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Press release

  • 4 July 2005
  • Music tutor hits high note with teaching award

    Duncan Mackrill

    Duncan Mackrill

    Duncan Mackrill's career as music curriculum tutor at the University of Sussex has hit a high note after he was named among the 50 winners of a prestigious national teaching award.

    Mackrill, who has taught secondary Post-graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) students at Sussex for six years, has been chosen as one of the "rising stars" in the 2005 National Teaching Fellowship Scheme for his innovative approach to music education.

    He will attend a special ceremony in London in September, where he will be awarded £50,000 to be used for a project that will make a special contribution to learning and education.

    "Technology has revolutionised the teaching and learning of music in schools over the last decade," says Mackrill.  "There is now an opportunity to place creativity at the centre of music lessons, which is very exciting."

    Mackrill's ground-breaking, nationally respected innovations include a revolutionary new assessment system for pupils' work that is now commercially available. He has also considerably developed the range and use of music technology equipment for use by trainee teachers at Sussex, which the Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted) and external examiners have noted as a strength of the course.

    Mackrill describes himself as "not a natural academic",  but he has thrived and developed at Sussex, not least through undertaking an MA.  He says: "Through the culture of teaching and learning in higher education, I have been able to re-consider and re-evaluate my own philosophy about music education, and crucially, to encourage others to do the same. It is a great privilege to be able to work with and influence new teachers entering the profession and to try out new approaches and test ideas."

    Last year Mackrill won a University of Sussex teaching award for the improvements he had made to curriculum content and teaching strategies.

    Dr Rose Luckin, University Pro-Vice-Chancellor, says: "Duncan is an educator in whose company one always feels refreshed, stimulated and intellectually invigorated.  He has already offered much to the communities that include music and teacher education, and will continue to provide more during his career."

    The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS), launched in 2000, recognises and rewards teachers and learning support staff in higher education for their excellence in teaching. It is managed by the Higher Education Academy and funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, as part of the individual strand of the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund.


    This is the third consecutive year that a member of staff at the Sussex Institute has won a NTFS award. Last year creative writing tutor Dr Celia Hunt was a winner in the Experienced Staff category. In 2003 an award went to Professor Imogen Taylor, head of the University's department of social work and care.   




    Notes for editors 

    University of Sussex press office contacts: Jacqui Bealing or Maggie Clune, Tel. 01273 678888, email:

    For more information on the National Training Fellowship Scheme, see


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