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Teachers take initiative and set up own organisations

On this page you will find information about:

  • Music teacher co-operatives
  • The MU’s role
  • Safeguarding the future – how co-ops work
  • Where to find out more

The MU is a member of Co-operatives UK, an umbrella group for the co-operative movement.

The Musicians' Union has been very concerned at the whole scale redundancies of peripatetic teachers by some local authorities. In some of these areas groups of teachers have responded to this by setting up their own organisations to continue delivering instrumental teaching to parents and schools.

These groups operate according to the co-operative principles of democracy, equity, equality, self help, responsibility and solidarity.


The MU helped establish music co-operatives in the 1990's in Newcastle (NEMCO), North East Lincolnshire (Music Lincs) and Swindon (SMC). More recently the MU helped a group in Milton Keynes form their teaching co-operative following the council's decision to sack all the teachers.

Safeguarding the future

The teachers in these co-operatives are self employed and voluntarily agree to abide by quality assurance and safeguarding policies, which provide parents and school with confidence that the teaching is delivered to the highest possible standards.

The teachers themselves are fairly rewarded and democratically debate how much of their earnings to give to the running of the co-operatives.

It is for this reason that the MU advocates co-operation since the alternatives, where instrumental teachers have to compete in the open market and also find themselves working for unscrupulous agencies, may result in a less welcome deal for teachers.

Want to know more?

If you are affected by local music service cuts and are interested to know more about co-operatives, then please contact the education team at

Teachers' Toolkit

Altogether Now - a guide to forming music teacher co-operatives

Guide to forming a music service trust (PDF 11.84 MB file opens in new window)