Music service secured

THE short term future of a school music service has been secured after the Government confirmed a further year’s funding.

Dozens of staff at the Tees Valley Music Service (TVMS), which provides professional instrumental and vocal tuition to school and college children across the region including Hartlepool, had been under threat of redundancy since last month.

The service is directly funded by a Government grant, topped up by school and parental contributions for music tuition.

But a delay in confirming the funding had created an uncertain future for TVMS as there was no other way of financing the service after Easter.

Civic chiefs at Stockton Borough Council, which manages the service on behalf of all the Tees Valley authorities, say they had no option but to issue all 70 TVMS staff with redundancy notices last month. They have now been withdrawn.

With the TVMS now able to continue until at least April 2012, the Government is considering a national funding formula for funding for schools music. Stockton Council will also carry out its own internal review in the light of recommendations put forward in last month’s Henley Report into national schools music provision.

Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Thousands of young people across the area value the Tees Valley Music Service highly, so I am delighted that funding will continue for another year and the jobs at TVMS are more secure.”

“Clearly this has been a very uncertain time for staff, parents, pupils and all those involved in the TVMS.

“Regrettably, the timing of the government’s funding confirmation and last month’s publication of the Henley Review into school music provision left us with no option but to issue redundancy notices.

“I am delighted we can now withdraw these and sincerely hope we can secure a positive future for schools music provision well before next year’s funding round is considered.

“I will continue to monitor closely the issue of future funding.”

Stockton will now receive £1.2m to continue TVMS for 2011-12 – 10 per cent less than last year – on behalf of all four councils, which will also receive individual allocations to fund music in primary schools.

The difference will be funded through economies within the service.