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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