About The Music Hub

Read below what a music hub is as we try to answer the following questions: ; What is the reason for music education hubs?; What are hubs and what do they do?; What about music services? are they the same as hubs?

What is a music education hub?

What is the reason for music education?

Music Education is an important aspect of providing children with well-rounded education. When allowed to work, in harmony with other subjects and areas of study, music helps children grow in self-esteem, build essential skills and prepare for bright futures.

What are hubs and what do they do?

Music hubs (or music education hubs) are regional groups of organisations in England – such as local authority departments, schools, other hubs, arts organisations, community or voluntary organisations.

Funded by central government via grants administered by Arts Council England, the hubs – or, rather, the organisations within them – work to create ‘joined-up music education provision’.

Jargon-buster: ‘Joined-up music education provision’ includes peripatetic instrumental and vocal teaching (extending to new specialisms like music production and dj-ing), professional development for teachers, and organising local/regional bands, orchestras and choirs.


What about music services? Are they the same as hubs?

Hubs are coordinated by the hub ‘lead organisation’, which takes on responsibility for the funding and governance of the hub, including reporting back to Arts Council England, which holds the purse-strings on behalf of the government.

Many, but not all, lead organisations are local authority music services. Historically, music services (usually departments of local authorities) used to be responsible as the key providers of professional development, peripatetic instrumental/vocal teaching, bands, orchestras and choirs to state-funded schools in their region. In Swindon, the Music Service was a local authority department but in 2019 spun-out of the local authority to form a not-for-profit Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) and it retains the lead organisation role of the hub.

This process was undertaken to allow the Swindon music hub to develop, expand and broaden its partnerships. Developing partnership working across the hub in turn enhances the range of music offers to children and young people.

After the publication of the National Plan for Music Education in 2011, two things changed:

music services were replaced as local providers by music hubs. But, because many hubs had music services as their lead organisation, the outside perception (and the practical reality in many cases) was that the music service had just renamed itself and added other subsidiary organisations (the local hub partners) within its hub umbrella.

· through the government’s education policy of ‘academisation’, increasing numbers of previously state-funded schools moved away from direct local authority control, becoming quasi-independent. They were then free to start buying music-related services from a range of providers, rather than only from the music service. In other words, market forces started coming into play, resulting in music services/hubs losing their virtual monopolistic status.

In Swindon, our hub has developed into a wider and broader group with an emphasis on improving an inclusive offer by working together and sharing good practice. By this, Swindon Music Hub is reaching out to local, regional and national music providers with a specialist knowledge in certain areas to enable us to achieve our inclusive strategy.


How we are funded

Music hubs in England are funded by central government (Department for Education (DfE) through the Arts Council England (ACE).  The funding is to be used a seed funding to allow hubs to create a mixed economy using the funding to generate more income.

Local Authority allocations of funding are worked out using school pupils numbers weighted with those receiving free school meal.

Local Authority allocations for 2022 can be found here