Services For Education appointed Music Hub Lead for Birmingham



Birmingham school children will also benefit from new music instruments, equipment and technology as part of near £650,000 spend.

Services For Education, the Birmingham education charity, has been appointed by Arts Council England as one of 43 new Music Hub Lead Organisations in England as part of an ambitious national programme to provide high-quality music education for all children and young people.

The announcement by Arts Council England comes after a bidding process with the 43 new hubs replacing the existing 116 Music Hubs. The new structure will be effective from September 2024.

As the new Hub Lead Organisation for Birmingham, Services For Education will receive £1,959,449 from the Department for Education.

Services For Education will also receive an additional £643,663 as a capital grant over two years to invest in new music instruments, equipment and technology tailored to the needs of children and young people in Birmingham, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

The new Music Hub Lead Organisations are part of a restructure to realise the ambition and vision of the government’s National Plan for Music Education – ‘The power of music to change lives’ – designed to ensure the best music education for all children and young people in every local area. Arts Council England has worked closely with the Department for Education to shape the new geographic areas for Music Hubs.

The announcement means that Services For Education, which was established in 2012, will continue to provide music education in the city. Currently its Music Service works with 98% of Birmingham schools teaching music to nearly 32,000 children – as well as running 113 free ensembles. It also provides 27,000 musical instruments free-of-charge so all children have access to playing and enjoying music together. Its highly acclaimed annual Youth Proms at Symphony Hall gives 4,000 young musicians the opportunity to perform to an audience of more than 10,000.

Sharon Bell, Services For Education’s charity’s chief executive, said the appointment would further enhance the already excellent delivery of music education in the city.

“Our appointment as Hub Lead will enable us to enhance our work in the city. This is great news for Birmingham and a reflection of the tremendous efforts made by all our staff including 187 music teachers who work so hard in the city’s schools and the community to enable children and young people to enjoy and experience music,” she said.

“Not only will this ensure continuity of our work, but our plan is to enable more children to participate in music and music-making. Birmingham can already be proud of the ground-breaking work undertaken in music in our city’s schools which has been recognised nationally and regionally and serves as a role model for others.”

Stuart Birnie, Head of Music Service at Services For Education, said being Hub Lead Organisation presented many opportunities for the city and its schools.

“The selection of Services For Education as one of 43 new Music Hub Lead Organisations in England is an endorsement of the work we have undertaken for the past 12 years – and of the important role that music plays in helping all children of all ages to develop.

“We have long believed that every young person in Birmingham should have the opportunity to participate in music whether learning an instrument, creating music together or learning to sing – and then to have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally. This news reinforces our commitment to the city and its young people,” he said.

“The appointment will also enable us to continue our work with a host of organisations nationally, regionally and in the city and to further develop work with our colleagues in the Birmingham Music Education Partnership with whom we work to coordinate music education provision and improve educational standards.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: “Music education is enormously powerful – it can enrich young people’s lives, help them connect with the people around them, and start them on the pathway to fruitful and fulfilling careers. We are excited to announce this investment in a new generation of Music Hubs, which will support the brilliant work of our dedicated music teachers across the country and help bring high-quality music education to even more children and young people in every part of England.”

Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “We can all relate to the importance of music in our lives, and the Arts Council welcomes the Department for Education’s continuing support for music education and the role it plays in the lives of children and young people. The Arts Council’s ambition is for every child to be inspired by the arts. This funding will support the new generation of Music Hubs to build on the great work of the programme to offer children across the Midlands opportunities to take part in musical activities, including learning an instrument, singing or exploring how music is created and produced.”