Sutton Music Service
  • Sutton Music Service
  • Sutton Music Service

The National Plan for Music Education

Sutton Music Service is part of Cognus Limited, a private company jointly owned by the London Borough of Sutton and local schools, academies and settings. As lead partner in the Sutton Music Hub, Sutton Music Service works with a range of partner organisations to create all kinds of opportunities for children and young people in the London Borough of Sutton to have an excellent, high quality music education. Supported using public funding from the Department for Education and Arts Council England, we are tasked with delivering the aspirations of the National Plan for Music Education.

Core roles

Ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument (other than voice) through Whole Class Ensemble Tuition (WCET) programmes ideally for a year (but for a minimum of a term) of weekly tuition on the same instrument


  • Thousands of children gain their first experience of learning to play a musical instrument through our successful 'First Access' Whole Class Ensemble Tuition (WCET) programmes
  • We offer programmes at KS1 for recorder, djembe, ukele and musicianship
  • We offer programmes at KS2 for strings, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments, as well as working with hub partners Inspire-Works to deliver world music programmes
  • We also support schools to offer their own WCET programmes through Charanga Musical School digital resources

Provide opportunities to play in ensembles and to perform from an early stage

  • We offer a variety of bands, orchestras and choirs for young musicians of all ages and abilities
  • We support hub partners ArtsOne Rocks to provide similar opportunities for young rock and pop musicians and singers
  • We can help schools deliver all sorts of ensembles for children and young people through the loan of appropriate sheet music and resources as well as specialist instrumental teachers

Ensure that clear progression routes are available and affordable to all young people

  • We can support schools to offer instrumental tuition through our panel of self-employed Approved Instrumental Teachers (AITs)
  • Our Wedensday and Saturday Music Schools provide subsidised opportunities to learn all band and orchestral instruments

Develop a singing strategy to ensure that every pupil sing regularly and that choirs and other vocal ensembles are available in the area

  • We provide regular massed singing opportunities for local schools at KS1, KS2 and KS3
  • We support and advise local schools on developing choirs and other singing initiatives
  • We work with hub partner organisations like Sing Up, Friday Afternoons and Primo Music to support our singing initiatives
  • Sutton Young Singers and Sutton Youth Choir provide progression opportunites for young singers to perform at the highest level

Extension roles

Offer CPD to school staff, particularly in supporting schools to deliver music in the curriculum

  • All primary and special schools/settings benefit from fully subsidised access to Charanga Music School digital resources
  • We provide regular training sessions for instrumental and classroom teachers covering a broad range of topics and use our monthly email updates to signpost towards further opportunities from our hub partners and other organisations

Provide an instrument loan service

  • We have over one thousand high quality musical instruments that can be hired directly by parents/carers or loaned to schools to support Whole Class Ensemble Tuition programmes

Provide access to large scale and/or high quality music experiences for pupils working with professional musicians and/or venues

  • We work with a wide range of hub partner organisations including the London Music Fund, The Philharmonia, Thames Sinfonia and the Band of the Grenadier Guards to provide opportunities of the highest quality
  • In recent years Sutton young musicians performed at Birmingham Symphony Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Fairfield Halls and the Royal Albert Hall, as well as a wide range of venues across Europe as part of our annual summer tour

Provide a Schools Music Education Plan (SMEP) outlining how the hub and schools work together

  • We have produced a simple self-evaluation tool, aimed at Headteachers, Senior Leadership Teams and Music Leaders, which outlines the activities that could be offered as part of a progressive musical programme. Sutton Music Service recommends that schools use the self-evaluation tool to make a judgement based on their current music provision, and that this process feeds into their own School Development Plan and School Music Policy. Please click here to download.