Sunday, 20 December 2009

What Wales can learn from Venezuela

From the Assembly's Record of Proceedings:

Leanne Wood: Among the most successful and progressive policies of the Venezuelan Government is to commit to giving every child a musical instrument and music lessons. Compare that with the recent decision by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council to consult on proposals to downgrade peripatetic music teachers to instructors, which would cut their salaries by around £10,000 a year. That would have a devastating effect on the teaching of music in schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Would you be prepared to look at Rhondda Cynon Taf’s proposals to see whether they fit in with your department’s priorities? If you find that they do not, will you seek an avenue whereby you can intervene?

Jane Hutt: I refer you to my written statement of 15 October on the review of music education that I have launched. I am sure that all local authorities in Wales, including Rhondda Cynon Taf, will engage with and welcome that review. The membership of that review group includes representatives of the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Local Government Association, Estyn, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and, importantly, practising music teachers. They will be reviewing current provision for 3 to 19-year-olds, mapping present support given by local authorities, and identifying how music provision in Wales can be strengthened.

But Rhondda Cynon Taf are making cuts now, before Jane's review comes out. A newly-made redundant music teacher contacted me last week. What's the point in RCT engaging and welcoming the review after they've sacked or downgraded all their teachers?

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