Measures unveiled to protect music services
Swansea Council has unveiled measures to protect music services in the city for generations to come.
Council leaders have announced there will be additional funding and support to enable its music instrument and vocal tuition service to become fit for a sustainable future.
And a new business support manager will be provided to help develop the service so schools can continue to buy in its services for their pupils if they wish.
Cllr Jen Raynor, Swansea Council Cabinet member for Education, said: “At every stage in this process we have been seeking to save the music service.
“No-one wants the music service to end, least of all Swansea Council. However, it is not sustainable in its current shape. Significant organisational and administrative change is needed if it is to be saved and to have a clear, sustainable future for the benefit of children and young people in Swansea in the years to come.
“At the moment it is not affordable for schools or parents and that’s why we have agreed to extend funding to give the service an opportunity to be transformed.
“The music service’s managers have asked us for support to transform the service. So that is what we are going to do. Apart from the extra funding the council is also providing the service with a business manager to support the service through the process of transformation.
“The cost of the music service to schools is £31 per hour currently which some schools are already struggling to fund. It would begin to cost more without reorganisation which is simply not sustainable and clearly neither schools nor parents can afford to pick up that sort of bill.
“But the council believes in the service and the benefits it brings and so we are willing to help find ways forward which will keep the quality but in an affordable and sustainable way. This is an opportunity which cannot be missed.”
The announcement comes as Swansea Council service and Neath Port Talbot Council prepare to divide the existing joint service which covers the two cities. The transformed service would be provided for Swansea only.
Cllr Raynor said the step was an essential part of making sure the city had a service which met the tuition, timetabling and affordability needs of local schools.
But she continued to emphasise the proposals do not affect the joint music ensembles with Neath Port Talbot Council which will continue as usual giving youngsters the opportunity to continue to play as part of orchestras across the region.
Copies of the formal consultation on dividing the services are now available on the Council website at http://www.swansea.gov.uk/musicserviceconsultation
Response can be submitted until Thursday 10 March 2016.
Responses should be made to: Chief Education Officer, c/o Nick Williams, Head of Learner Support Service, Civic Centre, Swansea, SA1 3SN or firstname.lastname@example.org
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