The hourly rate advertised by Bournemouth and Poole College is £28. It was only £18 just over a year ago, effectively on a zero hours contract

(Post made at 1754 UK BST time on 4 Sep 2018 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).

Further to my post of yesterday, the Bournemouth and Poole College / Centre for Wessex Young Musicians is currently advertising for a permanent Wessex Starter Strings / Wessex Middle Strings Conductor, after having had a succession of “guest coaches” since mid May 2017.

Centre for Wessex Young Musicians rate for staff as low as £18 per hour

The hourly rate in the advert is given as £28.

I mentioned yesterday that I was glad the rate had gone up.  Why?

Extract from Protocol (agency) payslip during 2017

Because the rate paid to the previous “permanent” WSS/WMS Conductor (can it really be “permanent” if it is effectively a zero hours contract, with zero notice period?) was only £18 per hour.  Presumably this was also the rate paid to the Fanfares Conductor, and the Theory Class Lecturer – and presumably they too will now be getting the new rate of £28 per hour, instead of only £18 per hour (fairness should probably demand this).

£18 per hour is a very low rate as compared with the market rate for music teaching of at least £32 per hour, typically more for group teaching. So the new rate £28 is still low, albeit a considerable improvement on the previous rate.

My wife had accepted the low £18 per hour rate on the basis that, as for others involved in the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians, this was a labour of love, and the Bournemouth and Poole College had said that this was all it could afford.

CWYM course fees: College website quotes both £165 and £175

The College’s claim that it could only afford to pay low rates may perhaps be explained by the extremely low fees the College charges for the course, namely £175 for the whole year, which works out at under £4 per hour per pupil.

But despite the rates now having increased from £18 to £28 per hour, the course fees for 2018/2019 remain at £175 for the whole year.  Note that (as it has done for well over a year, despite my having pointed this out to them), the relevant page on the College’s website still quotes – on its Course Costs tab – both £165 and £175 as the fee for the whole year – I believe £175 is the correct rate:

Bournemouth and Poole College webpage on CWYM costs

A labour of love – ok if you feel you are treated properly

People don’t mind working for low rates (or even for nothing in the case of volunteers – I volunteered there for 10 years) if the cause is good.

But if they feel they are being poorly treated and when they raise concerns informally they are then treated appallingly and dismissed without notice or thanks (after almost 13 years) on a pretext, then in my view that is shameful.

Treat people as proper employees, with proper notice and a duty of care

At the very least, I think any new WSS/WMS Conductor (and any other CWYM staff currently retained on an agency contract), as well as being paid far closer to the market rate, should have a reasonable notice period, and be treated as employees (that the Bournemouth and Poole College have a legal duty of care towards).

Bournemouth and Poole College said it didn’t have a duty of care towards Jane because she was working through an agency (Protocol). The fact that she had given 13 years of extremely dedicated and loyal service seemed to count for nothing in their eyes.

In my opinion, no one should have to put up with such treatment at the hands of the Bournemouth and Poole College or the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians again.

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