Towards a new strategic plan for Hackney Youth Orchestras Trust

HYOT Trustees and CEO • 2nd March 2019

Hackney Youth Orchestras Trust (HYOT) Trustees and our Chief Executive have been reviewing our strategy and we want to discuss options for a plan for the next five years with parents, carers and students.

HYOT is a charity in which, at the moment, all trustees are either current or former parents. We use any surpluses from our activity to invest in future provision. As part of our review, and based on previous engagement with stakeholders, we have been exploring how we might create a broader and stronger music curriculum that supports all students, existing and new. Our aim is to develop a wider and more critical engagement with music and to maximise the educational outcomes of students.

The background to this review is a more difficult fundraising environment and in recent years the loss of some of our regular funding. We therefore want to create a plan that supports the organisation’s sustainability whilst advancing our social diversity, accessibility and community engagement.

Components of a future programme, including existing and new activity might include:

  • Individual Instrumental tuition of 30 minutes and longer
  • Extended tuition for higher grade students
  • Additional instruments for Individual tuition
  • Vocal & Musicianship groups
  • Choral groups
  • Junior and Chamber orchestras
  • Chamber music groups
  • Expansion of theory tuition
  • Aural classes
  • Community Choir

With the addition of a structured Theory & Aural curriculum, we would be able to provide more meaningful support to our students and open doors to new students. Extended tuition for higher grade students would improve practical results for each student individually and in our orchestras. The introduction of new instruments for one-to-one tuition, Vocal & Musicianship, Chamber Music and Choral groups would further enhance our provision. An early result would be that we could reduce our waiting list so that future outreach work is realistic in terms of our ability to offer a place without an extended or undefined wait.

To underpin the thinking about our programme, we would like to consider whether the following principles might be adopted to help to frame the formulation of a new plan:

  • Through offering packages of activity, more students would be involved in a complementary mix of music making across a larger number of hours each Saturday, improving the value for money represented by our offer.
  • We would aim to design our programme to reflect feedback we receive from the community, parents, carers and students, strengthening the sense of ownership in the design of our services.
  • We would continue to fundraise but reduce the extent of our reliance on fundraising as a proportion of overall income.
  • This would mean that we need to narrow the gap, over time, between our costs and the prices we charge for activity, in turn resulting in tuition fee rises.
  • At the same time, we would aim to significantly increase the number of concessionary places that we can support, allocating a higher proportion of the funds we do raise to those students most in need.
  • We would also improve student access by reducing bottlenecks and barriers to progression for our students.
  • This in turn would raise the potential for new partnerships and collaborations.
  • Overall the proposed new programme would allow us to increase student numbers and shift the balance in our offer to activity that can recover the full cost of delivery and in some cases produce a surplus. This would allow us to better sustain our central administrative operation.

We are aware that it will be necessary to stage a gradual introduction of new services and changes in prices for current students. We envisage that we could have the full range of changes proposed in place for the September 2020/21 academic year.

Consultation, Parents’ Meeting, Questionnaire

We would be grateful to receive your feedback on the principles and proposals outlined in this paper. We will separately circulate an online questionnaire which we would like all HYOT participants to complete.

In addition we would like to invite you to a Meeting on Saturday 16th March 2019 at Stoke Newington School at 11am where you will have the opportunity to discuss this document in person and we can share our thoughts with trustees and the Chief Executive. If you cannot attend the meeting, you are very welcome to talk to Vicky Yannoula on 16th March between the hours of 9am-11am.