County music service set to be hit by budget cuts

Individual and small group music lessons run by East Sussex Music – the county music service – look set to be axed.east_sussex_county_council_web

East Sussex County Council says cuts in central Government funding mean it cannot continue to fund the lessons even though there has been a major restructuring of the service.

A reduced music service could continue to provide whole-class instrumental teaching in schools, four music centres – where children can play in ensembles – and sixth form music education provision at the Academy of Music.

Changes are recommended by Cllr Bob Standley the council’s lead member for education and inclusion at his lead member meeting on Monday, April 30.

Private teachers

In the future individual and small group lessons may only be offered through private music teachers, or provided by other means, such as through teacher co-operatives which have been formed in other parts of the country.

Stuart Gallimore, county council directory of children’s services, said: “We totally appreciate how valued the music service is by children and parents across the county.

“This is not a decision we want to take, but, at a time when the council is having to make cuts to services such as libraries and adult social care, we just can’t afford to continue to provide the music service in its current format.

Significantly reduced

“We’ve already significantly reduced the cost of the service through restructuring and efficiency savings, but it’s not been possible to find a viable way of continuing with the service as it is.

“If this proposal is approved, we will explore all options over the coming months to try and ensure pupils can still have opportunities to learn to play an instrument, and will be asking people to give us their views on how we can achieve this.”

Funding for the music service from central government has been reduced by £500,000, with more savings required required as a result of cuts to the council’s overall funding from Westminster.

Budget

A total of £600,000 has already been shaved off the music service budget, but the county says a further saving is required to ensure the service remains financially viable.

If the consultation is approved it will be held in the summer, with a final decision on how the service will operate in future to be made in the autumn.

Any changes would come into effect in September 2019.

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