New music co-op to offer ‘non elitist’ service in wake of council education cut
A new co-operative offering a ‘non-elitist’ music service to pupil’s across the county borough will launch next month.
The Wrexham Music Co-operative comes in the wake of controversial council plans to withdraw its funding for school music services – including peripatetic instrument tuition (i.e. tutors visiting different schools), facilitating orchestras and youth choirs to a number of pupils.
In October 2017 Wrexham.com reported that the proposals to cut the “comprehensive music service” accessed by schools across the county borough, had been put forward as part of Wrexham Council’s ‘Difficult Decisions’ budget process.
It was estimated that the cut would to the service help generate savings of around £300,000 from September 2018.
However the decision was met with strong opposition from local residents and some politicians, with more than 16,000 people signing an online petition and a musical protest held outside the Guildhall.
Earlier this year Wrexham.com reported that the controversial plans had been toned down, with a means tested pot of money available from April 2019 to “mitigate the impact of the music service changes”.
At the time it was explained that the additional funding would allow “…pupils from low income families to receive a service who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise be able to”.
It has now been confirmed that the new Wrexham Music Service Co-operative, which is set to formally launch and be operational from September 2018, will offer a comprehensive service to ensure that music in the county will go “from strength to strength”.
Details provided in an information report published ahead of Tuesday’s executive board meeting, explain: “To ensure that the children and young people of Wrexham continue to have access to music services, officers of the Education Department supported by other departments such as Human Resources have worked tirelessly to ensure that there is a service in place, albeit not funded by the Council.
“Heather Powell of the North Wales Music Co-operative, has been working in partnership with Wrexham Council this term to establish the new venture and to promote the service with schools.
“Heather has personally visited most schools in Wrexham where headteachers have responded very positively to the new offer and indicated that they will be engaging with the Co-operative.
It is noted that partnerships have already been formed with the Wrexham Glyndwr University, Ty Pawb and the Wrexham Symphony Orchestra – along with several grants being applied for to support the new cooperative.
Services set to be offered by the venture include: supply cover with music specialists in both primary and secondary settings, beat boxing and DJ courses, support for GCSE and A Level students, a range of instruments on offer for pupils and support to access National Ensembles and Four county ensembles.
The report adds: “The co-op will be able to offer a ‘non-elitist’ service that is open to all with continued funding to support FSM pupils held by Wrexham Council – every child has the chance to access music and, to keep prices low, where schools are unable to subside the service there are three very successful group lessons packages available with prices starting from £4.50 per lesson available.”
“The Wrexham Music Co-operative will be able to offer a comprehensive service to schools, parents and pupils to ensure that music in Wrexham will go from strength to strength.
“As with any new service, it will take some time for the Cooperative to become fully established and operational.
“Should there be any queries, please contact Siwan Meirion, (firstname.lastname@example.org), effectiveness manager in the first instance.”
Below: A musical protest outside the Guildhall in January 2018
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