25 March 2011

Henley Review - The Aftermath: Looking at the managment and administration side

In the world of music education, the Henley Review has taken central stage. With a total of 36 recommendations outlining clear changes that need to be made to music education in England in order to move forward. Here we look at the recommendations made on the management side:

Recommendation 11

Recommendation 11 is generally welcomed and it is felt that the role of inspection should be stronger. Jeremy Newton, Children & the Arts CEO. ‘Music education provision is definitely ‘patchy’ and there is a huge amount of regional variation. From our own perspective at Children & the Arts, we’ve found that there are areas with little or no adequate music education provision whilst neighbouring regions are musically thriving’.

It seems a remit that the government are keen to pursue. Therefore it is necessary that in reviewing these standards, more emphasis is given to the recording and reporting of how a child is progressing.

Jonathon Savage: ‘I welcome the expansion of Ofsted’s role (if it happens). Call me a heretic if you like, but I believe that Ofsted has had a role to play in improving our schools across the UK. Schools can’t claim all the credit. I have no reason to doubt that they will help improve the work of other agencies too.’

Although more control over the standards is welcomed there has been some backlash as to whether Ofsted are the correct body; are they too generalised? Should it be done by respected music educators? This is a debate that will need to be thrashed out in the coming months but whoever it is, they will need to be armed with the correct information and this is where modern technology plays an important role in the recording and reporting.

Recommendation 15

Recommendation 15 for administration and back office cost savings is one that hit home here at Paritor; it is true to our vision. In response, Jonathon Savage asks ‘It’s common sense really isn’t it?’ But if it is common sense why did Henley feel the need to mention it? Other responses have welcomed this recommendation under the current economic climate. Sometimes it isn’t possible to see the wood for the trees, if you’ve been doing something a certain way for a long time often no one stops to questions, ‘why do we do it like this? Is there a better way?’ And whilst it is possible to make cost savings through partnerships there are many ways in which people could make cost savings in their own establishment.


Recommendation 30, make yourself heard in the local community. There will only be an interest in your services if people know they exist. The lack of clear signposting was debated in GLA inaugural Music Education Summit 2010. Websites are a great way of keeping information up to date, and the general consensus was the the Local Authority should create an online ‘one stop shop’.

It will be even more important when there are more opportunities outside of the classroom for vocal & musical ensembles and live music.

Recommendations 33

The digital native generation are upon us and there is plenty of scope for new developments here, vital to the future but as of yet underexplored. This is the same for all aspects of music education. Jonathon Savage insists that technology should be added to the broader digital strategy for the organisation as a whole, he suggests that some of the most important areas which should also benefit are evaluation and marketing. At present it is recognised that there is a digital skills gap, but the arts council working with the BBC have recently announced Building Digital Capacity in the Arts programme partnership which is designed to work in this area.

Recommendation 14: Hub

Henley advocates that the local authority should be the lead organisation of the hub. However, in general this recommendation has been met with caution as many of the organisations have been here before and it hasn’t worked out. If the government takes up Henley’s recommendation, the local authority will need to work hard to ensure that it works. If done right, this would be a fantastic opportunity for music services to cement their role in music education.

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