A note from our Chief Executive

Welcome to our second Annual Review which is a collection of stories, memories and highlights from this very unusual year.

For those working in education, 18 March 2020 was a defining moment – it was announced that there would be a period of mass closure of schools, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since WW2. Here at Services For Education (SFE) we teach music in schools, and we provide training and development for teachers and school leaders. On that day, with that one announcement, our world looked very different.

Looking back on 2019/20, it is easy to focus on the period since March. However before then, we were out and about in schools, delivering training, providing consultancy, running our award-winning Health For Life programme, teaching music – and delivering a fabulous array of concerts all through the festive period.

As I reflect on the past year, creative, resilient and talented, are the attributes which have shone through the team every single day.

Creativity is in our DNA – from day one of lockdown our aim was to keep delivering for our customers. Our colleagues in educational settings needed our support then, more than ever, as they faced school leadership during a pandemic. Music had to stay alive for the children and young people of Birmingham and beyond. Seemingly overnight, with a phenomenal effort from colleagues across the organisation, we transformed into an organisation with a virtual learning platform and embraced on-line delivery, across our whole product portfolio. Our music school has gone from strength to strength, providing opportunities for adults as well as children.

Throughout the year, the team have role-modelled resilience. As each week goes by, new challenges emerge for SFE, but they have been relentless in their determination to meet them head on, and I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved. I have the privilege of working with a highly talented team. As you will read in the articles that follow, some of that is very visible to an external audience, but so much work goes on behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly.

We are proud of the feedback from our customers – whether from our 5-star Trustpilot reviews, or your comments on social media. They mean so much to us as we continually seek to improve and develop our product portfolio.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the incredible team who I work with, for all of their hard work, as well as our Board of Trustees whose support has been invaluable during these unprecedented times.

All our courses and music lessons went online so that we could continue to offer schools and music school customers the quality training and teaching that we would have normally been provided face-to-face.

Here’s what our customers had to say:

I really enjoyed the course, it was very informative and was easy to follow with the new way of working virtually. The use of video/ no video was effective as it was nice to see who was talking but also helped not to get distracted by watching a person. Giving people attending the course the opportunity to speak was also a very good element.


Very comprehensive course, that has left me armed to deal with difficult situations that may occur in my future role.

Primary Maths Co-ordinator

Excellent delivery and content. I don’t feel I missed anything by not attending in person. The facility to ask questions meant anything I was unsure about I could ask, or other attendees asked and they were covered by Sandra & Jo.

Pastoral Care Manager

Really enjoyed the course. I was unsure due to the online delivery but found it useful, interesting and has left me with a lot of ideas and things to think about.


The trainer was excellent as it must have been very difficult to deliver this remotely. Thank you so much.

Apprenticeship Manager

Theo is absolutely loving his lessons with you, and thank you so much for all your help with the song.

Sangeeta Ambegaokar – Parent

Thank you for continuing to provide music lessons online during these unusual times. My daughter and I are very much enjoying our violin lessons at the Music School with such a fantastic teacher…we cannot sing her praises enough!

Sarah Campbell – Parent

We were extremely excited to have delivered our first ever virtual music festival at Services For Education.

From Monday 13th July to Thursday 16th July, we filled your screens with as much musical content as possible as a fantastic celebration of our wonderful ensembles. We created a special portal with music content shared daily, and each evening, we hosted a separate musical event live – with performances (recorded) from our talented ensemble members.









Our virtual youth proms was supported by:

Birmingham Chambers - Logo Services For Education - School Support

Covid-19 has taught us that our strategy has to be agile and responsive to the demands of the external environment, and so we have created a roadmap setting our direction for the next 5 years and guiding our priorities which will be set annually.

Our ambitions will be delivered through six organisation wide strategic themes which all our colleagues can relate to in their work. They are intended to deliver a vibrant, resilient, and agile organisation fully equipped to deliver our vision and charitable purpose.


Services For Education Vocal Teacher Receives Polish Educational Authorities Medal.

Services For Education received some fantastic news last week from Vocal Teacher, Joanna Kunda-jedynak.

Joanna was awarded a Polish Educational Authorities Medal for teachers, to recognise exceptional work and was invited to the Polish Embassy in London for a presentation.

Nine other Polish teachers in the UK received the prestigious award and it is the highest award a Polish teacher can receive from the Polish Educational Authorities.

All recipients of the medal live and work in the UK, promote Polish culture and work with Polish children.

Joanna said: “10 years ago I set up a Polish choir in Coventry and our aim is to promote Polish culture, but not just amongst the Polish community but also to introduce Polish music to British audiences.”

Poland’s First Lady, Agata Duda, was in attendance.

For Dr Simone Whitehouse, 2020 has been the culmination of nine-years’ work – of weekends and holidays – resulting in her being awarded a PhD that relates directly to her work at Services For Education: Religious Education.

Her thesis explored the approach of the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education and whether it effectively engages school children. The syllabus teaches children through 24 themes or dispositions instead of religious topics such as ‘festivals’ or the study of discrete faiths.

Simone’s research has enabled her to contribute to the development of a revised Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education and has also revealed that the  approach enables pupils to more effectively engage with Religious Education by making the subject more relevant to their lives.

“The reason for embarking on such a huge project was very personal to me. With many friends busy with their family lives, I wanted to find something that would develop and enable me to progress out of my comfort zone. Little did I know at the start what it would entail – but nine years on, it is hugely satisfying to get to the end result,” said Simone.

“I feel that I have accomplished so much personally which has also impacted on my professional life.”

Simone will be presenting Services For Education’s ‘Understanding the 2020 Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education’ in June 2021

Our HR Director, Lindsay Allen, was recognised in October 2020 for her contribution to CIPD, the professional body for HR.

Lindsay has been an active volunteer for Thames Valley CIPD Branch since 1996, holding the role of Branch Chair for the last three years.

In doing so, Lindsay led a team of around 25 volunteers from across the Thames Valley region in delivering Continuing Professional Development activities for the c.4500 members of the Branch, including leading on three careers conferences for HR practitioners and those looking at moving into this area of work. Lindsay also contributed to CIPD Council discussions relating to national initiatives and raising standards within the profession.

Lindsay Allen Thank You

Former Head of the Music Service Awarded Honorary Doctor By Birmingham City University

We are extremely proud to hear the news that John Clemson MBE, previous Head of the Music Service, has been awarded Honorary Doctor at Birmingham City University for his services to music education and lifetime of service to the city of Birmingham.

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Although this year it has been difficult to continue to support those that benefit from our projects in the usual way, where possible we have continued through digital means. Where it hasn’t been possible we are looking forward to continuing these projects when it is safe to do so.

Our Projects for Children in Birmingham

Inspiring Sounds broadens access to music for people aged 3-19 years old in Special Schools

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The Soundtots Project supports and develops early years children (aged 3-5 years) through music

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The Music Cares Project provides music-making opportunities for children in care in Birmingham

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Our Projects for Adults in Birmingham

Tiger Tiger offers cross-arts, multi-sensory sessions for
adults with additional needs

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Community Choirs broadens access to music to older people across Birmingham 

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birmingham chamber of commerce award logo services for education

2020 Finalist
Excellence in Sales & Marketing

2019 Finalist
Excellence in SEND for Music and Drama

birmingham chamber of commerce award logo services for education

2019 Winners
Excellence in Training and Education

2019 Winners
Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

Birmingham Awards - Services For Education - Music Service

2018 Winners
Contribution to Education

Music Teacher Awards For Excellence Logo - Services For Education

2018 Winners
Music Education Council Major Award

Brass bands england award logo, won by services for education

2018 Silver winners
Birmingham schools' brass band championship sections

ERA2019 Finalist Logo. Services For Education are finalists in 2019

2019 Finalists
Education Resources Awards THE EDUCATIONAL BOOK AWARD

birmingham chamber of commerce award logo services for education

2018 Finalists
Excellence in Contributing to the Community

2018 Finalist
Birmingham Post Business Non-Profit organisation award

7.5 million income
249 staff employees
we employ 221 highly trained teachers
Over 1200 podcast downloads
1038 safeguarding staff trained
616 NQT's became teachers
Providing free instruments

Page Last Modified:  09/12/2022 13:31