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TUC 2022 Supports Better Pay and Conditions for Instrumental and Vocal Teachers

People from across the trade union movement voiced their support for the MU’s music teacher members at Trades Union Congress 2022.

Published: 28 October 2022 | 5:12 PM
A drummer in a bright yellow jumper is playing on a kit in a practice room, looking to the side at a music stand.

The TUC’s General Council must now support the MU’s call for a pay and conditions framework for visiting music teachers to ensure they are recognised properly and treated equitably.

It’s part of the union’s Music for All work to ensure universal access to music education, and improve pay and conditions for members who teach.

Making the case to decision-makers

Music Education was also the MU’s call at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, following the release of a Fabian Society report on music education in England, which was supported by the MU.

It comes after the release of the substantial, detailed and ambitious National Plan for Music Education in Wales, which includes specific commitments on teacher’s pay and conditions.

Find out more in MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl’s party conference update.

General election now

While universal access to music education has cross-party support, the quickest way to secure it and protect music teachers’ pay and conditions, is a Labour Government.

It’s also the best way to protect trade union rights like the right to strike, which is under threat.

Join the TUC’s mass rally on Wednesday 2 November.

Full text of the MU motion to Trades Union Congress 2022

Pay and conditions for instrumental and vocal teachers (known as visiting music teachers or VMTs) are unregulated and vary enormously.

There is no standard framework for engaging them and most are not covered by schoolteachers’ pay and conditions. This makes VMTs a poor relation among teachers, mainly paid by the hour and only for direct contact time with pupils. Breaks and preparation are usually unpaid, as is travel between schools which is a regular feature of the working day.

Some VMTs are forced on to dubious self-employed agreements, while other are engaged on precarious zero-hour contracts. Rates of pay have barely increased over the last decade.

Many music education hubs (Department for Education-funded providers of instrumental lessons in schools) have permanent vacancies for VMTs, who are increasingly migrating to the private sector. This undermines UK governments’ policies on music education – particularly Wales and England, which have both published music education plans this year that promise instrumental lessons for all children. Wales has at least pledged to review VMTs’ terms, while England is currently doing nothing to address the issue.

Congress calls on the General Council to support the Musicians’ Union in asking for UK governments to develop a pay and conditions framework for VMTs to ensure they are treated equitably and recognised properly.

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