The event gave MPs, policy makers, teachers and funders the the opportunity to celebrate the pioneering work of music teachers who have formed co-operatives and learn more about the work of the Musicians’ Union in supporting musicians who teach.

It included the launch of the ‘Altogether Now' guide, authored by David Barnard (MU member and founder of Swindon Music Co-op), which the MU commissioned along with template legal documents put together by Anthony Collins Solicitors, specialists in Co-operative law.

The MU has supported the formation of new Music Teacher Co-operatives in such places as Milton Keynes, Denbighshire, the Isle of Wight and Wiltshire, and these have joined the longer established co-operatives in Swindon, Newcastle and North East Lincolnshire. It is through this work that the MU developed the ‘Altogether Now’ guide and supporting documentation in order to enable groups of teachers to consider forming their own co-operatives.

Co-operatives allow teachers, who have lost their jobs working for Local Authority music services, to continue teaching together in an environment that values every contribution and encourages the sharing of expertise.

Co-operatives also empower teachers to have a greater control over their working lives. They are a progressive option and provide a sense of purpose and unity as an alternative to fragmentation, which can lead to teachers working in isolation and in competition with one another.

For more information

Sarah Patrice, Anthony Collins Solicitors

Diane Widdison National Organiser for Education and Training, Musicians' Union Tel: 020 7840 5558

Dom Mills Communications and Marketing Officer, Co-operatives UK Tel: 0161 214 1767

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