Stan­dards must be kept up

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS -

THE high stan­dards of Car­marthen­shire’s school mu­sic ser­vice need to be main­tained de­spite op­er­at­ing at a loss, a county coun­cil com­mit­tee has said.

Mem­bers of the cross­party ed­u­ca­tion and chil­dren scru­tiny com­mit­tee said the ser­vice was val­ued and well thought of.

Coun­cil­lors had re­quested a re­port on the ser­vice, which is re­liant on in­come via school ser­vice level agree­ments.

This time last year it was over­spend­ing to the tune of around of £210,000, but the fig­ure has dropped by around a quar­ter since then.

The com­mit­tee will ask the coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive board to con­tinue in­vest­ing in the ser­vice and again of­fer free ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ses­sions to pupils who are el­i­gi­ble for free school meals.

Mem­bers also noted the mu­sic ser­vice’s ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits for pupils with spe­cial learn­ing needs.

Speak­ing after the June 6 meet­ing, com­mit­tee chair­man, coun­cil­lor Dar­ren Price, said: “We are keen that stan­dards are main­tained.”

The coun­cil re­ceived an £86,000 Welsh Gov­ern­ment grant last De­cem­ber to en­hance mu­sic pro­vi­sion, and a new en­sem­ble was launched as a re­sult, cul­mi­nat­ing in two con­certs at Queen Eliz­a­beth High School, John­stown.

In ad­di­tion, new in­stru­ments have been bought or re­paired, and samba work­shops tri­alled.

New rock and pop en­sem­bles, plus master classes, are due to be es­tab­lished from Septem­ber.

Coun­cil chiefs hope the Car­marthen­shire Mu­sic Ser­vice will have a key role in de­liv­er­ing Wales’s new school cur­ricu­lum, which gives great em­pha­sis to ex­pres­sive arts, from 2022.

How­ever, the ser­vice is to lose a wood­wind teacher, with another em­ployee set to leave as part of a man­age­ment re­struc­ture.

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