Review of our Year 2016


So 2016, eh? Glad that’s nearly over…

Although living through this year couldn’t be said to be the most positive experience, there were at least some wins for music education, including finally (FINALLY) a funding deal for Music Education Hubs that lasts more than a year! Here at the Music Education Solutions® office we’ve been looking back on our own activities during 2016 and thought we’d share some of our highlights.

In January we kicked off our year with INSET sessions for Sound Foundation Somerset, Devon and Leicester-shire Music Education Hubs. Later in the year we provided INSET for The Hall School, Townfield Primary School, and Slough, and Thurrock Music Hubs. We also embarked upon two longer-term CPD partnerships, working with Hackney Music Service and Milton Keynes Music Faculty to bring our most popular courses to their teachers.

2016 saw the start of a really successful partnership with Musinc, who initially sponsored 6 music leaders from the North East to take the CME qualification through us, and are now preparing a second cohort for entry to the qualification. Musinc have also helped us to bring our courses to the North East by funding free places for music leaders, and we’re delighted to be continuing this relationship into 2017.

In February we ran our ‘Excellence in Primary Music’ courses all over the UK. There was great excitement (and hilarity) at the Birmingham course when Ed James & Rachel New from Heart Breakfast turned up to join in! That was the most exciting thing ever to happen at that course… until November when an X-Factor alumnus turned up at our North East date! Sorry Ed & Rach…! (And yes, we totally did the X-factor voiceover in our head whilst reading the register).

Throughout 2016 we have been working in partnership with Sky Music Education Hub on a WCET Best Practice project. This project has attracted a lot of attention, including presentations at the Music Education Expo, the First Access Forum, and the ISME Conference in Glasgow. We’re looking forward to the second phase of this project in 2017, which should provide some useful action research data collected by Sky Music Hub tutors for sharing with the wider music education community.

Our CME centre, CPD Centre West Midlands, went from strength-to-strength in 2016, and we were proud to have our first two learners ‘graduate’ from this qualification in the summer term of 2016. The centre now has 30 participants engaged on the programme, including distance-learning cohorts funded by Musinc (Middlesbrough), Devon Music Hub, Surry Arts, and AudioActive (Brighton).

2016 has been a year of pushing the boundaries of what we do as a company. In the summer we took on a short contract with Cultural Consortium Shropshire, looking at attitudes and accessibility to arts education in the county. This was our first contract that embraced other art forms as well as music, and we really enjoyed the challenges and new perspectives that this brought to our company.

In the autumn term of 2016 we established a partnership with Jersey Music Service, providing training, development and consultancy services to help support music education across the island. We are really excited about developing this relationship further in 2017 (and not just because it makes us feel important when we have to catch a plane to work!)

Throughout 2016 we have received support from the Department for International Trade (DIT) through their Passport to Export Programme. DIT provided funding for us to attend the ISME conference as exhibitors, and to help launch and market our online learning platform internationally. Our UK events and courses already attract international delegates, and with the support of DTI we are now venturing out to provide our courses in international locations. Watch this space!

So, 2016 eh? Actually, that was pretty great…!

Elizabeth Stafford, December 2016.