At the beginning of the month, Ofsted issued a report criticising the quality and quantity of music being taught in many schools in England – www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/music-schools-wider-still-and-wider – and called for the removal of significant barriers to pupils’ musical progress.
Last Saturday night, the 800-strong capacity audience witnessed a wonderful display of musical ability at the world-renowned Snape Maltings Concert Hall at Aldeburgh by two of our schools in Bury as part of the finale to the week-long 25th Anniversary of Celebration of Schools Music run by Suffolk County Council’s County Music Service (CMS). One of St James CEVC Middle School’s three choirs sang a beautiful selection of choral pieces and a full 75-piece orchestra from Bury St Edmunds County Upper School Academy gave a frankly astonishing finale performance of a Jazz suite by Shostakovich after being invited to round-off the week of celebrations by the head of the CMS, Philip Shaw. The performances of all eight schools that appeared that night from across Suffolk were excellent, but these two from Bury were simply outstanding and a tribute to the dedication and talents of both staff and pupils.
I have been privileged to help out at the West Suffolk Music Centre hosted at County Upper School, run by the County Music Service staff it is a thriving demonstration of dedication, talent and enthusiasm with hundreds of primary, middle and upper school and college pupils from across West Suffolk participating weekly at all levels of skill bringing with it a spirit of team-work, co-operation and creativity. It’s a shining beacon for Bury’s youth and something of which we should be very, very proud – no barriers to music here!
Maybe Ofsted and Mr Gove should take note.