Freedom for Musicians Supports – Save East Sussex Music Service

East Sussex County Council are proposing to cut the instrumental service.

East Sussex Music provides music tuition for over 7000 children in 92% of East Sussex schools.

More than 3000 children have tuition from the instrumental service.  Their inspirational teachers enable children from low income backgrounds, from rural areas, in challenging circumstances or with special educational needs or disability to learn.  Their progress and achievement in learning an instrument and participating with others also helps them develop life skills to enable them grow their aspirations in all walks of life .

Thousands of lives have been inspired and transformed by this service.  Don’t let our children pay for East Sussex County Council’s financial choices brought about by government cuts to public services.

What can you do?

Sign the petition

Join the Facebook campaign

Write to your MP or councillor to demand that East Sussex County Council  look at the many alternative proposals already submitted

Share your personal story of how learning a musical instrument changed your life or the lives of family and friends

Tweet your story using #SaveESMS #saveourservice @eastsussexCC

Rally with us at one of our events

Bang the drum for music

Sussex by the Sea

28 April, 4pm, Eastbourne Bandstand

Join BBC Principal Trumpet player, Alan Thomas in rousing choruses of Sussex by the Sea.

Protest

30 April, 9:30am County Hall Lewes

Samba and more.  Bring a drum and join parents and students as Cllr Bob Standley decides #thinkagainbob

May Day Parade

7 May, 11am, Hyde Gardens Eastbourne

We lead the parade with bands and more to march through the town ending at the Wish Tower slopes for picnics and speeches

Ouse day

I July, 2pm, River Ouse Lewes

Help us ‘rock the boat’ at the raft race

Details on the website

Contact us:
saveeastsussexmusic@gmail.com
www.saveeastsussexmusic.com

#SaveESMS #ThinkAgainBob



3 key risks to cultural education in the UK

Anna Gower

Music Education Consultant | Trinity College London | Musical Futures International

The government believes that cultural education forms an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum, and that children and young people should be provided with an engaging variety of cultural experiences throughout their time at school. Policy Paper, cultural education DFE, July 2013

This week I was asked what I thought were the main challenges in the UK facing those of us who support a holistic cultural and arts education within our schools and local communities.

The obvious answers would of course include cuts to local authority budgets and national funding, which are now affecting some of the biggest arts venues in London as well as community venueslibraries and museumsacross the UK.

Or the EBACC, which as this article from Deborah Annetts, chief executive of Incorporated Society of Musicians and founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign suggests, negates the potential impact of the recently announced £96m of funding, promised to support the most gifted students with access to arts education. Music for a few not for many.

But in answer to the question I chose the following:

  1. The risk of forgetting those at the very end of the journey to opening access to arts education-the students.

In the UK there are a huge range of organisations all wanting the same things. To find ways to open up access to the arts for all. Many of these focus on work with teachers and schools. However, the danger is that funding can quickly be eroded by getting people round a table to talk about the issues and reach agreement whilst actually making things happen takes much longer.

How can we ensure that initiatives and projects are needs-driven and learner-driven and that data is used not just to measure effectiveness, but to identify key areas where diminishing funding and support for arts education can have the maximum impact for those who need it most?

2) Communication.

It’s difficult to reach the people who can most easily affect change. Where are young people? They are in schools. Where are parents who are part of their local community? Many of them engage with schools.

Schools are a central and vital part of the local community and provide a huge opportunity to open up access to organisations trying to engage and work with local communities.

Yet we constantly hear of organisations trying to reach teachers and teachers trying to reach organisations and still a gulf that lies in finding the right language, the shared aims, the pressures of time and knowing how to reach the right people to make those conversations actually translate into practice.

It would be great to find ways to create more relationships that truly work in partnership and establish a balance that responds to local need and the sharing of expertise where it’s most needed. Without doing so then the challenge of communicating the right information to the right people in the right way remains a key barrier to making things happen.

3) Sustainability.

Many arts opportunities are often high quality, large-scale events and those who participate (or watch) never forget them. However many can be ‘one hit wonders’, expensive to run and once over, there is little evidence of or support for sustainability and impact over time.

The question of how to reach more people and to engage them for longer has long been a key focus for organisations looking for solutions to the challenges we face in the UK around arts and cultural education and opportunities in the current climate.

It’s great that there are structures in place that support collaboration and shared aims and values for arts and cultural education such as the Arts Council funded Bridge OrganisationsThe Music Education Council, the recently announced Youth Music National Alliance and the grass roots campaign to save East Sussex Music Service from threatened cuts.

But perhaps the greatest risk of all might be a failure of more arts organisations to find success in working together. If ever there was a time that this was needed, it’s now.

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.