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MU and Co-operatives UK launch guide to forming Music Teacher Co-operatives

The Musicians’ Union and Co-operatives UK launch an initiative aimed at creating more music teacher co-operatives.

The Musicians’ Union (MU) and Co-operatives UK are in Parliament today launching an initiative aimed at creating more music teacher co-operatives.

The event will give the opportunity for MPs, policy makers, teachers and funders 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 will include 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.

John Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union (MU), says: “The MU has been encouraging members who teach to form their own co-ops for 20 years.  Co-ops are a successful way of encouraging a sense of purpose and unity between workers, and they also give democratic control and a feeling of empowerment to the workforce.

For further information please contact:

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

Published: 07/09/2015

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