Sage threat to music tutors’ jobs

Teaching plans ... The Sage Gateshead.
Teaching plans ... The Sage Gateshead.

SCHOOL music tutors in South Tyneside could face the axe over plans to shake up the service, it has emerged.

The Government has undertaken a review of music education in England and Wales which has recommended fundamental changes to how it is funded and delivered.

As part of the changes, music partnerships will be required to achieve the best model of delivery.

The Sage Gateshead, a leading centre for music in the North East, is planning to submit a bid to the Department for Education to provide music tuition for the whole region, including South Tyneside.

This could have implications for the jobs of 23 music tutors and eight pianists, most of whom are employed part-time in schools in South Tyneside.

There are hopes that job losses can be avoided by the borough’s school music service working alongside The Sage in a new partnership.

Meanwhile, changes are also planned to the way music is taught in schools.

A report on the proposal will be presented to members of the council’s cabinet next week.

It outlines areas where improvements are required, including a lack of teaching for the guitar, oboe, harp, keyboard and vocal instruction.

Also recommended is a broadening of music provision for pupils with special needs.

The report says: “The Sage Gateshead’s bid could result in a South Tyneside hub bid being rejected, resulting in staff redundancies and no future for council bands and ensembles.

“However, representatives from The Sage have been keen to explore a partnership arrangement rather than a take-over of music services, offering provisions that South Tyneside Music Service cannot match.”

The cabinet will meet in the committee suite at South Shields Town Hall from 3pm on Wednesday.