The Musicians’ Union (MU) is supporting its members who have set up Milton Keynes music co-operative, which launched this week.
The MU objected strongly when Milton Keynes council announced its decision in October 2013 to make nearly 100 instrumental teachers redundant. However the Council pushed ahead with its redundancy plans. The MU has provided practical support and advice since that decision to a core group of dedicated teachers who rallied their colleagues to set up the Milton Keynes Music Co-operative.
Like other long established music teaching co-operatives in Newcastle, Swindon and Grimsby, the music co-operative is a not-for-profit organisation. With a membership of 60 self-employed teachers the cooperative will work alongside the skeleton Milton Keynes music service as part of the local Music Hub, to ensure delivery to children in the area of instrumental lessons.
Milton Keynes music co-operative members are all experienced and highly qualified teachers committed to the highest standards of teaching.
MU organiser for education and training, Diane Widdison, said: ‘Their commitment to being part of a collaborative body, sharing resources, developing good practice, and offering consistency to schools, parents and children, is typical of the vocational drive we find among music teachers.
‘We applaud these teachers who, whilst facing redundancy and all the stress this entails, devoted huge energy and time, to finding a way for teachers to stay together and not be cast out into a competitive landscape where increased competition tends so often to lead to under cutting and a gradual erosion of teaching standards.’
The MU is a member of Co-operatives UK, an umbrella group for the co-operative movement.
Jane Grindley, a consultant from Co-operative Futures, said: ‘I am delighted to be working with the Milton Keynes Music Co-operative. It is a pleasure to deal with dedicated professionals determined to build a sustainable business to enable them to keep music teaching at the highest quality.’