Services For Education expands partnership with one-handed music charity

175 Birmingham schools participating in scheme that enables disabled children to enjoy making music

Physically disabled children in Birmingham now have a greater opportunity to enjoy music-through the expansion of a partnership between Services For Education, which delivers music education to Birmingham schools, and a pioneering charity that is championing the playing of musical instruments by those with a deficiency or impairment in one hand or arm.

Millions of people across the world are excluded from playing music with others because their physical deficiency makes it challenging for traditional instruments to be played to any reasonable standard. The aim of the expanded scheme is to transform the lives of Birmingham children by giving them the opportunity to learn an instrument and participate in music-making.

Services For Education has worked with OHMI – the One-Handed Musical Instrument Trust – since 2015 as part of its Music Makers programme when it piloted a scheme that has since been rolled out to other parts of the UK. Currently there are eight-funded OHMI school children in eight different Birmingham schools all receiving one-to-one 30-minute individual music lessons in woodwind, keyboard and trumpet/clarinet.

Now the partnership has been extended as part of OHMI’s Inclusive Access to Music-Making (IAMM) programme to support children learning an instrument through Whole Class Instrumental Teaching whereby children of all abilities can play music together.

OHMI – which like Services For Education was established ten-years ago – helps children and adults with physical impairments to play the music instruments they want to play – whether at school, in the home or in a professional ensemble.

Stuart Birnie, Head of Music Service at Services For Education, said few music instruments can be played without ten fingers which denies unlimited and undifferentiated participation in musical life.

“We are working with OHMI to overcome those barriers and the expansion of our work with them will enable more disabled school children in Birmingham to play music with their peers in the classroom,” said Stuart.

“The National Plan for Music Education states that ‘all children should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument’ but without such an initiative, many disabled children would be barred from participation.”

Services For Education is now working with 175 schools in Birmingham as part of the IAMM scheme with some children receiving physical adaptive instruments as part of the scheme and help with equipment such as trumpet stands, instrument straps, adapted instruments and even virtual devices.

Other partners in the programme include Creative United, Nottingham Music Service, and Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust.

The OHMI Trust was established with the support of Martin Dyke, managing director of Birmingham solicitors Tyndallwoods, and Dr Stephen Hetherington who, amongst other things, directed Birmingham’s bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2002.


About Services For Education:

An education and training charity based in Birmingham, Services For Education brings music and learning to life.

Services For Education employs more than 200 staff delivering music tuition to children, and expert training and development to teaching and school support staff. It has annual income of £6.9m (Y/E August 2020). Part-funded by the Arts Council, England it also has its own fund-raising and subsidised commercial operations.

  • Services For Education’s Music Service, one of the largest in the country, works with 93% of Birmingham schools and each year teaches music to nearly 32,000 children – as well as running 97 free ensembles. It provides 27,000 musical instruments free-of-charge so all children have access to playing and enjoying music together and its Youth Proms at Symphony Hall give 4,000 young musicians the opportunity to perform to an audience of more than 10,000. It also runs music schools, has a world music department, provides private music tuition to all ages as well as working with partners to deliver music and choral opportunities to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Its award-winning Online Music Educational Resource was completed and launched free to schools in 2021 to appeal to a young IT-connected audience attracted to learning online and to complement traditional tuition.
  • Services For Education’s School Support Service provides expert training and development to teaching and support staff in nearly 600 schools in the West Midlands and increasingly across England, to improve practice and ensure teachers are best equipped to respond to developments in curriculum and policy. As a leading provider of safeguarding education, Services For Education works with 400 schools delivering training in-person and on-line. It also delivers innovative programmes to support the physical and emotional health of children and young people through Health for Life and other community-based activity.



Services For Education has been recognised regionally and nationally for its work:


Asian Business Chamber of Commerce Awards:

  • 2022: Outstanding Charity of the Year (winner)

Bett Awards:

  • 2022: Transformational Impact (finalist)

Birmingham Awards:

  • 2018: Contribution to Education (winner)
  • 2021: Excellence in Education (finalist)

Birmingham Post Business Awards:

  • 2018: Not-For-Profit Organisation of the Year (finalist)

The Charity Awards:

  • 2022: Arts, culture and heritage (winner)

Education Awards:

  • 2019: Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community (winner)
  • 2021/22: Transforming lives through partnerships (finalist)

Educational Resources Awards:

  • 2019: The Educational Book Award (finalist)

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Annual Awards:

  • 2021: Excellence in Contribution to the community (finalist)
  • 2021: Excellence in Training and Education (winner)
  • 2020: Excellence in Sales & Marketing (finalist)
  • 2019: Excellence in Training & Education (winner)
  • 2018: Excellence in Training & Education (finalist)

Music & Drama Education Awards:

  • 2022: Excellence in Primary/Early Years (Highly Commended)
  • 2021: Outstanding Music Education Resource (winner)
  • 2021: #Goldstars Awards
  • 2020: Excellence in SEND (finalist)

West Midlands Tech Awards:

  • 2021: Innovation in Education (winner)


Services For Education’s Annual Review for 2021 is available here:


Issued on behalf of:

Services For Education
Unit 3 Holt Court
Holt Street
Birmingham Science Park
Birmingham B7 4AX


For further information on Services For Education:

David Clarke, Clarke Associates, (Public and media relations, Services For Education)


M: 07808 735255




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