Music tuition shake-up for Newham Academy

The future of the Newham Academy of Music has been secured. The announcement was made on Monday.

Following discussions between the Newham Music Trust and Newham Council, the authority will provide a final payment to the Trust, over and above the music grants already contributed in previous years.

A joint statement said: “This will be used to deliver children’s music provision for the remainder of this academic year. The Trust has also received funding from the Cabinet Office and can now press ahead with its organisational restructure to ensure it becomes a competitive and robust organisation.

The Trust and Council share a commitment to support access to music tuition for all children across Newham. This is evidenced by the introduction of the council’s Every Child a Musician programme, which provides primary school children with two years’ free music tuition and an instrument, and by the Trust’s Wider Opportunities whole class tuition programme.”

The council is now revising its music strategy for children.

The Academy of Music now has a new leadership team, as Helen Mason has decided to stand down in her role as Chief Executive Officer of the Newham Music Trust that runs the Academy. Chris Brannick and Judith Goodman, former senior managers, become Joint Chief Executive Officers with immediate effect.

Helen Mason started teaching in Newham in 1989 and took over the leadership of the Newham Music Trust shortly after it became independent in 1996. Under her guidance, the Trust was twice judged to be ‘Outstanding’ by the government-backed MSEP programme, one of only a handful of music services nationally to have achieved this feat.

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Mr Brannick and Ms Goodman, who were the senior managers will oversee the restructure of the Music Trust and its further development.

Judith, who studied French horn at the Royal College of Music, has been in charge of the Trust’s Schools’ Music department, while Chris, a Professor of percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, has been overseeing the instrumental provision.

The Trust plans to hold a fundraising farewell concert in the next half term, which will be advertised widely and open to all.

Ms Mason said: “After a wonderful time I feel that in order for the Trust to respond to local and national agendas for music education, it needs to develop a new kind of music service that complements the aims of the council and embraces new opportunities.

“But I feel that it no longer represents the Music Trust that I helped to set up. They are well placed to take on the role of moving the Trust forward. I wish t the Newham Academy of Music well.”

Christine Bowden, Chair of Trustees for the Newham Music Trust, said: “Helen has been an inspiration to thousands of children in her time in charge. We will all miss her and her constant good humour in the face of some challenging times”