Music service celebrations on hold

A SUFFOLK teaching union leader today said he is “not rejoicing yet” despite county bosses announced a u-turn on swingeing cuts to a popular education service.

A SUFFOLK teaching union leader today said he is “not rejoicing yet” despite county bosses announced a u-turn on swingeing cuts to a popular education service.

Plans to cut £331,000 of funding to the School Music Service to plug a £22million budget shortfall for 2007/08 have been reassessed by Suffolk County Council leaders. They have now told the Evening Star the cuts will be nearer £30,000, 10per cent of the original figure.

However, the move has received only a cautious welcome from National Union of Teachers' (NUT) county secretary Martin Goold.

He said: “Suffolk NUT is very pleased with this news as the original cuts could not have been made without taking away opportunities for our children to make music and learn instruments to a high standard.

“Even so, we are not rejoicing as yet. Although this is a reprieve for the coming year, the indications are that further cuts will be required in future years, unless the council and central Government take positive measures to provide enough money so services such as the County Music School can continue.

“The NUT is anxious that our members in the music school are not expected to subsidise the music school by having to work harder for the same, or less money.

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“Although we need a flexible service, not all the flexibility should come from the employees.”

Patricia O'Brien, Suffolk County councillor responsibile for children, schools and young people's services, said: “We value it [the service] greatly and have carefully considered the potential impact that reductions may have on music and performing arts.”

n Does your child benefit from the county music service? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblinks:

www.suffolk.gov.uk

www.suffolknut.org.uk

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