Save Our Music: Stop withdrawal of Hull schools from local Music Service!
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I am a pupil at St Mary's College in Hull, where our headmaster Mr Fitzpatrick, who has influence in many leading secondary schools in the area, has decided discreetly, with next to no public knowledge, to pull out our school from the Hull Music service.
Although the details surrounding this monumental and upsetting change are still vague (in spite of a multitude of questions from concerned parents and pupils) what is clear is that the music teachers who come into our school from the music service to teach and support anyone who plays a musical instrument, will no longer be allowed to teach the St Mary's students they have helped and supported, often over a period of many years. What is more, Mr Fitzpatrick, CEO and Executive Headteacher, when questioned, admits that he fully intends to get the other schools in the area, which contain a sizeable amount of musicians from the Albemarle Music Service, to follow his example.
The Albemarle would not be able to survive if this happens.
And why? Mr Fitzpatrick intends to set up his own school music service. Aside from the fact that our headteacher has openly admitted that he has little musical knowledge himself, his claims that he will be able to provide similar opportunities and support as our current music service may sound impressive, but when questioned as to how it will be funded, how they will provide instruments for students, how it could possibly function as well as the Albemarle, he has given no exact information.
In fact, the only evidence that any of this was going to happen, is the job advert for new music teachers on the rarely used school website, only one week before he started interviews for these jobs. Parents and students alike, had absolutely no idea that this would happen even though, according to Senior staff at the school, this has been planned for almost a year! Awareness of Mr Fitzpatrick's plans is still very low, despite the best efforts of Albemarle supporters, and so many students have little idea that their musical education will be so terribly interrupted and degraded due to these changes.
Help stop St Mary's from pulling out of the Music Service!
When I was 8, I began to learn percussion, and after 8 years with the same percussion teacher, who has stuck with me through thick and thin, supported me (although suffering from illness throughout some of this time), and is now very much a good friend as well as teacher, I can't imagine having to go through my A level year and my grade 8 exam, which I plan to take at Christmas, without her. I know the same to be true for so many other pupils at St Mary's and I am particularly concerned for younger students, who are at earlier stages with their instrument and for whom a change in teacher would be perhaps equally disruptive and more worrying, as they are at a stage where many students quit without the constant support and guidance of their music teachers.
It is however painfully clear why St Mary's has chosen now to make such a move: there is going to be a changeover in the head of the Albemarle, after our previous head and conductor has retired. The fact that the school has chosen this moment to strike, when the Albemarle is at it's most vulnerable, on top of its lack of publicity of such plans, when they concern and affect so many, just reveals how underhand St Mary's has been.
The Albemarle Music Service has suffered many threats in the past from cuts to funding etc, however we have stayed afloat thanks to the protests of not only the young people involved and committed to the Music Service, but also the support from parents, who are determined to give their kids a brighter future through the music tuition, bands, and ensembles (the last 2 of which are entirely free) that the Music Service provides.
Furthermore, only recently the Music Service took 24 coaches of Hull school children down to the Albert Hall, to sing and play music in a once in a lifetime opportunity.
And this is how St Mary's repays them?
Please sign this petition in the hope that our voices will be heard against this underhand and devastating decision.
(There is a meeting on Thursday 24th May at the Albemarle for concerned parents. Please attend to give as much support as possible.)
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