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HMEH Inclusion Strategy

HMEH Equality Statement


Herefordshire Music Education Hub is committed to equality and valuing diversity within its Board and Sub-Hub (working party) membership and within the workforce of its Lead Organisation and delivery partners.


Herefordshire has a predominately white population with c98% identifying as of ‘white’ origin. This lack of cultural diversity may result in a lack of appreciation and understanding of ‘non-traditional’ British cultures. EYM ensembles, including popular music, and WCET projects should include music from a range of cultures across the world and lyrics that raise and challenge issues of equality and diversity.


Our goal is to ensure that our commitment to equality and diversity is embedded in our day-to-day working practices with all our stakeholders and delivery partners.


HMEH promotes equality of opportunity and will not tolerate discrimination on grounds of gender, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, religion, age, disability, working pattern, caring responsibilities, trade union activity or political beliefs – or any other grounds.

We will demonstrate our commitment by:


  • treating Hub Board and Sub-Hub members, children & young people, parents/carers, practitioners, school/college colleagues and delivery partners/organisations fairly and with respect


  • promoting equality of opportunity and diversity in the provision of musical opportunities and engagement of delivery partners/organisations 


  • promoting equality of opportunity and diversity within the communities in which we deliver activities and with all our stakeholders and delivery partners and their workforces


  • encouraging the Hub Lead Organisation to build a workforce which reflects the local communities in which we work, with the aim of having parity of representation across the workforce


  • encouraging the Hub Lead Organisation to recruit from groups currently under-represented in our local context and promoting an environment free from discrimination, bullying and harassment, and tackling behaviour which breaches this


  • recognising and valuing the differences and individual contribution that people make


Every HMEH Board and Sub-Hub member has a personal responsibility for implementing and promoting these principles.



HMEH is committed to ensuring and developing equality of opportunity for all children and young people regardless of race; gender; where they live; their levels of musical talent; parental income; whether they have special educational needs or disabilities; and whether they are looked after children. Remissions and subsidies are summarised at the end of this section and also referred to within the relevant sections of this Local Plan for Music Education.


HMEH’s aspiration is that every young person with musical interests, including those in challenging circumstances:


  • is aware of the musical opportunities provided by the Hub

  • feels that the Hub is ‘for them’ because the Hub engages with them in ways that are helpful to the young person and take account of their needs, interests and abilities

  • can easily engage with the Hub and sustain that engagement in ways that are satisfactory to the young person

  • is helped to progress musically, personally and socially.


Definitions of challenging circumstances include the following:


  • Life condition - Young people with a permanent condition such as a disability, impairment or a condition such as for example those on the autistic spectrum.

  • Geographical Issues - Young people with a challenge related to where they live. This could be about such issues as rural isolation or living in areas of social and economic deprivation or issues of geographical safety

  • Background –where coming from a particular minority background – whether that be ethnic, cultural or faith based, in some way spotlights issues around accessing and progressing through music

  • Life circumstances - Young people who bully or are being bullied, who live in state or foster care, refugees - to name but some.

  • Behavioural issues - Young people with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties especially those who become excluded from mainstream school.

(Mullen 2011- adapted 2019) 


The Hub will make the continued development of inclusive practice a priority for 2023-24.


Inclusion Lead – Roles and responsibilities


The Hub Lead Organisation’s Inclusion Lead is the CEO.


The Inclusion Lead should have experience in working in special schools and in delivering upon a broad range of ED&I (beyond SEND).


Inclusion Lead roles and responsibilities include:

  • Championing equality, diversity and inclusion, embedding musical inclusion across all areas of the HLO’s work

  • Ensuring the HLO Trustees, staff and freelancers have a full understanding of ED&I and receive training as appropriate. This includes ensuring that aspects of ED&I regular feature in staff training

  • Promoting/championing ED&I at Hub Board meetings and reminding the Hub Board of their responsibilities in this area as and when necessary

  • Ensuring colleagues understand that ED&I is much more than simply ‘working in special schools’ and promoting the much broader ‘inclusion’ agenda

  • As Inclusion Lead, developing personal skills by periodically working directly with those who have SEND, may be marginalised or struggling to access opportunities – for example, those with mental health issues, older people, those on low incomes and looked after children.


Developing an inclusive culture


Over the last 11 years, the HLO has developed significantly to ensure it delivers upon ED&I. It has been transformed from an organisation focussed significantly upon achieving high examination grades and traditional ensembles, to one which now includes a much broader cultural offer, focusses on aspects such as affordability, has greatly increased its offer to special schools and now offers pre-school and adult activities including for older people. The HLO Board has further promoted ED&I by taking on a subsidiary charity with a focus that included adults with disabilities, and older people. This has been a significant cultural change with staff appointed to work specifically in those areas.


Following the first few years of development, the HLO took advice from consultants and in particular from Dr Phil Mullen. Their expertise was used to challenge and drive forward the ED&I agenda. From this, developed a partnership with MAC Makes Music and Soundabout increased services to special schools, support for mental health and wellbeing and provision of training events with a focus on inclusion. Positions such as Singing for Wellbeing Leader, inclusion Leader and Youth Voice Leader have replace positions such as strings coordinator and examinations officer. Indeed the HLO plan for the next 12 months is to establish a music and skills cultural hub (premises) to improve access and establish a home for opportunities for marginalised groups.


These significant steps have led to a massive cultural change in the HLO over the last 11 years which has been developed in partnership with the Hub Board.


This Inclusion Strategy was reviewed in November 2023 by the HLO’s CEO, the HMEH Strategy Manager and the HLO’s Music Education Manager and will be reviewed on an annual basis.


Inclusion action plan – summary


Inclusion Strategy Day held with managers of the Hub Lead Organisation and Dr Phil Mullen.


The purpose of the day was to:

  • Enhance understanding of ‘Inclusion’ and review different models of ‘Inclusion’

  • Review current inclusive practice and opportunities:

  • identify strengths,

  • challenges,

  • opportunities and

  • summarise possible next steps


  • Consider strategy implications for Inclusion in light of the Herefordshire context, including

    • Short-term actions

    • Medium term goals

    • Long term vision


Achieved and/or ongoing

  • Capacity for developing inclusion reviewed

  • Embedding inclusion within the Hub/Hub Lead Organisation by further development of inclusive values

  • Workforce development –‘Inclusion Champions’ established of as part of the ‘All Included’ project in partnerships with MAC Makes Music

  • Developing SEND support within WCET in partnership with OHMI Trust

  • Establishing SEND ensemble – pilot of Herefordshire Online Inclusive Choir in partnership with MAC Makes Music and Soundabout

  • Process to establish demographics/need of geographical areas

  • Engage with Virtual School to deliver activities for LAC via Livewire provision

  • Promotion of mental health / wellbeing – Singing for Wellbeing Leader is in post, planning, promoting and delivering a range of projects for schools and the wider community


Short term actions

  • Request that the Hub Lead Organisation reviews its EDI Strategy, linking to the Hub’s strategy (HLO management team)

  • Ongoing liaison with special schools regarding support for musical activities

  • Further develop inclusion partnerships – LA departments and Inclusion officers – health and social care; SEMH; LAC

  • Liaise with the Inclusion Lead at Severn Arts over the potential for an Inclusion Network for implementation post September 2024

  • Consider strategies/projects for children who do not engage when in WCET classes

Inclusion – Schools - Context


Herefordshire has 4 special schools and 1 PRU:


Blackmarston School, Hereford


State-funded, co-educational. Age range:  2 - 11 years with 67 full time places. Some younger children attend on a part time basis initially. There are 10 classes including a Nursery. The school caters exclusively for children who have special educational needs (SEN), including:


  • Complex learning difficulty and disabilities (CLDD)

  • Profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD)

  • Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)

  • Multiple sensory impairment (MSI)


Westfield School, Leominster


A maintained Special School for pupils with severe or complex learning difficulties. Age range:  2 - 19 years. Commissioned to take 64 pupils, its catchment area is loosely North Herefordshire, but also has students from South Shropshire, West Worcestershire and East Powys. There are six class bases, two sensory areas, a specialist food technology room, therapy room, multi-purpose hall and sensory garden.


Barrs Court School/Beacon College


Barrs Court School is a secondary phase Special Academy. Age range: 11-19 years. The recently opened Beacon College caters for 16-19 year olds. There are 113 pupils on roll. 


The range of learning disability the school makes specialist provision for includes:


  • Profound and Multiple learning difficulty (PMLD)

  • Severe learning difficulty (SLD)

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


The Brookfield School


The Brookfield School is a KS2 – KS4 Special Academy. Age Range: 7 - 16 years. No. of Pupils on roll: 85. Brookfield also offers intervention placements for a small number of pupils who are on roll with a mainstream primary school but who are at risk of exclusion or are awaiting assessment for an EHCP.


All pupils have EHCP for Social, Emotional and Mental Health additional needs alongside coexisting diagnoses such as ADHD, Attachment Disorder, Autism and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. 


Herefordshire Pupil Referral Service (HPRS)


Herefordshire Pupil Referral Service (HPRS) has 65 places for pupils in Years 7-11, split across Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 Centres.  The Local Authority commissions 55 places for priority permanently excluded pupils.  There are an additional 10 places that can be commissioned directly from schools.


Pupils referred to the service present with continuing, concerning, challenging behaviour and will have received previous interventions from within their mainstream schools, often with multi-agency involvement.


In addition, the H3 centre provides up to 25 full-time places for pupils who are unable to access mainstream education for issues relation to anxiety, mental health and severe medical conditions.


Special School Delivery


In light of learning and insights gained during our ‘All Included!’ project, including feedback received from a nationally renowned inclusion specialist, HLO Managers continue to liaise with Herefordshire’s special schools, PRU and other alternative education settings to provide a music education offer, projects and activities that are tailored to the specific needs and aspirations of each setting.


Consultation methods consist of initial contact by email followed by telephone conversations and in-person visits to each school as requested.


Options for SEND group music-making provision will focus on linking interested young people (SMEH) with Livewire and ongoing exploration of options for providing suitable musical opportunities for young people with MLD, SLD and PMLD. (See Ensembles Section of this LPME)


Blackmarston Special School (Primary)


Music provision is provided by a HLO accredited freelance specialist SEND practitioner for 1 morning per week to KS 1 for half a year followed by KS 2 for the remaining half. Each session lasts for ½ hour. Communication is the primary aim/key objective for all learning at the school and music is a tool to develop communication skills, self-esteem, concentration and teamwork. Lessons focus on percussion, body movement, games as well as regular opportunities for singing. Specialist music provision is supplemented by school staff using Charanga’s SEND online resources.


During 2023-24, HMEH will continue to provide a specialist freelance practitioner to deliver curriculum music and review, with school colleagues, opportunities for enhancing music provision further. 


Barr Court (Yrs. 7 - 11) and Beacon College (Yrs. 12 - 13)


At Barrs Court, music is integrated within a Creative Curriculum – there are no discrete weekly music lessons. Music is also integrated within KS3 topic work and an arts week in the spring term. Students participate in Arts Award and composition has featured as a part of this.


At KS4/5 the educational focus is on developing students’ independence, life and living skills. Music is not offered as a discrete exam option. However, students have option to study subjects of interest such as creative media and music can feature in this.


In the past, in-house provision has been enhanced by termly or half-termly projects (as pupils can have short attention spans and tend to find the social demands of performing with others challenging) delivered by visiting freelance practitioners. Topics have included DJing, rap, and percussion (junk percussion). Barrs Court School/Beacon College was a key partner for the Hub’s ‘All Included’ project. The review of options to build on the success of All Included’ is ongoing.


During 2023-24, HMEH will work with Barrs Court/Beacon College to consider options for group music-making activities.


Westfield (Yrs. R – 18)


Westfield employ an independent freelance music practitioner 1 day per week, delivering music as a ‘therapeutic activity’. Music is delivered to classes across the primary age range and up to Yr. 8. Lesson content is appropriate to the needs of the children/young people and includes singing (action songs) with signing (‘Sing along’) and some instrumental work including copying rhythms/beats with ukulele tuned to ‘C’. Specialist music provision is supported by the Hub through instrument loans, advice and participation in projects such as ‘Music on the Move’.


During 2023-24, HMEH will continue to liaise with school staff to promote Hub provision and determine the best options to support the musical needs and aspirations of its students, including possibilities for group-musicmaking activities.


Brookfield School


Brookfield School was a key partner for the Hub’s ‘All Included’ project. School staff were keen to give students the opportunity to perform as a ‘band’. This was successfully achieved with musical, social and personal development clearly in evidence. A curriculum ‘band’ project was piloted and continues with HLO staff and freelance practitioners developing performance and ensemble skills in popular music genres for all students Years 6 to 9.


During 2023-24, HMEH will continue to deliver curriculum music provision based on popular music genres to Years 6 to 9.


Herefordshire Pupil Referral Service (HPRS) - Aconbury Centre


The Aconbury Centre caters for KS 3 students who attend on a short-term intervention basis. Maths, English and PE are the only curriculum subjects. Staff do not consider the provision of group music projects appropriate but seek to foster musical interest through the provision of individual instrumental/vocal tuition.


Herefordshire Pupil Referral Service (HPRS) - St David’s Centre


At St David’s (KS 4), GCSEs are offered in Maths, English, Art, ICT and Food Technology. Music does not feature as a discrete curriculum subject. Staff seek to foster musical talent as it emerges and in the past, students with musical interests are encouraged to pursue ‘extra-curricular’ off-site opportunities such as ‘Livewire’ which focuses on vocal technique, songwriting, rap and production skills.


During 2023-24, HMEH will continue to engage with PRU staff to promote Hub provision and determine the best options to support the musical needs and aspirations of its students.


Mainstream SEND Provision


Through our partnership with the OHMI Trust, HMEH will continue to support children and young people to access music provision, such as WCET, with adapted instruments.


During 2023-24, the HLO’s Music Education Manager will continue to liaise with music coordinators in mainstream schools to assess ways in which SEND children and young people in mainstream settings can be effectively supported to access music education.


Additional Provision


Special Schools are invited to participate in Hub projects such as ‘Music on the Move’ with Hereford College of Arts and HLO tutors.


Looked after children and young people


In meetings with the Virtual Head, various musical opportunities specifically for LAC have been proposed. However, surveys undertaken with LAC themselves indicate that, at the present time, the young people prefer to participate in existing provision with their peers, rather than be labelled as ‘LAC’. For 2023-24, therefore, no additional musical opportunities specifically for LAC will be provided. However, this will be kept under review in consultation with the Virtual Head and looked after children and young people.


SEND Group Music Making Opportunities


EYM ensembles including Livewire, are open access and young people with diagnoses such as MLD, SEMH, ADHD and visual impairment attend.


Our ‘All Included’ Project, delivered in partnership with MAC Makes Music, piloted potential ensemble opportunities for young people with SEMH (Social, Emotional, Mental Health) and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities). Young people with SEMH diagnoses interested in taking part in music making opportunities beyond curriculum provision successfully access Livewire provision.


For young people with MLD, SLD and PMLD, the HLO’s Music Education Manager has contacted special schools to undertake needs analysis and explore the potential for providing bespoke musical opportunities for 2023-24.


Soundabout Choir


The HLO has a partnership with Soundabout, who advocate building musical communities without barriers. They provide an inclusive online choir which meets on a Saturday every two weeks.


Charging, remissions and subsidies


Accredited Teacher Scheme


There is no charge to Herefordshire Music Education Hub/Encore Music Service partner schools to access the Accredited Teacher List. All costs associated with the Accredited Teacher scheme are subsidised with DfE grant funding.


Whole Class Ensemble Tuition (WCET)


DfE funding is used to subsidise the cost to schools of WCET provision. Schools that are able to deliver their own ‘in-house’ whole class instrumental tuition receive either a subsidy to purchase a subscription to Charanga’s ‘Musical School’ online resources or resources of their own choice.


Singing Opportunities


School participation in Hub singing opportunities is subsidised with DfE grant funding.


CPD and Training


Schools receive one free CPD support visit from the HLO’s Music Education Manager, subsidised by DfE grant funding. The Primary and Secondary/College Music Network meetings and other CPD and training opportunities are subsidised by DfE grant funding.


Instrument Hire


Free instrument hire is available to pupils in receipt of Free School Meals due to low income. The cost to Herefordshire pupils for instrument hire is also subsidised with DfE grant funding.


Encore Youth Music


Pupils in receipt of Free School Meals have free access to Encore Youth Music ensembles. Part of our DfE funding is used to subsidise the subscription cost to all pupils. Subsidised EYM family membership is available. Children and young people under 18 years can attend Encore Youth Music concerts free of charge.


Herefordshire Music Fund


The Herefordshire Music Fund is an independent registered charity that provides instrumental / vocal tuition and activity bursaries for children and young people from families in challenging financial circumstances.

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