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Posted on: 16 July, 2020

Kent Music and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Announcement 16th July 2020: New Academic Year

Now that the government guidance on returning to schools in September has been published, I am writing to outline our approach to the next academic year.

Our general approach is to ensure we can continue to teach as many students as we can. We are working with schools and teachers to return to face-to-face activities in a safe manner as soon as we able. In the meantime, we will be continuing to register online teaching until we can return to teaching in schools and other venues.

As you know, this is a fast-moving situation, and so we are talking to each school we work with individually to ascertain the best and safest way we can return. We have set the following criteria for our return to schools:

  • The school allows us to return and we are able to comply with their COVID-19 risk assessment criteria.
  • We have undertaken our own risk assessment of the school and their arrangements for instrumental and vocal teaching and are satisfied that it is safe to return to the school.
  • We are able to provide a workable timetable for the teacher(s) going into that school.

We are currently developing our own comprehensive COVID-19 guidance, which will be published on our website before the start of the new school year.

If you have already been enjoying our online tuition and would like to continue in the Autumn term, please contact our excellent Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com.

If you wish to start online tuition in the Autumn term, you can register from Monday 20th July via our website: https://www.kent-music.com/music-lessons/

Applications for Financial Assistance for the academic year 2020/21 will be accepted via our Kent Music web page https://www.kent-music.com/financial-assistance/ from Monday 20th July 2020.

I am sure you will appreciate that we are unable at the current time to say how and when we will be re-opening our music centres. Each music centre will be assessed on a venue-by-venue basis using the criteria set out above. We will maintain regular communication with music centre members, with the aim of opening them as soon as we can but only when it is safe to do so. We are currently looking into extending our online ensembles programme in the autumn and will communicate separately about this.

We are planning our 2020-21 County Group courses and Kent Music Summer School on the basis that they will be going ahead as normal. Dates and schedules will be available as soon as venues can be confirmed. Please contact Valerie Cordina at vcordina@kent-music.com if you would like a County Group audition arranged. Auditions may be virtual in the first instance until face-to-face can be safely arranged. It will not be necessary to audition twice – either virtual or face-to-face will be sufficient.

Our over-riding priority is to keep our teachers and students safe and so please be assured that we will not be putting students and teachers back into schools unless we have done everything we can to ensure they will be learning and working in a safe environment.

We have excellent channels of communication with schools throughout the county and will continue to work with them closely over the coming months.

Meanwhile if you have any further questions please refer to the FAQs detailed below. If you have further questions you can contact our excellent customer services team on customerservices@kent-music.com

Keep an eye out for new developments and announcements on our website, and via our monthly newsletter and social media:

Monthly Newsletter – sign up here: www.kent-music.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ukkentmusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/KentMusic

I want to express thanks from myself and the entire Kent Music team for all your continued and enthusiastic support during this difficult time. We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and keeping well, and we will keep you updated as new information is available.

Kind regards

Peter Bolton

Chief Executive

The government guidance for full opening in schools can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

Teaching in Schools during the autumn term - when will teaching resume in schools?

Our general approach is to ensure we can continue to teach as many students as we can. We are working with schools and teachers to return to face-to-face activities in a safe manner as soon as we can. In the meantime, we will be continuing to teach online where possible, until we can return to teaching in schools and our other venues.  The exception is our MusicPlus programme where we will not be returning to schools until January.

As you know, this is a fast-moving situation, and so we are talking to each school we work with individually to ascertain the best and safest way we can return. We have set the following criteria for our return to schools:

  • The school allows us to return and we are able to comply with their Covid-19 risk assessment criteria.
  • We have undertaken our own risk assessment of the school and their arrangements for instrumental and vocal teaching and are satisfied that it is safe to return to the school.
  • We are able to provide a workable timetable for the teacher(s) going into that school

Can I start, or continue with, online one-to-one learning?

Yes, absolutely. We will be continuing to register online teaching until we can return to teaching in schools and other venues.

If you have already been enjoying our online tuition and would like to continue in the Autumn term, please contact our excellent Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com

If you wish to start online tuition in the Autumn term, you can register from Monday 20th July via our website: https://www.kent-music.com/music-lessons/

Will I be able to have lessons online after Kent Music teaching returns to schools?

Students will be given the option of continuing to learn online once we are allowed back into schools. Registration will open on 20th July via our website: www.kent-music.com/music-lessons/

If you have questions about instrumental or vocal lessons, please contact customerservices@kent-music.com

How is Kent Music enforcing online security and safeguarding in digital lessons and ensembles?

Each Zoom lesson has a waiting room function, meaning anyone joining has to be admitted by the teacher running the lesson. The teachers will also lock the meeting room once the pupil/s have entered. Once the ‘room’ is locked, no one else should be able to access it.

While there are always risks when using new formats, Kent Music are confident that we have enforced all reasonably practicable measures to ensure pupils and teachers alike have a safe and positive learning experience while using digital platforms. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and ensure that all appropriate steps are taken where necessary.

Will County Group courses be taking place?

We are planning on the basis that County Group courses are going ahead as scheduled this year. However, we will keep abreast of the government’s guidance and plan accordingly. County Group members will be kept informed at all stages and updates will be posted on the county group pages of the website.

Please see information about all the County Groups here: www.kent-music.com/county-groups/

Will I still be able to audition for County Groups?

You will definitely be able to audition for County Groups.  We are currently planning ways for you to submit or take part in a virtual audition and feedback session. The virtual method will be used if there are continued restrictions in place regarding venue access and distancing.

As soon as it is possible to hold face-to-face auditions, these will be reintroduced and we will, of course, keep you posted. Meanwhile if you are interested in joining a County Group, please e-mail Valerie Cordina vcordina@kent-music.com and we will register your interest and send more information to you.

Will Kent Music Summer School 2021 be running next year and what are the dates?

Plans are being made for KMSS to return in 2021. The schedules are being drawn up at the moment and we will release course dates as soon as they have been confirmed.

If you have questions about county groups and KMSS21 please contact vcordina@kent-music.com

Music Centres and Music Labs- how will I know if they are open?

Decisions about opening music centres and music labs will be made on a centre by centre basis. They will opened in full or in part when it is safe to do so. We will remain in contact with centre and lab members directly as the situation unfolds and will keep regular updates posted on the relevant pages of our website. You can find all the Music Centres here: https://www.kent-music.com/music-centres/

We are looking into developing our successful online ensembles programme to run in the Autumn term. Music Centre members will be notified directly, and updates will be posted on the relevant Music Centre’s page.

If you have questions about music centres and music labs please contact musiccentres@kent-music.com

Can I get a refund for lessons which have been cancelled in the 2019-20 academic year?

Kent Music aims to deliver 33 lessons during a full academic year of 38 weeks. In an instance such as this where schools close for a period, we will make every attempt to make up any shortfall through online teaching, which has been offered to all our students who receive tuition.

If we are unable to make up this shortfall, we will make a pro-rata refund or credit in respect of the shortfall. Pupils that did not continue with online tuition have all been credited for any lessons missed over the last 2 terms. Students who are having online tuition, your teacher will attempt to make any missed lessons up during the Summer term. At the end of the academic year, we will credit for any lessons that have not been made up.

You can find our full terms and conditions here: www.kent-music.com/terms-and-conditions

Can I get a refund for a future course or lesson which is not cancelled, but which I no longer wish to attend?

We are unable to offer refunds or credits for lessons missed by the student while the course or lesson is still planned to take place.

You can find our full terms and conditions here: www.kent-music.com/terms-and-conditions/

I have a rented instrument which I need to pick up or drop off at Kent Music. Can I?

The Kent Music offices in Maidstone and Aylesham are closed to anyone other than essential staff. This means that we will not be open for the collection or return of instruments.

For more information contact Nick Finlinson on 01622 358407 or nfinlinson@kent-music.com

Can I still apply for Financial Assistance?

Applications for Financial Assistance for the academic year 2020/21 will be accepted via our Kent Music web page https://www.kent-music.com/financial-assistance/ from Monday 20th July 2020.

All applications will be electronically linked to our registration system and must be completed by existing beneficiaries as well as new applicants, please do not forget to attach your receipt for proof of benefit.

Financial Assistance applications are only considered for those actually in receipt of a confirmed lesson, if your lessons haven’t been arranged or you have any further queries please contact our Financial Assistance Administrator, either via email gbatty@kent-music.com or by phone 01622 358413.

21st May 2020 Update

We have made the decision that Kent Music will not be sending teachers into schools and Music Centres until the new school year begins in September 2020 at the earliest.

With the plans for potential reopening of schools and social distancing measures still uncertain, we have made this decision with the health and safety of our students and staff, and their families, at the forefront of our minds. We hope that making this decision at this time will give you confidence in your planning for the future.  

With the success of our various distance learning offerings, including our teaching and Music Centre courses, we are confident that we will be able to deliver high quality music education and resources for you and your children/wards until we are able to return to our usual service.  

We have also made the extremely difficult and very sad decision to cancel this year’s Kent Music Summer School at Benenden School, including all County Group courses to take place in July and August, as well as Orchestra ONE’s summer project. 

This is a sad blow for all of us at Kent Music – this will be the first year since 1947 that the Summer School will not be going ahead – however, the health, safety and well-being of students and staff is our highest priority. All those who are already signed on for the Summer School, as well as County Groups and Orchestra ONE members, will be contacted separately with more information and details on refunds and plans for future courses.   

For any questions regarding how our new decision affects you, please refer to the FAQs below. This page will also be regularly updated with courses and classes which have been affected. 

However – it’s not all bad news. Our team is currently working hard to ensure that you can remain engaged with us at Kent Music throughout the summer, and we will update you on our plans shortly.
 
Keep an eye out for new developments and announcements at the links below. In the meantime, we are continuing to share useful home learning resources, updates, good news, helpful advice and enjoyable videos from around the music community on our public platforms:

Monthly Newsletter – sign up here: www.kent-music.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ukkentmusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/KentMusic 

If you require further assistance, please email the Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com.  

We thank you for your continued support and patience while we adapt our offerings in this unprecedented environment. We are forever grateful for the whole Kent Music family, from staff to students, and their hard work and passion as we continue to make music throughout the county.

Kindest regards,

Peter Bolton

3rd April 2020 Update

Having reviewed the current situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, we have decided to extend our suspension of in person instrument & vocal lessons, ensembles and other activities in schools, music centres and music labs until the end of May, i.e. the end of the half term holiday. 

This decision has been made with the aim of continuing to keep our students, teachers and their families safe. We will regularly monitor the situation and will inform you of any updates as soon as we can. We are still planning for our regular summer holiday activities, particularly Kent Music Summer School’s 73rd annual run of courses.

If you have any queries not answered by the FAQs below, please email the Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com

We will continue to coordinate with our partners in the wider music industry to research and share news of other distance learning or listening opportunities for musicians of all ages.

Any updates on this, along with other useful resources from around the music and education worlds and Kent Music news on our public platforms:

Monthly Newsletter – sign up here: https://www.kent-music.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ukkentmusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KentMusic

As always, we would encourage all our students to explore the musical possibilities available to them at home alongside practice as usual!  

We apologise for this continued disruption to our service and wish you and your families all the best while our team works to maintain music education here in Kent.

Peter Bolton
Chief Executive

19th March 2020 Update

Following the announcement that schools in the UK will be closing from the end of the day on Friday 20 March, all Kent Music lessons, courses and events will be suspended until Tuesday 14 April. We will of course continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will inform you of any updates as soon as we can. 

All one to one and group teaching in schools and Music Centres is suspended. A full list of the other courses, classes and events which have been affected, along with FAQs for any queries you may have, can be found below on this page. 

If you have any queries not answered by the FAQs, please email the Customer Services team on customerservices@kent-music.com.  We will be sharing updates regularly on our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) and in our monthly newsletters – you can sign up to these here: https://www.kent-music.com/sign-up-to-our-newsletter/.

We are planning on the basis that all activities for next term and the summer holidays will be going ahead as scheduled though this may change once there is greater clarity about the length of school closures. 

The Kent Music offices in Maidstone and Aylesham are closed to anyone other than essential staff. This means that we will not be open for the collection or return of instruments. 

We are investigating options for distance learning from the start of the summer term should schools remain closed for an extended period of time and will update you with any new plans as they arise. 

In the meantime, we would encourage all our students to explore the musical possibilities available to them at home alongside practice as usual! We have prepared a short article with a variety of free resources for young musicians aged 8+: www.kent-music.com/news/keep-music-education-going-at-home.

We will also be coordinating with our partners in the wider music industry to research and share news of other distance learning or listening opportunities for musicians of all ages.  

We apologise for this unplanned disruption to our service, and send all our students, teachers and their families our best wishes at this difficult time. Our team is working hard to ensure that we will continue to deliver the same high standard of music education we have for the past 70 years. 

Peter Bolton
Chief Executive