Cuts to the county’s music service


Update: Consultation into the proposed £180,000 cuts to the music service opened today.

At the moment over 3,000 children and young people are learning a musical instrument through small group or individual lessons.  The consultation runs for 8 weeks, from 6th June to 27th July.

There is a separate survey for young people to complete.

Click on the following link to have your say:

Original article (April 2018): Proposals are to be considered which could see an end to individual and small group music lessons being provided.

East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education and inclusion, Cllr Bob Standley, is recommended to approve a consultation on the proposed changes at his lead member meeting on Monday (30th April).

The Council says despite a major restructuring to the service, cuts in central Government funding mean it can’t continue to fund individual and small group instrumental lessons.

Under the proposals, a reduced music service would most likely continue to provide a number of services including whole-class instrumental teaching in schools, the area Music Centres and the sixth form music education provision at the Academy of Music.  One of the county’s four area Music Centres is at Beacon Academy’s Green Lane site in Crowborough.

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

Stuart Gallimore, Director 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.

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.

The music service has in recent years seen its direct funding from central government reduced by £500,000, with more savings required as a result of cuts to the Council’s overall funding from Westminster.

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

If the lead member approves the consultation, 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 not come into effect until September 2019.

More details on the proposals will be available from tomorrow (Friday 20th) when the agenda for the lead member meeting is published.

Follow the link to find-out more about the Music Centre in Crowborough.



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  1. Music is a, if not the, universal force for good.

    Music inspires people.

    Music makes each day a good day.

    Music brings societies and people together.

    Music never ever hurt anyone or let anyone down.

    Music heals where there are divisions.

    Music creates smiles where there are tears.

    Music reaches across all divides – religious, political, sexual, physical, mental, intellectual…every divide.

    Music brings people in from the cold and embraces them.

    Music welcomes all and unites people – mankind is that people and accordingly music unites mankind.

    Music communicates to everyone equally and without predjudice.

    Music lifts the soul when people think their darkest hours are upon them.

    Some of the world’s greatest scientists and thinkers have given credit to and placed their inspired moments at the doorstep of music.

    Simply put, music is the single most powerful force for good and positivity that has and ever will exist.

    Against overwhelmingly powerful barriers and obstacles, music will always cut across all barriers and bring people together and make our society better for all of us. Each and every single one of us. Whoever you are. Music transcends.

    Each and every single one of us has a soul and music ignites our souls and lifts us up.

    Each and every single one of us has an instrument waiting out there for us. That instrument wants us to play with it and when we do it will be our best friend for our entire life.

    Some of us will play in ensembles, bands, orchestras even. And when we do we will bring the love of music to everyone who hears each and every note.

    But only if we are given the opportunity ! And that, dear friends, is the challenge. Our collective responsibility…make that duty…is to ensure everyone…EVERYONE…is given the opportunity to play and instrument.

    All of us during our lives have been given opportunities. People freely gave time and resources to us at some point in our lives and in doing so created a chance for us to improve our lot. To those who gave us opportunities often our only way to repay them is to create opportunities for others…..and this is our collective duty and responsibility.

    Our challenge today is not money. Money is nothing. It’s dust in the wind.

    Our challenge and duty is to create a better tomorrow by doing a better today and creating opportunities for a better world.

    What kind of world are we living in if we do not invest in the arts and create opportunities for everyone to learn and play an instrument – any instrument…or to sing !?

    Can you imagine how dull, drab and bitter life would be without music shining light and happiness into it. Look into the future to a world that is bland, monologue, compliant, controlled and monotonous.

    Music is humanity expressing itself. Singing from the rooftops and communicating melodically and harmoniously. Look at the masterpieces Shostakovich and Prokofiev wrote under and following the brutal oppressive regime of Stalin. Testimony to the freedom music brings.

    Here in the Kent-Sussex-Surrey region Sir Winston Churchill, a passionate lover and supporter of the arts proclaimed his faith in and support for the arts as “worth fighting for”.

    So we have a narrative and the narrative is budgets.

    Budgets !! IS that the best we can do…money !! Go create the budget…a human budget ! A budget the future will look back on and touch their forelocks in respect.


    This is a time for true leadership to step forward and to forge artistic opportunities for all.

    At the height of WW2, it is popularly reported that Sir Winston Churchill was challenged to defend a budget that called for an increase in arts funding.

    “How can you propose this at a time of extreme national crisis?” asked one member of Parliament.

    Sir Winston Churchill replied, “I do it, sir, to remind us what we are fighting for.”

    Friends…..what kind of people are we becoming if we pursue this vulgar ignorant brutal ill informed attack on the arts.

    No to the cuts. Yes to quadrupling spending on music and the arts !!

    Sincerely yours

    Peter Matthews

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