24 February 2011

Hints & Help: Logging correspondence sent to Parents

Welcome to this weeks Hints & Help blog, just a quick one this week on the subject of logging emails.

As you know every correspondence (Letters, Emails, Texts etc.) are logged in the correspondence tab of the recipient’s Record Card. This allows you to see a full history of every correspondence you have had with your customers. This is straightforward until you send anything to a Parent of a Pupil, and we felt that it is important to clarify where these emails and letters are logged.

Any correspondence sent to the Parent of a Pupil is logged on the Pupil’s correspondence tab and NOT on the Payer’s tab. This is because Parents and Payers, although often the same, are not the same person 100% of the time.

I hope that this clears up any confusion. Also, as some of you will have read in last week’s blog, i did say that the blog this week will be about the latest update. However this is not the case as the update is still being tested to make sure that it all works as it should, therefore providing as seamless a transition as possible.

The blog will return next week with more hints guides to help you get the most out of are software.

If you have any questions or issues please comment or contact us either by phone on 01395 445092 or email support@paritor.co.uk

New Faces - Alexandra Freeman

Alex has the ability to develop software on a number of platforms. After completing her degree at University of Teesside, Alex has joined the team to assist the development mobile technology, which will mark a new era for Ensemble. Alex also has an interest in music playing both the guitar and keyboard.

23 February 2011

National Concert Band Festival 2011

The UK’s largest wind band and big band festival will be held at RSAMD Glasgow on 2nd – 3rd April 2011. These two days will be packed with exciting performances of both wind band and big band programmes, this year two of our clients Brent and Worcestershire have made it to the finals. Good luck!

FMS Conference 2011

The FMS have announced that they will be hosting their annual conference 17th – 19th June 2011. This year the conference will be held in Manchester.

Post the announcement of the Henley Review and the spending review, this conference will be particularly important. More information to follow.....

22 February 2011

New project: Yamaha Class Band

In January 2011 an exciting new music education project called 'Yamaha Class Band' - a whole-class wind band teaching collaboration betweenYamaha Music Europe UK and leading music services, in Staffordshire and Coventry - was unveiled. Class Band, aimed at beginners in Year 6 and Year 7, took its first steps with a Yamaha-led teacher training workshop in Tamworth in January 2011 and the launch of six pilot Class Band projects in Coventry and Staffordshire.

Class Band uses entirely Yamaha instruments, whose reputation for build quality, reliability and playability has been central to the project's 15-year success in other European countries. Though they may be a little more expensive to buy, the Yamaha instruments will typically last for many more years. They are easier to blow and require fewer costly repairs than the cheaper imports which have plagued schools and music services in recent times. The Class Band project partners receive teacher training, support and networking opportunities with other Class Band teachers across Europe. In addition Yamaha UK plans to involve some of its national and international brass and woodwind artists to inspire teachers and learners. The project will also provide performance opportunities for the young bands and eventually exchange trips with Class Bands in other countries.

Further details about the project are available at: http://bit.ly/h10P6b

Paritor sponsor National Music Council’s Local Authority Music Education Awards

This year we will be sponsoring the Annual Local Authority Music Education Awards. Organised by the National Music Council the awards are set to be even bigger and better than before.

The awards have been in existence for nearly 40 years and last year attracted over ** entries. It is an exciting opportunity for music services to celebrate achievements from pupils and staff and this year they will be even more significant, in a time when future funding is uncertain it is crucial to be able to showcase the importance of music education. As part of the sponsorship we will be working with the National Music Council to increase the profile of the awards and hopefully assist in raising the profile of the music education.

Mark Pemberton, Chair of the National Music Council: “We are delighted that Paritor have agreed to sponsor the NMC’s local authority music education awards. These awards provide recognition for those Local Authorities across the country that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to music provision in a particular year. Paritor’s sponsorship of the awards will add prestige and value for the winners and help boost the profile of the awards at a time when music provision at local authority level faces the challenges of public spending cuts”.

21 February 2011

Job Vacancy: Customer Relations and Research Assistant

For immediate start

Temporary position with possibility of a permanent role for the right candidate

Essential skills:

  • Educated to degree level or equivalent
  • Friendly telephone manner
  • Exceptional problem solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good team player
  • Enthusiasm and able to use own initiative

  • ICT literate
  • Professionalism, a self-starter with good time management & organisational skills

Desirable skills:

  • Previous experience of working within a software company
  • Interested in performing arts

We are currently looking to recruit a customer relations and research assistant for our software house based in Budleigh Salterton, Devon. Our team is fast expanding and the successful candidate will be enthusiastic and willing to learn.

If you are interested in the role and would like to find out more please email jobs@paritor.co.uk with a word copy of your CV, all suitable applicants will be contacted to discuss the role in more detail.

18 February 2011

Hints & Help: Setting up an Email Signature in the software

Welcome to the weekly Hints & Help blog. The topic this week is emails, specifically Signatures. For those of you who don’t know, signatures are the stock text that go at the bottom of all of your emails.

To set them up in the software you need to go to your User Record either via Users > {Select User} or by clicking on the My Details icon on the Ribbon Menu.


Once this has opened go to the Signature tab and from here you will be able to write your signature.


There are a few editing options (Bold, Underline, Colours and Font) if you want something more individual then you can write it in word and copy it in to the signature window. Please note that if your font is too extravagant (Non Standard Font) then the software may not recognise it and therefore it will not appear correctly on your emails.

Once your signature has been saved on your user record you need to restart the software to implement the change and then every time you send an email it will have your specific signature at the bottom. Note that the signature will only show in Rich Text format if you click the Rich Text icon

If you have any questions or thoughts please feel free to comment or contact us on support@paritor.co.uk or 01395 445092.

The Hints & Help blog will return next week with information on our next update!

The Paritor Team

Raising money for your music service

When times are tough and money is tight, it is optimum to start raising your profile and earning money. Ever thought of raising money for your service by selling CD’s of live performances?

It’s a great opportunity to showcase your talent, and provide a valuable record of achievement for your young musicians as well earning extra money.

Welsh Review of Music Education

Five years ago there was a campaign for a review of music education in Wales of over 30 music personalities with the likes of Bryn Terfel and the Super Furry animals leading the way. The review has now been published but there appears to be no campaign, no press releases, no articles.

To view the article please visit: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6067637

The welsh assembly government has accepted the recommendations but unlike Westminster that’s where it ends, there has been no proposal for future funding and no opportunity to incorporate recommendations for the future.

Emryr Wynne Jenkins, leader of the Welsh Review: “The key issue for us now is ensuring something happens as a result of this report …It’s encouraging that the minister has accepted most of the recommendations, but it won’t mean anything unless action is taken.”

15 February 2011

EDEXCEL BTEC Music Technology

Date: Thursday 3 March 2011

Time: 09.30-13.00 - Level 2
12.30-16.00 - Level 3

Venue: Beauchamp College Training Centre

Cost: £80 + VAT per person per session (inc lunch & refreshments)

Music Tech Workshops
These courses are available for:
BTEC Music Teachers
Graduate Teachers
Music Technicians
Other music professionals

Each course is half a day in length finishing/starting with lunch, depending on which you attend. You are welcome to attend both sessions.

Course Content will include:
These courses, delivered by Edexcel Trainers, will look at how to prepare students for the BTEC Level 2/3 qualifications and manage the work that they entail.

Question and Answer sessions will take place throughout the programmes.
All delegates will receive a Bespoke pack of Training materials.

If you would like more information about the courses, or to book a place please contact: training@beauchamp.org.uk training@beauchamp.org.uk or tel: 0116 272 9137

9 February 2011

Guest Blog: Alexia Quinn, Music as Therapy International

I am of the generation that was particularly affected by the horrific images of mistreated, neglected children that poured out of Romania after the fall of Communism in 1989. A few years later, I was moved to volunteer in an orphanage where I fell in love with the country and the people I met. But I was left feeling slightly uncomfortable: Was volunteering really a good solution to the difficulties facing Romania? Yes, there was a need for material aid to address the immediate crisis. But unskilled manpower? Surely providing training for local staff would better secure long term improvements to the way in which Romanian children and adults could be cared for by Romanian people?

This was a lightbulb moment for me but, aged 19, I wasn’t in much of a position to do anything about it. However, I didn’t stop thinking about it. Alongside my interest in Romania, I was nurturing a passion for music therapy. I had discovered that music therapy could do many things that I thought the children I had encountered in Romania urgently needed. For example, music therapy can:

· Encourage non-verbal self-expression

· Promote the development of social skills (for example, listening, turn-taking, eye contact)

· Develop self-awareness and interaction with peers

· Help to establish relationships and provide a sense of belonging

· Develop potential for creative and spontaneous play

I thought there might be the possibility to teach Romanian people how to do this themselves and I found a trained Music Therapist who was willing to try. This led to our pilot project back in 1995. The success of that first project was the beginning of Music as Therapy International. Since then we have offered introductory music therapy training projects to local people working in 18 different care settings around Romania, leaving behind the skills, materials and confidence for the local staff to run music programmes into the future. We have had the privilege of supporting these local staff as they have consistently used music to meet the needs of the children and adults they look after, while the care system has been reformed around them. We continue to receive news from people we trained as long ago as 1996 and are inspired by the longterm positive impact of their music programmes.

In recent years we have been approached by numerous trained music therapists wanting help taking music therapy to people working in countries to which they had links. These were countries that had a history of serious poverty, political unrest or cataclysmic traumatic events. Whilst we continue our work in Romania, we now also facilitate the delivery of projects which are taking therapeutic music-making to new communities across the world.

Our partnership with Paritor is going to helps us enormously with the projects we have planned this year and next. We are a small charity – albeit one which has a big influence! – and so every donation is genuinely felt. We have grassroots projects planned in Romania, Georgia and Rwanda already, as well as a new partnership to explore which may take us to South America for the first time. I look forward to keeping everyone involved with Paritor up to date with what you help us to achieve this year.

8 February 2011

Service with a Smile

Over the past few weeks I seem to have spent more nights in hotels than at home. Business as they say is good with more and more Music services are showing an interest in Ensemble. So despite moans from my family wondering when their father will be home, I can’t complain. On the other hand when it comes to hotels complain I do, whenever they do not match my expectations or rather the expectation they have planted when they display themselves on a web site and extract the credit card number. Tonight I am staying at the Huddersfield Central Lodge, nothing special but a reasonable price, clean and spacious. So why should I mention its name in a blog, well it’s not the Dorchester or the Savoy but the service is excellent, a welcome smile when I arrived and I was immediately given the impression that nothing was too much trouble. Within an hour of being in my room I had a personal note from the manager welcoming me to the hotel and again reinforcing the service they offer in a friendly way.

All this just goes to show that it doesn’t matter where about in your marketplace you operate, down at the discount level or up at the very expensive level, service matters. In a modern, competitive world the business that puts service at the top of the list will be the business that succeeds. The next time I visit this area I won’t need to look for a hotel I will just book this one. The logic applies to the provision of education and for that matter software solutions.


7 February 2011

The aftermath of the Henley Review - Gove has allocated £82.5 million for Music Education.

Michael Gove, Education Minister will match the total funding in 2010/11 by giving £82.5 million for music education .

This decision is post the announcement of the Henley Review, an independent paper carried out by Darren Henley, Classic FM.

The government has stated that there will be a move towards a “national formula for music education funding” in 2011, but will ensure that no local government loses more than 10% of its central funding in this first year.

The Henley Review has announced a total of 36 recommendations for the minimum expectation of a child going through the school system in England.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "Music has the power to touch the soul. It is a universal language understood by people of every culture. And it gives us all the chance to be transported by beauty.

"But access to the best musical education is not universal and the opportunity to benefit from great instrumental tuition is not shared equally.

"Many disadvantaged children are denied the music education they deserve. And that's why we need to bridge this musical divide."

Stage & Reynolds Performing Arts Scholarship 2011

The scholarship award will be made on the basis of a potential in singing, dancing and acting. They are offering a 3 year scholarship, worth £22,500, to commence September 2011.

Closing date: Monday 21st March.

For more information please visit:

Your Voice: Comprehensive Help Guide

We are also currrently in the middle of developing a new help and user guide, which will be available both online and in a printable version.

There will also be an interactive help feature, allowing the guide to be searchable.

Your Voice: Annual Conference

As Paritor's customer base grows more services than ever are requesting an annual conference. Therefore we have developed an annual conference. This year it will be held May 2011in London and will focus on management and administration.

It will be open to all music services and not just clients. For more information please email info@paritor.co.uk

Welsh Review of Music Education

A review commissioned by the Welsh Assembly has found that teachers suffer from low levels of confidence, and should recieve extra support. Further delivery is 'more fragmented and complex than necessary for a small nation'.

The review did however draw attention to the fact that local authorities had traditionally given excellent support to music education but future financial uncertainity posed threats.

FMS warns that the funding cuts could mean music education is reserved for the wealthy

The cuts could mean that music lessons are inaccessible to children from poorer backgrounds. Talking this month Virginia Haworth-Galt, chief executive of the Federation of Music Services, said that the cuts to services will mean that parents will have to make up the shortfall. "In some areas parents are having to step in and pick up the pieces to ensure provision continues. This is one option where there are cuts. It will mean a lack of access to music for those children from low-income backgrounds."

She said that it would be the local authority orchestras and ensembles that would be the worst affected as these are often directly funded by the councils. Additionally the £83 million ring-fenced funding will be scrapped at the end of March. The risk is now that future funding could be given to schools to decide how to spend their own budgets.

Concerns in this approach are advocated by the FMS as "a very high-risk strategy". "Such a move could jeopardise much of the excellent work that music services undertake and decimate their numbers, as occurred in the early 1990's when music education went into steep decline,". They go on to say "quality provision will only be available for those who pay."

Furthermore a recent survey found that over one in three (34%) providers of music tution in schools in England have already issued redundancy notices to staff.

7 New Local Authority Music Services Join Paritor

Ensemble is now not only the most popular administration and management software solution for music services in the UK but also the fastest growing. Seven new services have now decided to use Ensemble in their quest to become even more efficient in these difficult times. Find out why they chose us:

'Manchester Music Service has been looking for new support software for over 3 years to replace our in-house designed system. We found Paritor Ensemble met our requirements in all aspects of Teacher Scheduling, Customer Invoicing and Data Collection. We believe it will improve the efficiency of all those administrative tasks that a large Music Service has to carry out. We were very impressed by the communication, commitment and support we have recieved from the Paritor team and look forward to working with them in the coming years.'

James Lyons, Manchester Music Service

'We have gone through a very thorough process with our business support team at Sheffield City Council to select the right database for our service. The Paritor System won hands down!'

Mary Heyler, Sheffield Music Service

If you would be interested in finding out more, we would be happy to visit with you to demonstrate the software and show you how it could fit in with the way that you work, please give us a call on 01395 445092.

4 February 2011

Hints & Help: Sending emails from within Ensemble

The purpose of the blog this week it to show you how to set up and send emails from within Paritor. You need to do two things: enter your email address on your User details and set your SMTP settings

To set your SMTP server settings you will need a your SMTP address and Port Number (this will vary depending on your Internet Service Provider; if you do not have this information contact your ISP or support@paritor.co.uk and we can supply you with the necessary details), a User Name (your full email address) and your email login password.

When you first click on the Send Email icon the SMTP details window will open


Once you have entered the information click on the Test button which will send an email to your address and to support@paritor.co.uk if the message fails to send then check your information is correct and try again, if it still fails then contact Paritor Support. When successful you will be able te send emails to your Teachers, Parents, Pupils and Venues from within the software.

It is important to note that not all emails addresses are compatible with sending SMTP mail within the system. These are any Virgin Media accounts and Hotmail account. If you have one of these we recommend you set up a Google Mail account which is free.

The Hints and Help blog will return next week. If you have any questions or thoughts please comment or contact us on support@paritor.co.uk

1 February 2011

Decrease in the number of trainee music teachers

The government has stopped funding for 14% of students to become secondary school teachers, reducing the number to just 14,555. Cuts will be felt harshly by music trainee teachers with 180 fewer this year.

Gove has also abolished the “golden hello” of £6,000 for music and drama.

Professor John Howson, director of Education Data Surveys which analyses teacher recruitment patterns, said:

"Entering the public sector, whether as a police officer or a teacher, now demands a level of financial sacrifice many will not be willing to bear," Howson went on: "London may face a teacher supply crisis by 2013 or 2014 if the demand for graduates in certain subjects from the private sector exceeds the supply from our universities. Maths and physics are the prime subjects at risk."