ED&I bootcamp – 15 music service colleagues complete our 4-week twilight sessions!

screenshot from one of the bootcamps

15 music service colleagues have now successfully completed our first three ED&I (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) bootcamp series (two sets pictured). After just four weeks, members of each group are clearly more confident about how to put equality, diversity and inclusion into action in their music services:

“This has been a really helpful opportunity to step away from the daily job and review both my own situation but gain insight into what work is being done about EDI in other areas of the country. Great to be able to support each other along with this!”  Emma Calvert. Head of Service, East Riding Schools’ Music Service

“The EDI bootcamp was the perfect way to kickstart our path towards a more inclusive music service, with many practical and realistic tips and plenty of discussion.”  Pili Lopez, Inclusion Project Manager, Dorset Music Service

“The ED&I tool is incredibly useful. I filled it out with our head of service, and then with our SLT, it was interesting to compare views, and helped us to identify easy gains. Also confirmed my instincts about the need to look at our policies.”

What does it involve?

Six music service managers/leaders meet online in each ED&I bootcamp ‘set’, at a regular time and day (usually early evening) in an open and supportive environment.

Each group is facilitated by Nick Denham, Head of Inclusion at Hertfordshire Music Service (which leads Changing Tracks), supported by Michael Davidson, Head of Rock, Pop and Family Music at Hertfordshire Music Service and also strategic lead for Changing Tracks.

The short sessions take participants through a practical process of assessing where they are now, creating a snapshot as a baseline for change, how to set realistic goals and create a plan, refine it to connect with stakeholders’ needs, and finally track your progress and adapt your goals.

The sessions use Youth Music’s ED&I action plan tools to turn discussion into action, and participants come away with a little helpful, practical, homework each week, and a plan of action for their service at the end of four weeks.

The key principles have been to:

●  start with and celebrate what you’re already doing

●  set realistic, incremental goals

●  support, coach, collaborate and learn together – there is no one-size-fits all approach

screenshot from one of the bootcamps

What have music services discussed so far?

Many common issues have emerged, often reflecting the challenges and drivers experienced by members of the National Working Group on Inclusion and detailed in Changing Tracks’ annual review and learning report: Embedding learning in the strategy and delivery of music services. Some of the comments have included:

“An understanding of what ED&I is”. “Getting people familiar with the ideas.” “How do we lever culture shift?” “Embedding inclusion so it’s owned throughout the service – good leadership carries on without leaders.” “How do we ensure that policies go beyond appearing in the handbook?” “There’s a value in getting people involved in ED&I but it needs to be the right time – perhaps using the ED&I self-assessment tool during CPD.”

“Confidence of staff (to deliver inclusion work) is a challenge.” “Getting buy-in from staff who are freelancers, and keeping them invested.”

“The community is very diverse, the workforce isn’t.” “How do you do diversity when all managers are white middle class classical musicians?” “How do you ensure the Hub board is more representative?”

“Learning music for personal and social outcomes is as valid as ‘high art’ music.”

“How ED&I sits within Hub rather than music service work – i.e. as part of a commissioning process.”

“Engaging local authority education services in music (ED&I work is a way to do this).”

“Working from the music service out, rather than the hub in.”

“Low scores on the ED&I self-assessment tool are valuable, initiate conversations between different people in the organisation.”

“Legacy – what happens in a school when the inclusion ‘project’ ends?”

What are some of the practical actions and ideas that resulted?

  • Discussion with the chair of the Hub board led to an agreement to fundraise for an ED&I catalyst programme to include training and delivery across partners.
  • An inclusion CPD day for the core team before the start of term.
  • Using staff appraisal forms as a focus – asking tutors to identify their own ED&I targets.
  • Asking staff 6 questions relating to ED&I, one per week, on different topics, to identify training needs – a different type of staff consultation.
  • Agreement to improve rates of representation in repertoire – starting point is that each ensemble will play a piece by a female or composers of colour, and funding allocated from music library budget.
  • Aiming to raise the profile of steel pan band playing – developing numbers and progression.
  • Talking about the inclusion work helped with conversations with schools.
  • Planning to develop an access ‘rider’ – a set of requirements that schools can complete to answer the question “What we need, to make your teaching the best for our pupils.”
  • Talking about a young person they’ve benefited, getting information from SENCOs’ perspective.
  • Getting help from the local authority ED&I teams around understanding and using the language of inclusion (e.g. not using terms like ‘handicapped’).
  • Talking to SENCos is a helpful start for understanding the value of flipping the outcomes of teaching (ie from traditional measures of musical progress, to incorporate social and personal progress).
  • Establishing a youth board including training for young people – beyond the ‘usual suspects’.
  • Increasing the voice of young people with SEN/D in the music service.
  • Arranging school visits to talk with headteacher and music lead about future provision.

“The EDI Bootcamp is a great starting point for creating an EDI Strategy and Action Plan. The rich conversations amongst Bootcamp leaders and members were really encouraging, insightful and helpful.”

“I have a meeting with the Head of Service on Monday morning – this is very good news.The Bootcamp is already having an effect!” – after session 1.

“I have found these sessions useful in many ways – making time to reflect on current ways of working, making opportunities to talk with colleagues. It’s not a quick fix, but it’s comforting to know that it’s not a quick fix for anyone.” – after session 3.

“…I am doing a lot of soul-searching about the appropriateness of our offer…I feel we are doing quite a lot of work to try to overcome “barriers to access” – maybe our question should be “access to what?” – after session 3.

Like what you’ve read? Interested in taking part in the next bootcamp? Visit the events section of our website and click on ‘ED&I bootcamps’.

Changing Tracks is a programme of peer support and learning for and with music services wanting to improve equality, diversity and inclusion. It is run by Hertfordshire Music Service and funded by Youth Music as part of the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England. It was previously called MusicNet East. We help music services to be more inclusive by providing peer networks – one of which is facilitated by Music Mark  – training and consultancy, advice and resources.

Find out more about us, or check out the other resources and blogs on this site for more help for music services, and visit the AMIE Musical Inclusion Resource Hub for more inclusion tools and guidance, blogs, videos, and case studies.

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