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Private music lessons in school hours

(22 Posts)
PigWhisperer Tue 03-Jun-14 22:17:15

My children attend a small (state) village primary school, very community focussed. For many years various small local companies have provided music lessons to those who want it - for a fee. There aren't any real music lessons in school, in year 5 there has been some basic percussion such as tambourine and cymbals, but thats it.

Over the last year all the external providers of music lessons have been told they can no longer come into school. So no more guitar, violin, piano, flute etc. The reason being it is disruptive to lessons and unfair to those children who can't afford the lessons.

I am really frustrated by this because to seems a very negative step by the school and I thought music was seen as an excellent partner to an academic education.

I would love to hear other peoples opinions and whether this is now normal practise?

AbbyR1973 Tue 03-Jun-14 22:25:12

Also small state village school. We have access to violin, keyboard and guitar from peripatetic teachers, provided by the county school music service. No talk about stopping it, thank goodness. I amhorrified that a school wouldn't recognise the value of music tuition and providing it through school ensures far more children have access than would otherwise be the case as the school lessons are a fraction of the cost of private tuition out of school. I pay about £50 per term for lessons and instrument hire. DS1 actually gets a violin lesson by himself for this and DS2 has a lesson with 1other pupil.

AgentProvocateur Tue 03-Jun-14 22:37:57

I agree that private companies shouldn't be providing lessons in school time. I also paid for lessons through local authority music service for years, but these were free to talented children whose families got certain benefits, so much fairer than your school

You should campaign to your local authority education department ( or English equivalent) for a peripatetic music service

PigWhisperer Tue 03-Jun-14 22:58:06

Ah, I think I have got my terminology wrong, I only realised after seeing your posts. The lessons are paid for, but most are provided by the local charitable trust which is funded by the D of E. Sorry for not realising earlier.

bucketofbathtoys Tue 03-Jun-14 23:02:36

At all our local schools it is seen as a real boost to academic life so lessons take place in school time

AgentProvocateur Tue 03-Jun-14 23:12:17

Ah, in that case, YANBU! wink

You (the parents) need to fight this. Music is being a victim of cuts in many local authorities, but it is so valuable. The "unfair to people who can't afford it" argument doesn't hold water. Most areas offer it free to people who egg free school meals. And, yes, there will be parents who don't geT FSM who can't afford it, but that's life. this is an interesting read.

AgentProvocateur Tue 03-Jun-14 23:14:57 in fact, it looks like there's a paper out for consultation at the moment in England.

RiversideMum Wed 04-Jun-14 06:54:09

We also have a charitable trust in our LA that provides music lessons. These can be individual instrument lessons - although tbh since subsidies were removed, they are no cheaper then private lessons. Also, we have teachers doing year long projects with whole year groups. In my experience the cost varies a lot from one LA to another.

OddBoots Wed 04-Jun-14 06:58:43

It looks like musical education is falling apart all over the country because of the government cuts - around here only the rich and those on free school meals can afford it.

My dd has been having lessons with the council music service but funding cuts mean it isn't much different in price to private lessons, we're trying to work out if we can afford for dd to keep learning (maybe giving up holidays to do it) - if we do keep going then I'd actually prefer it to be out of school as that would mean she didn't miss lesson time.

noramum Wed 04-Jun-14 07:05:15

Our infant school works with a Music trust and they offer lessons in school the parents pay for in full, around £80 for a term for my DD's violin for example.

I know lots of children took on piano and in her year 4 are playing violin. The lessons are around 2pm, twice a week, one for piano, one for violin, when the subject teaching is over and the remaining children have arts and craft or story time. The teacher make sure that no vital lessons are missed and together with the music teacher set the schedule each year.

I think it is vital, the school teach the recorder in year 2 but the results when teaching 30 children at the same time are less ideal. They do regular other music lesson but I find it can't replace my daughter's separate lesson we pay for unfortunately.

I also saw the BBC article yesterday and find it is a shame as not all parents can afford or bother to encourage music at home.

PigWhisperer Wed 04-Jun-14 09:19:47

Thank you Agent for the links and to everyone for replying.

Its so disheartening that music (and all Arts) are valued so lowly. It seems like a really backward step for our little school.

Am going to write my letter to the Governors this morning.

ReallyTired Wed 04-Jun-14 10:00:53

I believe that music lessons in school time improve academic results even if the child has to miss a lesson once a week. I feel its sad that pepipetic music lessons are being stopped. Is your school in trouble about progress?

My son has a 20 minute individual guitar lesson at school which costs the same as lessons outside school.

PigWhisperer Wed 04-Jun-14 10:08:39

Really no, the school is doing well.

PastSellByDate Wed 04-Jun-14 11:34:17

We're in a large city and so far music service continues to run lessons in schools so I don't have direct experience of this. Because they've won funding for music tuition - lessons are somewhat subsidized - and considerably cheaper than private tuition. The youth orchestra is entirely free - also due to this funding.

I wonder if a solution to your problem might not be to ask the school to allow these private teachers to continue to come but to schedule lessons before/ after school - thus, not disrupting classes? That way the school can still be supporting music opportunities and existing pupils can continue their music tuition.

Just an idea.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 04-Jun-14 11:51:21

I think it's very short sighted.

My dh used to be one if these "private" individuals. He used to teach for the county music service but they often charged more than a private company/teacher for the same teacher.

My own children have lessons in school- in one case I pay via the school & the other the teacher direct.

Studies show that those who play a musical instrument do better academically.

Bramshott Wed 04-Jun-14 11:56:55

Funding is being cut further and Music Hubs are moving into more of a private trust model now in any case, so the distinction between "private" and "LEA" music lessons is increasingly irrelevant and the cost is often similar.

Ask your governors how their policy sits with the recommendation of the National Plan for Music Education that "Children from all backgrounds and every part of England should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and to make music with others"?

Xihha Wed 04-Jun-14 12:17:03

DSs school have made sure all music lessons are scheduled so they don't interfere with numeracy, literacy or RE, so music lessons are after lunch, either after they've eaten to the end of play time, during 'class time' (when they do the register/show and tell/read quietly) or after school

ReallyTired Wed 04-Jun-14 12:24:08

I don't understand why RE should be given such a high priority. I would be quite happy for my son to miss RE to do his guitar lesson.

Ds's primary school used to jig the time table each week so that children did not miss the same lesson each week. Ds secondary school has a different time for the guitar lesson each week which was confusing at first.

Xihha Wed 04-Jun-14 12:58:09

RE is a high priority because DS is at a VA Catholic school, so they get inspected by the diocese as well as ofsted.

Retropear Wed 04-Jun-14 13:01:59

If taking children out of school causes disruption to other children,kids floating in and out for music lessons do too.

My dc have their lessons out of school.

rabbitstew Wed 04-Jun-14 13:27:42

PigWhisperer - that's an appalling attitude from the school. At my dss' school, staff from what used to be the County Music service come into school every week and all children get good quality music teaching as part of the curriculum. It is not done at play times, during other curriculum lessons or after school, but as part of the proper teaching day. This is much better than a bit of tambourine banging and recorder playing from teachers who don't really feel comfortable doing it, as and when they can squeeze it in, if they really have to, when they obviously don't want to... On top of that, you can arrange with what used to be the County Music service, or other peripatetic teachers, to have private or small group tuition. No way should your school not only be failing to provide proper music teaching during the school day, but also now cutting off extra-curricular music opportunities.

spanieleyes Wed 04-Jun-14 19:42:15

AT my school we have the county music service come in and KS2 classes learn a different instrument for a year, so violins, brass instruments, percussion, ukeleles etc for an hour a week. This really gives children a flavour of a range of instruments which they may want to take up later on. These lessons are timetabled curriculum lessons and are free ( the children can also take the instruments home to practice) In addition we have private music lessons once a week in the lunchtime/afternoons for children who want to learn an additional instrument ( or are in KS1) so piano, violin and brass. Children miss a maximum of 20 mins curriculum time a week. Parents pay for these lessons although the children in receipt of pupil premium can have them for free.

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