EJMS Covid-19 Update 3 - 7th April 2020

Dear EJMS Parents, Teachers, Staff and Students,

Summer Term 2020

Since my last update on 20th March, the Trustees together with our General Administrator and Music Director have been working out the practicalities of how EJMS can give online music lessons next term. The good news is that we believe we CAN do this, starting on our scheduled 25th April 2020.

Of course, there will be limitations. We will not, for example, be able to run choirs. (Inherent internet time-lags make this impossible.) And streaming music for children to sing with their parents at home brings a host of copyright issues that we would first need to resolve. I am still hoping that we can offer theory lessons.

Quite when the current lockdown restrictions will ease is a question for which I do not have an answer. You will be aware of news channels that this question is being looked at by politicians and medical experts. However, I have to plan on the basis that EJMS will not be able to operate in the Twyford site for the whole of the Summer Term 2020. I would obviously love this to change, but not at the risk of endangering anyone’s health. I have, in the circumstances, taking the decision to cancel the end-of-year concert at St Barnabas Church scheduled for 4th July 2020.

Our current plan is to offer instrumental lessons using Zoom. I am well aware of recent scare stories about several of the internet hosting platforms. EJMS is fortunate to have two Trustees with specialist IT knowledge, and we believe we can set-up lessons in such a way as to not pose any risks to teachers or students.

I hope to be able by the end of this week to be in a position where Janine (our General Administrator) can tell existing parents exactly how we will be operating and also the best way for parents to use their existing computer equipment for online lessons.

Please continue to take care of yourselves at this difficult time, and do follow the latest government and NHS advice.

Very best wishes,

John Hudson
Chair of Trustees
Ealing Junior Music School
[Notice 3 – 7/04/20]

Update 2 - 20/03/20

Dear EJMS Parents, Teachers, Staff and Students,

Since my last update on 17th March, the government has ordered that schools should be closed and all exams for next term cancelled.

I have today been advised by Twyford School that the School site is closed to external hirers until further notice.

As the latest predictions seem to show the virus peaking at the end of May and lockdown until perhaps August, Twyford considers it is very unlikely that they will be able to re-open for hires in the summer term.

This will not be a surprise to anyone. The staff and administrators of Twyford school have my sympathies for what is clearly an extremely challenging time.

Our scheduled term dates for the summer term are 25th April 2020 to 4th July 2020. I am therefore operating on the basis that EJMS will not be able to operate at Twyford School at all in the Summer Term, but that hopefully, we should be able to return to Twyford in September 2020.

I am also intending to cancel the booking at St Barnabas Church on 4th July 2020, as a full concert on that date will be impractical, even if the church has by then re-opened for hire.

(Currently, St Barnabas Church, along with all other Church of England churches, is closed for both church services and concerts.)

The EJMS Trustees are currently making detailed plans on how EJMS may offer online instrumental tuition during the summer term.

I will be in touch again once we have firmed up those plans. As you may imagine, apart from technical considerations such as both parents/students and teachers having suitable equipment and broadband speeds, and being able to access the same music, this will be a new venture for our teaching staff. At this time, it does not seem that online ensembles could take place. However, we are considering what we might offer in the way of theory teaching.

Please continue to take care of yourselves at this difficult time, and do follow the latest government and NHS advice.

Very best wishes,

John Hudson
Chair of Trustees
Ealing Junior Music School
[Notice 2 – 20/03/20]

Update 1 - 17/03/20

Dear EJMS Parents

As you will know, the Prime Minister at his Press Conference yesterday, advised that everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places.

After very careful consideration, the Trustees have decided that EJMS will be closed with immediate effect. It follows that EJMS will NOT be open on 21st and 28th March. Nor will the end of term concerts and exams take place.

Although the government has currently not advised schools to close, EJMS is a very different animal to a normal day school. EJMS has a mix of students from different schools from around the Borough, and EJMS has normally around one hundred parents in the Twyford site at any one time.

The Trustees did consider whether we could stay open for one-to-one lessons but decided this was impracticable. At present we intend to reopen after the Easter holiday period, but government advice seems to be changing on a daily basis. I will write a further update as soon as matters are clearer. In the meantime, the Trustees will be looking at possible contingency arrangements for next term. I would like to assure you that there have been no reported cases of Covid-19 by EJMS students, teachers or staff, but I obviously cannot guarantee that that will remain the case.

Some parents will already be aware that the Junior Departments of two of the central London Music Colleges have also decided to close. In addition, the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music have cancelled all music exams with effect from Wednesday 18 March.

This has been a difficult decision for the Trustees. I am particularly sad that we will not have the chance to hear your wonderful children perform at our end of term concerts. I also appreciate how disappointing it will be for those students who have worked so hard this term to learn that their exams have been suddenly cancelled. As already mentioned, this is entirely out of EJMS control. I am not currently aware of whether the Associated Boards will aim to reschedule the cancelled exams to a date sometime next term. EJMS itself may be able to reschedule the cancelled concerts to next term, but it is too early to say whether this is possible.

Unfortunately, staff will not be able to make up lessons missed, nor can we issue individual refunds under these exceptional circumstances. However, we are looking into whether our instrumental teachers may be able to email parents (via Janine) with suggestions of repertoire/work to do over the break.

Please do not ask Janine for further information. She has enough to do already and at present, there is nothing more we can say. I will issue further updates on the website as the position becomes clearer or more information becomes available. Please check it regularly.

This will be a very difficult time for many people, especially those with underlying health problems. Please take care of yourselves and your children and follow the latest government advice. I look forward to seeing you all again when we can re-open.

Very Best Wishes,

John Hudson
Chair of Trustees
[Notice 1 – 17/03/20]

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