special needs music provision. This doesn’t bother the tory councilors one little bit as the more affluent elite of the county will always be able to afford private education.

Around 75 highly skilled and gifted peripatetic music teachers will be made redundant, with their livelihoods and vocations being destroyed.

Once the damage is done it is irreversible. This wonderful and historic organisation will be lost forever, denying future generations the opportunities to be involved  in the fundamental human activity of music making.

I urge you now to help stop this outrage by signing the petition and writing to your MP. Raise awareness on your own platform or network, and do anything else you can before it is too late and East Sussex Music Service is lost forever.

Save East Sussex Music Service
Save East Sussex Music Service

You do not need to be resident in East Sussex to sign the petition. Simply register on the ESCC website and sign.