MU Education Reps are a grassroots level liaison between the MU and music education workplaces in the UK. The MU Education Reps can operate across a broad remit, from conservatoires, specialist music schools and music services across the four nations of the UK.
Becoming a Rep: my own experience lit a spark for union involvement
I started my music teaching career in 2002 as a secondary school music teacher. Over the next few years, I worked as a music educator in a variety of settings, until I hung up my secondary teaching hat in 2015.
During this time, various circumstances meant I had to rely on union support, so I found that upon leaving the classroom that year, my experience had lit a spark for union involvement. I vowed to ‘pay forward’ the excellent assistance I had received when I really needed it.
In late 2015 I started working on a freelance basis for our local music hub in Halifax, alongside supply work. As the freelance music making grew, I found a love for primary music provision and Kodaly pedagogy, and my timetable began to fill.
I made enquiries and was soon part of a really dedicated team of fellow Education Reps.
A friend of mine who was heavily involved with the MU suggested I become a Hub Rep (as they were then called), I realised that this was my opportunity to help colleagues ‘on the chalk face’. I made enquiries and was soon part of a really dedicated team of fellow Education Reps.
We share ideas, advice and understanding of the wider picture of music education in the UK. Education reps come from a variety of settings, with hub models that work in almost as many different ways as there are hubs.
We are extremely lucky to work for a music hub that values the MU and its input
In 2019 our music hub began to make plans to change working conditions for colleagues, moving from a self-employed model to employment. The MU and other unions were involved in the contract and terms of employment consultations, and prior to that had been invited to deliver a day of CPD on IR35 and employment law.
The MU were incredibly supportive throughout the process, as we moved through contractual changes and the Covid 19 pandemic, which just happened to run concurrently.
The last 18 months have seen further changes to pay structures and working hours, and Calderdale Music management have been keen to work with the union and take on advice given during consultation meetings.
It’s an utter privilege to be able to work with and for colleagues
Part of my role as Education Rep, which is quite unique to Calderdale Music I think (though Rep colleagues might prove me wrong), is that I meet regularly with our Principal to bring to him issues raised by members.
It’s great to work for a Music Hub that is so passionate about working in partnership with a union.
The nature of these topics vary, but can range from policy queries and suggestions to issues regarding terms and conditions, or day to day teaching queries. Asking teaching colleagues for their questions and suggestions, and taking these to our management team is a really important and enjoyable part of my role.
We have a Music Leader’s WhatsApp group for support where issues can be raised there, or confidentially in private. It’s great to work for a Music Hub that is so passionate about working in partnership with a union.
It goes without saying that part of the Education Rep role is to help the Union with member recruitment. But it’s also an utter privilege to be able to work with and for colleagues, and a pleasure to see them take up all the benefits that the MU provides.
I really do feel I’m making a difference
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that trade unions are vital in such ever changing times, and that they are making real differences to working lives.
MU Education Reps are a diverse, friendly group of people.
Becoming an Education Rep has really enabled me to play a positive, productive role in music education in the UK. I really do feel I’m making a difference in a part of the sector that is often seen as a little mysterious and overlooked.
MU Education Reps are a diverse, friendly group of people. They are passionate about their roles, bridging the gap between those working in music education and a union that really cares about supporting its members.
Do you work in Music Education?
MU Education Reps are a grassroots level liaison between the MU and music education workplaces in the UK.
Find out more about Education Reps