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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 03 April 2006

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Classic FM Searches for the UK's Most Inspirational Music Teachers

CLASSIC FM is once again scouring classrooms the width and breadth of the UK to find the Classic FM Music Teacher of the Year 2006.  The award, presented in association with Yamaha and Sibelius, seeks to recognise and reward the work being undertaken by classroom music teachers across the country. The 2 top music teachers, one from a primary and one from a secondary school, will win thousands of pounds worth of Yamaha musical instruments, a multimedia computer and Sibelius software, used in the notation of music. 8 runners up will win multimedia PCs running Sibelius music
notation software for their schools.

The soprano Katherine Jenkins, who will present the winning teachers with their prizes, has backed the competition, saying:- "I used to be a singing teacher myself and I also had a bunch of great music teachers at school like Mrs Howells and Miss Brown who helped me along the path to becoming a singer. I know how important a good music teacher can be and that's why I'm getting behind Classic FM's Music Teacher of the Year."

Speaking about the award, Classic FM Station Manager Darren Henley said:- "Classroom music teachers are often the unsung heroes of the staffroom. The Classic FM Music Teacher of the Year Award seeks to reward the efforts of those music teachers that go the extra mile by inspiring the next generation of music-makers."

Last year, Helen Cowan from Tapton School in Sheffield was named the Classic FM Music Teacher of the Year and Kim Denman from St Peters Primary School in Mansfield the runner-up.

Nominations for this year's competition are currently being invited, with entry forms available for download via the station's website.  The closing date for entries is Friday, 26 April 2006 and judges will be looking for entries that demonstrate the difference their music teacher has made to the musical life of their school.

Citizens urged to get involved in North West community decisions

LOCAL issues are of key importance to citizens across the North West, according to a new opinion poll published this week by the Home Office.  The majority of those surveyed as part of the Government's Together We Can campaign (73%) want to see change in their local area, with 56% believing that being able to influence decisions locally is more important than doing so nationally. 60% of those in the North West are prepared to invest the time necessary to influence change.

However, when it comes to taking on a more formal role (being a member of a pressure group, magistrate, special constable, school governor or local councillor), just 8% of people have done so, as many wrongly believe that such positions require specific skills and experience.

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said:- "We know that the single most important factor that puts people off
engaging with public bodies is the belief that they won't be able to make any difference, but this is simply not the case. Together We Can is all about creating ways for people to engage with their communities and make that difference.  Government and communities will be more effective when they work together to tackle the problems we face in our society. Our research shows that many people want to influence their local community. What we'd urge people to do now is act."

The poll also shows that many people opt not to take part in their local community because of misconceptions of what the roles require. 46% of those questioned wrongly thought that only parents could become school governors, while 49% did not know that magistrates do not require law qualifications, or that local councillors do not need political experience.

Once these misconceptions are dispelled, it seems that enthusiasm for taking on a more formal role is on the rise. The survey reveals that 46% of adults are keen to get more involved in local decision making, with the majority interested in becoming a magistrate.

The poll was unveiled by Hazel Blears at the Together We Can event in Birmingham this week, during which the she called for people to step forward and get involved in local decision making, no matter what their background, skills or experience.

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