IDEA Strategy: People and Culture

Statement of intent

We will strengthen the diversity of our workforce and promote an inclusive culture that values difference, where all staff feel they belong and have opportunities to succeed.  

Surrey Music Hub board members and Surrey Arts leadership team are champions of IDEA, acting as role models and demonstrating their commitment to tackling inequality. 

We will employ people who are diverse in their thinking. Different backgrounds, experiences, life skills and approaches will expand our thinking and operations, and enable us to more flexibly design, plan and deliver our service.


Over the last 12 months we have undertaken a refresh of our hub board, which has included the appointment of an independent chair, a skills audit and analysis of gaps in representation. We have started working on recruiting new members for the board through a mixture of open recruitment as well as a targeted approach, where more appropriate. 

We plan to build upon existing opportunities for Children and Young people to directly influence decisions at board and senior management level. This will include developing diverse Youth Panels to having meaningful input at events and conferences and developing mechanisms for existing youth groups to feed into SMH decision making. Such groups will include the I Speak Music youth board (representing displaced C&YP), Nu Voices (vocal group for Children in Care) and Culture Box Surrey. 

We continue to seek advice from industry experts and in September 2023 we will invite Sound Connections to give specific advice across our whole service relating to embedding Youth Voice into music lessons, repertoire choices and service decision making. 

Inclusion Lead 

At present the Inclusion Lead role is covered by two posts. John Stephens (SLT Lead for Curriculum and LCEP) leads on Surrey Arts’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) strategy. Jim Pinchen leads our Inclusion Programme comprising a range of provision for identified groups of children and young people. 

Staff recruitment 

We have reviewed and implemented changes to our recruitment policy during the last 12 months but we know we have further work to do. During autumn 2023 we will complete a new round of collecting of Surrey Arts 

staff data, using updated processes, relating to protected characteristics. From this we can ascertain an updated staff demographic profile. 

During 2023-24 we will be creating a strategy to expand the range of instruments offered via instrumental / vocal programmes to include more contemporary and non-classical instruments to better reflect the increasingly diverse community in Surrey, including for example: 

  • Music technologists, turntablists, spoken word artists 
  • Specialist tutors in: 
  • Indian music, north and south (sitar and tabla) 
  • Pakistani music (dohl) 
  • West African percussion instruments 
  • Turkish, Syrian, Iranian and other mid-Asian musical traditions 
  • Brazilian and Cuban percussion 
  • Eastern and Western European folk music 

Recruitment of those with lived experiences e.g displaced to Surrey Arts Inclusion team 

We will continue to develop our recruitment policies and to work with partners to ensure that our workforce is diverse and representative of the communities we aim to serve. From September 2023 and beyond, we will continue to recruit and provide (on the job) opportunities for professionals who have lived refugee/asylum seeking experience. 50% of our inclusion team will come from non-white and diverse backgrounds and reflect the nationalities, religions and cultural backgrounds of the displaced communities we aim to support by for example, being native Farsi, Arabic, Pashtu, Spanish and Ukrainian speakers and have specialist knowledge and insight, for example relating to Music and Islam. Our team will also represent LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse communities. 

During 2023-2024 and beyond we will create opportunities for our inclusion team to collaborate with our workforce who predominantly work in mainstream settings and we will continue to ensure that the diversity of this team is able to shape other areas of our service such as marketing, recruitment and booking systems. 

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) 

IDEA core principle of our CPD 

During 2023-24 our CPD programme for primary, secondary and special schools will reflect the findings of an IDEA focussed review of our CPD offer for, and communications to, schools conducted for us by IDEA consultant Sam Stimpson as part of our involvement in the Youth Music IDEA programme. 

Annual Surrey Schools Music conference 

In June 2024 we will run a Surrey schools music education conference. This will follow the pattern set by our similar recent 2023 event, which had an IDEA focus embedded throughout. The 2023 event included a keynote by Dr Nate Holder, an inclusive youth delegate parallel conference, and workshops focusing on inclusive singing and music making. 

Surrey Arts Learning week 2024 

In September 2024 we will run a Learning Week for Surrey Arts teaching staff. As has been the case for the previous 2 years there will be an IDEA theme embedded throughout. This year we are focusing on two concepts: 

1. Diversifying the repertoire – as part of our involvement in the Youth Music IDEA programme (see below) 

2. Youth voice, with a focus on placing the child or young person at the centre of the learning process during instrumental/vocal lessons 

Sessions will be delivered by OHMI (One Handed Musical Instrument foundation), Sound Connections and IDEA consultant Mahalia Edwards among others. 

Trauma informed practice 

Surrey Music Hub will continue our strong partnership with Musicians Without Borders (MWB). All our music tutors who work on our inclusive projects have undergone MWBs Trauma informed practice training which is subsequently embedded into their delivery and project planning. An example of good practice would be how our music facilitators design workshops to help healthy nervous system regulation. These approaches were first used to help C&YP who are suffering the effects of trauma and will be expanded to be utilised in SEND and mainstream settings. SMH will share learning related to this across our workforce and at regional and national events during the next academic year and beyond.