MEC Seminar in Collaboration with Sing Up

September 13th 2018

Nurturing a Sustainable Music Education Workforce

Welcome – Dick Hallam MBE MEC Chair

A prepared statement, agreed by MEC Trustees, was read:

It’s my very great pleasure to welcome you all this afternoon.

I do need to bring a change in circumstances to your attention.

This seminar was put together in collaboration with Sing Up, (thanks to Michelle and her team for the use of premises and domestic arrangements), and the MU, which planned the content.

Unfortunately, the MU informed us late last week that it has decided to resign from the MEC Forum and also pull out of membership with immediate effect. This means that, after 6 months of planning, and with only one week’s notice, the MU will not be delivering the seminar today, as it had committed to doing.

I am informed that the MU feels that it can best make a difference by continuing to support its members in their work and lobbying policy makers through its own channels.

I am therefore enormously grateful to Helen, Åsa, Emma Archer, Bridget and Philip Flood who have kept the outline content, to which colleagues signed up, and I am sure we will have a great afternoon.

This is the third of four MEC seminars this year which, along with input from our Special Interest Groups, Task and Finish Groups and other consultations will feed into a position statement on a refreshed National Plan for England early in 2019 as well as being relevant to colleagues across the UK.

As regards the MU’s decision, the MEC trustees discussed this at their meeting this morning and the implications will be discussed with MEC Forum members.

So, on with the seminar and over to Helen.


Developments in employment status usage, including IR35 (PowerPoint available)

Helen Mason – Head of Music Service VisionRCL

Helen’s Career:

Inner London Education Authority – Temporary Terminal – 10-hour maximum working contract for musicians.

Newham – teacher up to CEO

As she became a qualified teacher they came off teachers’ pay and conditions, she could position salaries just above the unqualified scale

Worked across 8 London boroughs and recruitment

Interim work with Ealing, with Grimsby and the Derbyshire Model

Redbridge – with teachers pay and conditions

IR35 Overview

Tax legislation applies to working through an intermediary

Often your own company but could be a partnership or other person

This was to make sure there was no tax evasion

Local Authority needs to decide if IR35 applies and makes the decision on tax and NI being included

Not necessarily teachers but consultants and consultancies

If it applies? Could cost extra in national insurance. E.g. head teachers’ salaries might cost an extra £5000. So, are you off payroll? Public service – authority, private – provider makes the decision.

What is happening and when?

Is it still ok to employ self-employed people / teachers?

Should they be their own company?

What to be aware of:

Substitution – who chooses cover teachers and how they are paid? Teachers cannot usually bring in a colleague to substitute.

Control – timetables, reports, lesson obs – workshop providers are easy but for regular teaching they need to have more control, you shouldn’t give them templates etc for reports. As soon as you observe and make qualitative decisions, it’s only supposed to be safeguarding

Complaints – shouldn’t be using official

Facilities charge – teachers paying for their classroom facilities

What does this mean for the sector?

There are more self-employed people, benefits of employment are missed

Training and career development – becoming the responsibility of the music educator more and more, how do we support access to CPD? If you are self-employed you need to fund that and find a way to make the end client pay for it.

Helping schools / parents make an informed choice

Zero hours contracts /ft/pt – only getting 30 weeks a year work, what about the other 22 weeks?

New skills for leaders / managers

MARK PEMBERTON – The Taylor Review

The Review of Modern Employment Practice proposes a tightening of the definition of ‘worker’ to ‘dependent contractor’, which sits between self-employment and employment. Even if ‘dependent contractors’ are self-employed, they will become entitled to statutory sick pay, paid holiday, and possibly pension auto-enrolment. MEC members need to start forward planning for potential extra costs.

BRIDGET WHYTE – HMRC website can help you work out whether IR35 applies or not. Also, the contract for that self-employed person, what does that then look like?


Main Discussion Topics – Introductions to Group Break-out sessions

How can training and CPD support career progression

ASA MALMSTEN – Sound Sense

Sound Sense – professional association of community musicians.

Signed off a new corporate plan with a focus on CPD, Training the Community Musician courses starting in February.

Teachers who don’t have the subject knowledge, vs musicians who don’t have the teaching experience.

How do we communicate what CPD is available?

How do you know as an individual musician what CPD you need?

Improvisation skills

Cross fertilize CPD offer – how much more collaboratively can we work together to share skills and specialism

Access and barriers to training – time, how do you cover the cost and accommodation / travel, plus covering your normal classroom work?


How the voice of music educators can be represented within hubs and music services

BRIDGET WHYTE – MUSIC MARK (presentation available)

Most music teachers are supported by a union but how can they be more involved in discussions around how Hubs and Services deliver music education across the country? They are in regular contact with pupils and therefore know what is needed. And how do we support these teachers to progress to become managers? Bridget consulted the NE Hub Leaders at a meeting on this topic: diverse area so responses were diverse, but each were working to listen to their staff and some working together cross border to share skills. One Hub used its board to help consult its workforce and programmed a meeting at the same time as an INSET so teachers and board members could work together. Another used real complaints in a twilight training sessions to discuss challenges. Open door policy / suggestion box / one to one meetings available were other suggestions.

Opening a meaningful dialogue around quality


Who for? What can MEC do and who can we tell? Effectiveness of impact? Is a musician or teacher being effective in their practice. Competencies – what skills are needed to be effective? Fit for purpose. How inclusive are we being in our practice and how can we share and exhibit this throughout the sector and in ages?


Plenary Feedback Session

How can training and CPD support career progression Åsa Malmsten: Sound Sense

CPD is not about specific training days, networking events might be better.

Need to broker partnerships between partner orgs in MEC, hubs are well placed as bridges between schools and musicians.

Map the CPD available across the country, regionally and nationally, share widely.

Challenges in the way CPD is communicated, how we can reach those people.

Action Learning – support network of buddies, creating a strategy

Finishing work – no longer able to work as a musician, what next, CPD?

Buddy system for disabled musicians to access CPD more freely.

Wider leadership schemes such as Clore to be fully funded and available for musicians.

How the voice of music educators can be represented within hubs and music services

Bridget Whyte: Music Mark

‘Teacher voice’

Significant culture change in the way hubs work and are run, and what CPD is.

Sometimes we forget that teachers need to be coming with us in the planning

Solutions – open door policy – challenging with no office, virtual space. If no space, how do you have those conversations?

Recognise that music educators are quite isolated, but can join up together with colleagues and feel resentment about their work, the conversation need to be had earlier.

Hubs – sharing and recognising expertise, leaders learning from each other.

Weekly news and nag sent out to teachers, keep that communication up.

Face to face is key, raising voice? Arrange a meeting.

There is a shared responsibility. What are the music educators themselves doing to get their voices heard. Instrumental teachers don’t know where their voices are being heard. They don’t know what is going on in the sector necessarily. Where is the organisation that does that? Could be Music Mark.

Opening a meaningful dialogue around quality Philip Flood: Sound Connections

Quality bound up with impact and the impact a leader is having, how is this conveyed?

Quality has to be tailored, be bespoke and responsive.

Inspiring musician to have an impact, but other times it may not have a sustainability.

Host rather than hero, music leader is there as a facilitator to support CPD. Instill within the leader the ethos and excellent quality that can be incorporated in to their practise. Inclusive approach. Focus on the agency of young people.

Created a shopping list about the qualities required. Quality is subjective. Keith Swanwick – Good Enough approach.

Broader workforce should be representative of it’s community?

Resources – you need to support the music leader in the delivery of their work.

Commission some research about this – perhaps a new version developing a framework of values and principles or key components, building on what has been done already through a literature review, but now working with the moving times i.e. inclusion. Time to develop a new framework or code, that as a sector we can all sign up to.