Sir Simon conducts music inquest

4th September 1998 at 01:00
THE biggest single provider of school music lessons is a charity formed by a Burton on Trent-based instrument retailer, writes Diane Spencer.

Normans, whose charity now caters for about 1,000 schools, stepped into the music market to plug gaps caused by cuts. Its foundation supplies music teachers to schools that agree to hire or buy Normans instruments.

This finding emerges in a Channel 4 documentary on the school music funding crisis presented by Sir Simon Rattle and due to be screened this weekend.

Sir Simon, who has given high-profile backing to the TES Music for the Millennium campaign, says in the 50-minute programme that "our kids are paying for years of musical neglect".

He adds that in 1990 local education authorities spent Pounds 100 million a year on music education, compared with today's Pounds 39m.

He concludes: "The talent's there, the enthusiasm, and the teachers who refuse to be beaten. We're living on a tiny island but we've got world-class musical talent. Let's not start the next century saying 'Well if only I".

Sir Simon visited schools in four authorities to assess the damage caused by the cuts.

Don't stop the music will be screened by Channel 4 on Sunday September 6, at 3.35pm

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