Welcome to Services For Education’s Annual Review for 2021: An incredible year in which, despite all the pressures, we achieved remarkable outcomes to benefit the young people and citizens of Birmingham. We have transformed ourselves to deliver our services and our support in a virtual environment. And whilst the pandemic has tested us, it has also brought out the very best.

As an organisation, we have become more responsive. As a team, we have become more agile – and as partners to our customers, schools and the community, we have become more engaged.

It is, of course, always ​encouraging to witness success – especially when achieved in difficult times. We take pride in the fact that our successes have been endorsed independently. In recent months, we have been honoured to receive several significant award wins, regionally and nationally including the Music and Drama Education Award for Outstanding Music Education Resource and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Award for Excellence in Education and Training.

The challenges posed by Covid-19 continue to shape our day-to-day operations. ​However, we are building on our learnings since March 2020 and planning for future growth, extending our reach and continuing to bring music and learning to life.

None of this would have been achievable without the enthusiasm and continuing commitment of our staff, trustees, stakeholders and, of course, our donors and funders ​including Arts Council England.  We will never be able to express sufficient gratitude for those who have supported us – and continue to do so – in a myriad of ways.

Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper

Head of School Support

I would also like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Andrew Cooper our Head of School Support Services who, after 10 very successful years with the company has decided to take early retirement. Andrew ​has been a valuable member of the Senior Leadership Team and will be missed by his colleagues, but we wish him all the best as he enters a new phase of his life.

Sharon Bell

Chief Executive

See how the projects supported by our donors make such a difference to the lives of those involved. Here are just a few quotes from those involved in our projects...

Music Cares


I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start violin during lockdown but I am really glad I did.
We play lots of different types of music and I enjoy my lessons and even the practice!

Year 8 Student

Music Cares


She has made such progress, and developed an excellent relationship with you.
This could be a really supportive factor for her transition to secondary school.

Assistant Head Teacher


Inspiring sounds


An ASD child has particularly benefitted from the lessons. At the start of the year he was reluctant to answer any requests or take part.
He can now respond verbally to the teacher.

Hallmoor School

Inspiring sounds


Children who were normally reserved and who struggle to pay attention during work time, got involved, playing instruments, imitating noises and copying actions in songs. It was amazing to see!

Brays Tile Cross School


Tiger Tiger


I really hope it is successful for you all because it is such a wonderful opportunity you are giving to adults. Congratulations on this amazing project. Best wishes, E xx

Participants Daughter



LA7 have shown increased signs of engagement and musical development throughout the course of the year. 

Class Room Teacher


Community Choirs


I think in terms of me as a person,  the choir has simply given me a new love, it’s like the Friday feeling on a Wednesday! When I think of choir, I smile and that says it all really.


music teacher logo
Birmingham Living
bbc radio wm
UK news group
what's on birmingham
Birmingham chambers logo

Below are some of our news stories from the past year

Recognising the need to deal with an issue that “is a fact of life and affects every woman but is frequently regarded as a taboo subject” has led to a new approach being introduced by a Birmingham charity to support its staff.

Services For Education is amongst the first employers in the UK to introduce a menopause policy to raise awareness around this issue and promote a positive culture of support. The new policy came into effect last month (September 1, 2021). Now, the charity – which brings music and learning to life and supports thousands of children and adults in Birmingham and employs more than 200 – is hoping that other employers in Birmingham and the West Midlands will follow suit.


Launch coincides with the release of a new song and music video created in lockdown by the West Midlands Inclusive Choir members

Five new choirs for the West Midlands bringing together young people of all abilities and that were created during the pandemic, are meeting for the first time in-person this Saturday (September 18th) as part of a major UK initiative. The West Midlands has the largest number of choirs in a nationwide scheme – the Soundabout Inclusive Choir network – that celebrates that everyone, no matter their abilities or disabilities, has their own way of sharing their voice.


One of the enduring memories of the pandemic will be the extent to which we have used technology – as our work and social worlds have continued virtually in the midst of lockdown and restrictions. 

In order to maintain music tuition during Lockdown our colleagues have adapted to on-line delivery – and so when approached by the ISSEA (International Schools of Southern and Eastern Africa) * regarding involvement in an event to celebrate music and creativity across their eight member schools, we were delighted to be involved. 


A new national subscription-based safeguarding training service has been launched by Services For Education following an increase in demand for safeguarding support from the education and training charity.

The digital subscription-service enables schools throughout England to access a unique range of practical support on key topics in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) including domestic abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM), ethical decision making in safeguarding, The Equality Act, serious case reviews and Prevent – to safeguard individuals from being drawn into terrorism.


An innovative series of weekly interactive music workshops has been proven to boost learning outcomes for disadvantaged primary school children, according to research by Services For Education.

Three hundred children in the disadvantaged Birmingham wards of Soho, East Handsworth, Lozells and Shard End participated in Services For Education’s Soundtots programme of music-making and singing for children aged 3-5 years. All had below-average school readiness goals and below-average language development.


A Birmingham drummer, who teaches drumming and percussion to Birmingham school children, has become the face – and hands – of a national advertising campaign celebrating the work of pandemic key workers.

Goggie*, as he is best known, works for Birmingham-based Services For Education and is now appearing in a national advertising campaign undertaken by Vaseline which has put its hands together with celebrated UK photographer Rankin to applaud those who have continued to deliver during the pandemic.



Sarah Smith, Diocesan Director of Education for Birmingham Diocese, has become our new chair.

Sarah Smith became a trustee of the charity –  which employs 250 staff  – in March 2015. In her role at Birmingham Church of England, she oversees 51 Church of England schools across the  diocese. She is also involved in setting up a new secondary Free School and is looking for further free school options for the Diocese.

Previously, she was Executive Headteacher of St John’s CE Primary School in Sparkhill, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, which she led successfully for eleven years. She has also served as Chair of Birmingham Local Authority Primary Forum, a member of Birmingham School Forum,  and was one of the founders of Birmingham Education Partnership, supporting schools on their journey of school improvement.

Sarah succeeds Martin Chitty as chair of Services For Education who retired as a Trustee in Autumn 2021.

“I have seen at first hand the work of Services For Education – both as a customer of its services but also as head of a school, as a parent and more recently, as a trustee. It is a remarkable organisation teaching music to 38,000 children each week and with an unparalleled range of training courses delivering high quality support to teachers and schools in the city.

“I want to ensure that we continue to offer the best to our schools and the city’s children. It’s important that schools buy from us at the very best possible price to enable them to deliver for the children and families of the city,” she said.

“Services For Education can be proud of its work during the past decade but I am very aware of the inequalities that face the city’s children. For instance, learning and playing music should not be a privilege for the wealthy but is something that every child in our city should enjoy both in primary and secondary schools. Families need to think ‘this is for us’” 


Two further trustees, Joanna Cooney and Parmjit Singh, have also been appointed as part of a programme to further reflect the interests and diversity of the city.

Joanna Cooney, who grew up in the West Midlands, is a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, qualifying in September 2021.

After obtaining a psychology degree from the University of Bristol, Joanna provided HR support to a FTSE 250 company before pursuing a career in law.

Since joining Irwin Mitchell, first as a paralegal, she has worked for several years in its employment team where she developed a specialism in employment law issues in the education sector.

“I understand and appreciate the importance of arts-based programmes to children. My highlight of my schoolyears was singing in an all-schools choir at Symphony Hall. I am looking forward to joining Services For Education as a trustee at an exciting time as the charity further extends its work in the community,” said Joanna.”

Parmjit Singh was previously a trustee of West Midlands-based Angling Unlimited which promotes social inclusion, wellbeing and improving confidence with disadvantaged groups.

He has held several senior roles in technology and, as a Social Value Ambassador, he supports several NGOs that provides re-cycled technology for education.

“My family has a love of music and I am an avid listener. Our family has been heavily involved in teaching music in my original home-city, Manchester. I am keen on supporting Services For Education in delivering on its business plan and extending its reach into a wider range of communities,” said Parmjit.

Joanna and Parmjit join our five other trustees:


We’re really grateful to the many organisations – large and small – that have supported us during the past 12 months, and we look forward to continuing those mutually beneficial relationships.  We believe in developing long-term partnerships and developing packages tailored to suit the individual needs and aims of each supporter.

During the year we developed a series of options with no up-front or additional costs to enable your business to support charitable causes  that will continue to help young people and the community for many years to come. We hope to work with you to enable many more people to experience life-changing opportunities:

249 Staff Employed
We employ 2021
£6.9 Million income
Over-2300-delegates trained this year
98% Of headteachers
97% Of Course Attendees copy
27,000 free instruments
Over 5,500 logins

During the past few years, we have been honoured with several major accolades, both regionally and nationally, in recognition of our work, approach and achievements.

This year has been no different.

We were particularly delighted to receive the award for Outstanding Music Education Resource in the 2021 National Music and Drama Education Awards and, more locally, the 2021 Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Award for Excellence in Training and Education.

2024 Award Winner

2024 Winner
Training Provider or educational establishment of the year

music & drama awards

2023 Winner
Excellence in SEND

In partnership with Soundabout


2022 Winner
the Arts, culture and heritage award

2022 Winner
Outstanding Charity of the Year

music & drama awards

2021 Winner

music & drama awards



2021 Winner
Innovation in Education Award

Birmingham chambers logo

2021 Winner
Excellence in Training and Education

2019 Winner
Excellence in Training and Education

2019 Winner
Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

Music Teacher Awards For Excellence Logo - Services For Education

2018 Winner
Music Education Council Major Award

Birmingham Awards - Services For Education - Music Service

2018 Winner
Contribution to Education

Brass bands england award logo, won by services for education

2018 Silver winner
Birmingham schools' brass band championship sections


Page Last Modified:  20/06/2022 14:10