Hackney Music Network believes that all children and young people should have a fundamental right and equal opportunity to access high quality music making, education and resources where they live and learn. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is central to the work we do.


–       We continually work to offer a musically inclusive programme that is representative of the communities we service, changes lives, improves health and wellbeing, and supports children and young people to achieve their full potential.


–       We are committed to understanding and removing both visible and invisible barriers to access and progression in music making to provide a universally accessible and affordable offer


–       We seek to provide opportunities for children, young people, and young adults with additional challenges (e.g., neurodiversity, disability, socio-economic disadvantage) to make music in inclusive environments, and facilitating progression routes by working with external partners


–       We proactively seek to redress the underrepresentation in our workforce and to ensure that it is representative of the communities we serve and that they feel welcome and included no matter their gender, ethnicity, race, religious and political beliefs, education, socioeconomic background, disability, or sexual orientation.


–       We work to support our music leaders to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of the inequalities in society our communities face and approaches to developing musically inclusive practice


Some of our inclusion programmes include:


Classical Meets Jazz – (CMJ) diversity ensemble, which aims to respond to the under-representation of professional musicians from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds, as well as those challenged by socio-economic circumstances in orchestral and jazz ensembles.


Youth Music Forum (YMF) – Youth Voice programme led by young people for young people, (devising, curating, and running their own musical events, undertaking surveys with young people, and informing the work we do) and leading to potential opportunities within the creative industries.


Inclusive Ensemble – supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, including profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) to make music together and with non-disabled musicians.


Hackney Mayor’s Music Awards (MMA) – Set up the Geoff Taylor SEND Pupil Award for individual pupils, as well as The Geoff Taylor Special Projects Award to support SEND pupils across mainstream and special schools.


Tutor Diversity Ambassador (TDA) – Workforce development programme to help discussions and develop awareness of discrimination and inequalities in the industry, to increase and retain a diverse workforce that is representative of the communities we serve, and to support a deeper understanding of musically inclusive practice.


In 2020, we commissioned Dr Phil Mullen to undertake some research and to create a Musical Inclusion Strategy with recommendations for further development. This is an ambitious five-year strategy to help us become more musically inclusive in all that we do.


“Hackney Music Service is one of the more progressive hubs in the country, successfully balancing aspects of a traditional music service offer with targeted work with children in challenging circumstances and with a broad range of popular genres and instruments.”

Dr Phil Mullen, 2021


In 2020, we commissioned Dr Phil Mullen to undertake some research and to create a Musical Inclusion Strategy with recommendations for further development. This is an ambitious five-year strategy to help us become more musically inclusive in all that we do.


Eight priorities of the 4-year Musical Inclusion Strategy (2021-2025):

1.     Cultures, policies, and procedures to support inclusion and to ensure that appropriate and continuing resources are put in place to enable the inclusion strategy to succeed.


2.     An advocacy programme will continue to embed the importance of musical inclusion across the hub area with organisations, families, and individuals.


3.     All staff (to include all music hub staff, generalist and specialist school music teachers, frontline volunteers and other hub providers) have the skills to deliver more musically inclusive practice. In addition, the hub will have, within the workforce1, individuals with the skills necessary to engage all children in the area, most notably including those children with social, emotional, and mental health difficulties (SEMHD).


4.     The work of the hub to engage in sustainable ways with groups of children in challenging circumstances, including new groups, has expanded.


5.     The hub will have developed an inclusive ensemble, i.e., a performance-based ensemble involving both disabled and non-disabled young musicians. In addition, there will be a cross hub inclusive ensemble with young people from across the ELMA region.


6.     The workforce, and the governance bodies where possible, of the hubs more closely reflect the makeup of East London.


7.     Data, particularly on the level of engagement, retention and progression of children in challenging circumstances, is used as a driver for inclusion, influences future strategy and, where appropriate, is shared across the ELMA group2.


8.     Evaluating the quality of inclusive practice across the region is embedded and influences future action.




1 In this document, workforce is taken to mean: ‘all those involved in delivering music education on behalf of the MEH’


2 The hub will need to have established a system for data collection and collation for different CCC groups, beyond their current Arts Council Data returns. These groups should include those on FSM, Pupil Premium, LAC / CIC, those with an ECHP and those with SEND, BAME and cultural or faith background where possible. The data should also include children on fixed term and permanent exclusions.