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School Visiting Music Teacher Guide

Advice on what visiting music teachers (VMTs) require from schools to do their jobs effectively.

Last updated: 26 January 2024

This information is taken from the Charter for Visiting Music Teachers, which we produced jointly with the National Education Union (NEU) to give practical advice on how schools can best support VMTs.

Those wishing to read and circulate the full Charter for Visiting Music Teachers.

This advice should be useful to headteachers, heads of music, school managers, hub and music service leaders and any other employers or engagers of VMTs.

Who are VMTs and what do they do?

VMTs, also known as peripatetic music teachers, undertake a wide range of roles in schools including:

  • One-to-one instrumental/vocal lessons
  • Whole-class instrumental/vocal/ensemble teaching
  • Curriculum/classroom music teaching
  • After-school music clubs and groups

What schools should supply to VMTs?

  • Opening times and building access details
  • Emergency evacuation and fire drill details
  • School map
  • Timetable
  • Term dates
  • Dates of exams, reading/revision weeks, sports days and other key events
  • Information about any forthcoming Ofsted or Estyn inspections or other observations
  • Key staff information and contacts, including the responsible officer for safeguarding
  • Policies and procedures
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Pupils’ special needs or safeguarding needs if relevant
  • Expectations for lessons, e.g. upcoming concerts or exams to prepare for

Other ways schools can help VMTs

Be clear on who the VMTs are employed by

Are the VMTs employed directly by the school? Or are they employed by a music education hub (MEH). Are they an agency worker? Are they self-employed?

Schools should know the implications of these differences, e.g. regarding how information is communicated and how work is managed.

Have a policy on DBS checks depending on the above

If there is a third-party involved such as a MEH or agency it is the third party’s responsibility to have carried out the checks on VMTs’ suitability to work with children.

Schools should not request or take copies of VMTs’ DBS certificates or ID documents – only a DBS number is required for the school to verify identity and suitability to teach.

Take all reasonable steps to support VMTs’ work

For example, they should ensure that classroom teachers do not prevent pupils leaving class for music lessons, and encouraging pupils to attend lessons promptly without waiting to be collected from the classroom.

Approach timetabling constructively

They should consider the time needed for a lesson and prior set-up.

Provide a reasonable and well-equipped teaching space

Dealing with isolation at work

Make all reasonable efforts to mitigate VMTs ’feelings of isolation at work, for example, by welcoming them into the school.

IR35 legislation compliance

Ensure that self-employed VMTs are engaged in a way that is compliant with IR35 legislation.

Read the full VMT Guide

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