The first ever Wiltshire Music Education Awards were launched this year by Wiltshire Music Connect.
The awards are designed to celebrate people and schools in the county who dedicate themselves to creating outstanding music education for children and young people.
Even though Covid-19 caused restrictions and school closures, young people, schools, and music teachers in Wiltshire have been working hard to keep music going.
They’ve converted to online music lessons, provided musical activities and instruments to use at home, and continued music in schools for children of key workers.
So Wiltshire Music Connect decided to go ahead with the awards as part of their #DontDropMusicCampaign – as there was no better time to recognise and celebrate the power of music!
Nominations for people and schools who have made an impact on musical learning were invited from young people, teachers, schools, parents and organisations in five categories.
Over 150 nominations were received, and the panel had a difficult job deciding who was most deserving – all the nominees are inspirational and dedicated.
The winners, from across Wiltshire were notified at surprise online team meetings, and awards include certificates, theatre vouchers, and prize money for the schools involved.
The five categories were:
Outstanding Contribution to Music Education 2020 – Awarded to Sue Kent, La Folia music charity, based in Salisbury
Music Educator of the Year 2020– Young People’s Choice – Awarded to Angela Williams, Woodwind teacher from Chippenham
Primary School Music Teacher of the year 2020 – Awarded jointly to Sandra Dixon, Mead Community School (Trowbridge) and Jessica Harburt, The Grove Primary School (Trowbridge)
Secondary School Music Teacher of the Year 2020 – Awarded to Susan Shepherd, Avon Valley College, Durrington
Singing School of the Year 2020 – Awarded to St Sampson’s C of E Primary School, Cricklade
AWARD WINNERS details and quotes:
Outstanding Contribution to Music Education in Wiltshire 2020:
Sue Kent, La Folia music charity
Sue Kent, from Salisbury, who is retiring this month, has worked with La Folia’s Artistic Director Howard Moody to deliver over seventy projects. Most of La Folia projects have been creative music-making opportunities with young people, including students with special educational needs and disabilities, primary and secondary schools, and young people in further education.
Sue’s absolute commitment to inclusivity and putting the participants’ voices at the heart of every project has provided hundreds of young people with life-changing opportunities to make and share their music. Her refusal to compromise has led to a host of project outcomes of the highest quality, including performances, informal ‘sharings’ and recordings.
“This award marks my retirement from La Folia Music and is of particular significance as it comes from an organisation I much respect for tireless, enterprising, focussed commitment to music making for children and young people – thank you” – Sue Kent
“There is widespread acclaim for Sue among the many people who have been drawn into and changed by the power of La Folia projects. Sue has played a vital part in helping to realise those projects, and the award from Wiltshire Music Connect is very well deserved.” – John Cox, Chair of La Folia.
“La Folia is thrilled that Sue Kent should be recognised in this way, as she retires from guiding the organisation over the past 16+ years. Sue’s tenacity, imagination and above all, wisdom, saw her partnership with Howard Moody blossom into some extraordinary and wonderful projects, and so many people – participants, musicians, audiences alike – have her vision to thank for truly unforgettable musical experiences.” – Debbie Rigg, La Folia Board Member
Wiltshire Music Educator of the Year 2020– Young People’s Choice:
Angela Williams, Woodwind teacher
Nominations for this award were from children and young people only. Chippenham-based Angela is a Woodwind teacher who teachers in a number of schools and also runs the North Wiltshire Junior Wind Band. Angela was nominated by a number of her students who wrote incredibly moving, heartfelt nominations that convinced the panel unanimously that Angela should get the award for her passion and dedication and the impact she has on the musical lives of young people in Wiltshire.
“Mrs Williams always gives me encouraging words even when I think I’m not good at playing something.. She makes learning the oboe really fun!!! And she’s been great in lockdown to make sure I have everything I need to keep learning. She even sends me recordings of her playing the piano and oboe to help me when I practise. Overall she’s an amazing teacher!!!” – young person
“I’m thrilled to be receiving this award. I would like to thank my pupils who nominated me and Wiltshire Music Connect for their steadfast support of music education. I am backing the #DontDropMusic campaign as it is vital our young people have access to a broad curriculum at every stage.” – Angela Williams, winner of the Music Educator of the Year Award.
Wiltshire Primary School Music Teacher of the year 2020:
Sandra Dixon, Mead Community School (Trowbridge) and Jessica Harburt, The Grove Primary School (Trowbridge).
The panel couldn’t decide between these two outstanding nominees and so this was jointly awarded.
Sandra, who retires from teaching this year, has provided vast numbers of children with high quality and wide ranging, rich experiences: an inspirational and progressive music curriculum, numerous workshops with professional musicians, individual instrumental tuition, ensemble groups, parent workshops and opportunities to perform in inspirational spaces.
Jessica, who has only been teaching for two years, has demonstrated passion and commitment to making music a priority for the children and school. She has quickly became fully embedded in all things musical has shown utter dedication to ensuring that all children have access to high quality music teaching.
“I am so excited to have won this award. I truly believe that Music should be at the heart of every Primary School. Anything that raises the importance of subject, especially at an especially challenging time for The Arts, is amazing to me.” – Jessica Harburt, The Grove Primary School, Joint winner of Wiltshire Primary Music Teacher of the Year.
“I feel honoured and privileged to receive this award from Wiltshire Music Connect. The Mead School values music highly and this has allowed me to nurture children’s love for music, see them grow into talented musicians and watch them have confidence to perform together. This has given me so much joy and it is wonderful to have this recognition of my teaching as I retire from the front-line classroom. I am also incredibly grateful for the support we have received as a school from the local music hub in their generous subsidies and excellent training opportunities.” – Sandra Dixon, The Mead Community School, Joint winner of Wiltshire Primary Music Teacher of the Year.
“I am absolutely delighted that Sandra has been recognised with this wonderful award. Wiltshire Primary Music Teacher of the Year is a perfect designation for Sandra who has dedicated her long career at The Mead to inspiring young musicians to flourish and to nurturing their growing talents. Music is right at the heart of our school and although Sandra is due to leave The Mead at the end of this term, we are incredibly proud of the musical legacy she leaves us with.” – Emma Holton, Head of School, The Mead.
Wiltshire Secondary School Music Teacher of the Year 2020:
Susan Shepherd, Avon Valley College, Durrington
Susan has transformed music at her school since she joined in 2018 and that she is not only motivated about music in her own school but she actively contributes to other schools in the area through the local music cluster, encouraging and offering advice to primary music leads.
“I was delighted to be nominated for this award. However, I am thrilled, overwhelmed and honoured to accept the Wiltshire Secondary Music Teacher of the Year 2020 award. It’s wonderful to be appreciated for doing the work I love to do.” – Susan Shepherd, winner of Wiltshire Secondary School Music Teacher of the Year 2020.
“As head teacher, it gives me great pride to successfully nominate my first teacher, especially a music teacher – being one by trade myself. Congratulations to Sue – she thoroughly deserves the award!” Sam Johnston, Headteacher, Avon Valley College
Wiltshire Singing School of the Year 2020:
St Sampson’s C of E Primary School, Cricklade
The Singing School title went to St. Sampson’s C of E Primary School where singing is at the heart of school life. Children sing as a whole school up to 4 times each week in assemblies, and do so with incredible confidence, precision, and enjoyment. They regularly sing in 2 parts, in rounds or adding harmonies. All staff participate in school singing, making it a very special community experience.
“We are delighted to be named Wiltshire Singing School of the Year 2020 by the Wiltshire Music Education Awards. Singing is truly at the heart of our school; every child sings and enjoys singing. We sing to celebrate, to learn, to reflect, to worship and to bring us together in happy times, at special times and even when things are tough. It is lovely to receive this acknowledgement for something we are passionate about and includes everyone in our school community. Thank you.” – Jennifer Bayne, Headteacher, St Sampson’s, Winner of Singing School of the Year.