The Liberal Democrats on East Sussex County Council are campaigning to save East Sussex Music Service, which will be debated on Monday (30 April) at the meeting with the Lead Member for Education and Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability.
Under discussion will be the proposal to consult on the number of staff managing the service and a review of the “terms and conditions” of the music teachers employed by the County. Proposed cuts will involve the closure of the small group instrumental teaching service which currently teaches instruments to 3221 children and young people. These cuts will form part of a larger cut to Children’s Services which is expected to have its budget slashed by millions over the next two years.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Kathryn Field (County Councillor for Battle and villages, also deputy leader of the Opposition on ESCC) said:
“Schools are an important part of our lives and our communities. The education they provide allows children from any background to succeed and flourish and music plays such an important part in their development. How can it be right to even think about removing this important part of children’s education and experience?”
The proposal is to close the instrumental teaching service while retaining the work of our area music centres, county ensembles, summer schools, first access teaching in schools and East Sussex Academy of Music (ESAM).
Liberal Democrat Cllr Carolyn Lambert (County Councillor for Seaford South) said:
“The local Lib Dems recognise the immense value of accessible music teaching across the County, the current system provides all round support to a broad spectrum of children from schools across East Sussex which includes those with disabilities such as hearing impairment, Downs syndrome, autism, learning difficulties and those on pupil premium. If the instrumental teaching service is cut, individuals would be forced to apply for private teaching and it is likely to become much harder to provide the tailored support to enable those from disadvantaged backgrounds to benefit from this musical education.
Such a major change cannot be rushed through; we call on the Conservative administration to listen to parents, teachers and all stakeholders. There should be a meaningful debate about the future, with proper access to figures and the chance to hear from experts from elsewhere who have been through a similar process of change, to identify ways to ensure a continuation of instrumental teaching in East Sussex.”
You can sign the petition to save East Sussex Music Service here