Victory for SESM after public pressure on ESCC

On Friday 14 September, Councillor Bob Standley, Lead Member for Education will receive a report recommending that instrumental teaching is retained in the short term.

Options for the future of East Sussex Music favour a merger with a neighbouring service.

The campaign to save the service was initiated by the National Education Union (NEU) on behalf of the teachers whose jobs were under threat.  A petition launched by the NEU gathered over 12,000 signatures stimulating a full council debate where it was clear that councillors from all parties valued the service and recognised the weight of public pressure.

ESCC was swamped by the amount of correspondence and the numbers completing the consultations.  Their own Equalities Impact Assessment also demonstrated that cutting the service would have a negative impact on children with special educational needs and disability, those from low income families and  those in rural communities.

The NEU is grateful to the thousands of people who joined with them to highlight the disastrous effects that cuts to local government funding are having on opportunities for children.

The full report can be read here.

The NEU members would like to point out that the failed attempts to restructure the service mentioned in the report (para 2.2)  were based on illegal propositions by ESCC to remove the UPR pay scale which led to the significant opposition.  This was brought to the attention of ESCC very early in that consultation process but was ignored leading to their drastic proposal to axe all jobs.

The NEU members are also disappointed that the other option of an alternative structure has been dismissed on legal and HR grounds because it could be challenged by unions. These grounds have not been shared therefore no resolutions have been possible to achieve.

The NEU is nevertheless delighted that the majority of teachers will continue to work on teachers’ pay and conditions for the time being and that thousands of children will still be able to access and benefit from this valued service.

 

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Council Debate 10 July 2018

Jane Humberstone spoke on behalf of the petitioners at the full council meeting on 10 July.  She implored the council to take into consideration the £202k of savings already made.  Cllr Standley’s correction to the petition detailed that the savings required are £180K.  It would seem ridiculous to enforce the redundancies of 70 teachers and deny 3000 children tuition on this basis.

However, a motion to welcome the steps already taken to create a realistic, sustainable future for the instrumental service was passed.  Nevertheless, we are still unclear whether this is still a move to separate the instrumental service from the other services provided by the music hub – ensembles, and whole class opportunities.

As Cllr John Barnes said, the private market will not cope.  Ensembles and school services will crumble without instrumental tuition.

Cllr Godfrey Daniels also mentioned that the discontinuation of the Music Management Committee in 2017 could be seen to have been a pre-emptive strike.  This committee of elected councillors had important stewardship and oversight of the running of the service and its charitable trust – the East Sussex Music Trust.  Members of the committee have been surprised to learn that the committee no longer exists and that the sole trustee is now Stuart Gallimore, Head of Children’s Services.

Clarity is being saught.

You can read Jane’s address to the council here: and watch the webcast of the council meeting here: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/yourcouncil/webcasts/default.htm

Renowned opera star Allan Clayton joins the campaign at Lewes Ouse Day

On 1 July in Lewes, Allan Clayton, one of the most exciting tenors on the opera scene will be supporting our cause.

At 1:30pm hear Allan join the Wellington Wailers sing Sea Shanties as they parade through the town.

At 2:00pm at Malling Rec he’ll be joining our rag-tag band of musicians in choruses of Sussex by the Sea to protest against cuts in public funding.

Races begin at 2:15 with the crazy raft race starting at 3:00pm.

Programmes are on sale now and each sale will donate funds to our sister charity Martlets Music who give bursaries to enable children to access instrumental lessons.  Each programme has a unique number for the chance to win £1000.  Contact us for details saveeastsussexmusic@gmail.com

The consultation begins

The ‘public’ consultation has begun.  You may wish to head over to our Facebook page to read the comments before you answer.

We have also put together some questions that we have gathered from different groups which may be of interest.

Although we cannot influence your views, we would like to emphasise that this group is committed to keeping the instrumental service together with all of the other services the council wishes to retain.

In the meantime, please continue to encourage people to sign the petition and continue to ask councillors, MPs and anyone of influence to support us

BBC Sunday Politics 27 May 2018

Pre-recorded filming with Sir John Tomlinson and Heathfield Community College.  In the studio were Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown, Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling and Councillor Bob Standley from ESCC.

Watch from 11:51 to hear cross-party support from the MPs but a lack of commitment to finding workable solutions from Cllr Standley.  For more information, read our useful info page

BBC Sunday Politics