Paul S. Farmer
2009 Election photo
|Born||April 16, 1950
Woodford Green, Essex
|Residence||Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk|
|Occupation||Retired head teacher/local councillor|
|Known for||Devising the first UK school exam in pop music|
Paul Stephen Farmer (born 16 April 1950) is a retired British educationalist who developed the use of pop music in school music education in the 1970s, and was the first to devise a public examination in pop music in the UK. He wrote several music education books and became a London comprehensive school head teacher at the age of 33.
Farmer was born in Woodford Green, Essex, the son of an examiner in HM Patent Office. After Woodford Green Preparatory School he won an LEA grant to Chigwell School, where he learnt to play the organ. He was accepted by both the Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music and chose the former. There he gained the ARCM diploma and took the joint College and Academy graduate course (GRSM). He began his career as a secondary school music teacher and later studied part-time at London University’s Institute of Education, where he took both the Diploma and MA in Education. In 1997 the Chartered Management Institute admitted him to membership as a Fellow (FCMI), based on his later work in school management. In December 2012 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).
In 1974, after two years' teaching, Farmer was appointed Head of Music at Holland Park School, London, where he developed the use of pop music in music teaching. He created the first public examination in pop music, a mode III Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) which was first administered in 1976. The exam was devised to motivate a group of otherwise educationally disenchanted fourth form pupils, including Angus Gaye (aka Drummie Zeb) who went on to form the reggae group Aswad. Out of this course emerged what the authors believed to be the first classroom textbook in pop music,Pop Workbook, co-written by Farmer and Tony Attwood and first published in 1978. Demand for the book led to its reprinting in 1979 and 1982. Alongside Holland Park's 4th/5th year course in pop music Farmer devised similar but broader modules for 11-14 year olds which were later published as the Longman Music Topics.
In 1979 the first edition of Farmer's book Music in the Comprehensive School was published, written for teachers and students of education, with a slightly larger second edition in 1984.
In 1981 Farmer became Deputy Head of Dick Sheppard School, a mixed comprehensive in Brixton noted for its left-wing activists on the teaching staff. He was subsequently appointed its Head Teacher at the age of 33 and was described as the Inner London Education Authority's (ILEA's) youngest head. His four years of headship were eventful (see WP entry for school) and in 1987 he was succeeded by Philip Lawrence QGM, who was murdered outside the school gates of his second headship.
After the ILEA was abolished Farmer left London for Suffolk and held a number of part-time posts, teaching and examining music, including Choirmaster at Old Buckenham Hall prep school. He also founded and ran the first registered UK charity specialising in exclusively male health problems, The Men's Health Trust.
In 2003 Farmer was elected to St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Bury St Edmunds Town Council. He has served on St Edmundsbury's cabinet, first as Arts & Culture portfolio holder, where he immediately got embroiled in the "dangerous" headstone controversy and closing the Manor House Museum. The latter action was deeply unpopular with many of his electors and a possible reason that he lost votes in the 2007 election, though still winning by a comfortable majority. From May 2007 he became responsible for finance. He was elected to Suffolk County Council in 2009 but resigned from the county council and reduced his borough council responsibilities in 2010 for health reasons. He was re-elected to the town centre historic Abbeygate ward on St Edmundsbury council and Bury St Edmunds town council in May 2011 with his highest ever number of votes.
Main published works
- Attwood, Tony; Paul Farmer (1978). Pop Workbook. Edward Arnold. ISBN 978-0-7131-0155-3.
- Farmer, Paul (1979). Music in the Comprehensive School. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-317418-4.
- Farmer, Paul (1982). A Handbook of Composers and Their Music. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-321092-9.
- Farmer, Paul, ed. (1984). Music in Practice: A Collection of Music Projects for the Comprehensive School. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-321094-3.
- Longman Music Topics A series of classroom booklets, Longman 1979-1986, including:
- Into the Classics. Longman. 1979. ISBN 0-582-21576-5.
- Pop. Longman. 1979. ISBN 0-582-21577-3.
- Ragtime and Blues. Longman. 1979. ISBN 0-582-21579-X.
- Recording and Electronics. Longman. 1979. ISBN 0-582-21578-1.
- Into the Modern Classics. Longman. 1981. ISBN 0-582-20096-2.
- Steelbands and Reggae. Longman. 1981. ISBN 0-582-20097-0.
- Instruments of the Orchestra. Longman. 1982. ISBN 0-582-20018-0.
- The Story of Pop. Longman. 1982. ISBN 978-0-582-20017-3.
- Instruments in Pop and Jazz. Longman. 1985. ISBN 0-582-20218-3.
- (with F. Reilly) Music in Show Business. Longman. 1986. ISBN 0-582-20217-5.
- A Place for Pop, Times Educational Supplement 16.7.1976, pp 31 & 33; Pop Music in the Secondary School, Music in Education (Novello & Co Ltd) Sept/Oct 1976 vol 40 no 381 ISSN: 0027-433X page 217 (also mentioned by Lucy Green on pg 151 of Music on deaf ears, 1988 Manchester University Press 0-7190-2647-4); Pop Music in School Studies, Australia Daily News, 19 May 1976
- "About Paul Farmer". PaulFarmer.com. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- The OC Mitre, the magazine of Chigwell Alumni, Issue 7, Dec 2011
- Pop in the Classroom in ILEA Contact, 14 May 1976 vol 5 Issue 3 (pub. Inner London Education Authority)
- Poly Victoros (1 October 2005). "WestFocus seminar report: Teaching resources for recorded music". Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Metropolitan Regional Examination Board
- Foot stompin' hard swottin' for exam sittin' , London Evening Standard, 2 June 1976, pg 11; The comprehensive rock report, Record Mirror & Disc, 10 April 1976, pp 22 & 23
- Chapter 7 from Farmer's Music in the Comprehensive School
-  Bibliography of Tony Attwood
- Pop Workbook - TonyAttwood, Paul Farmer - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Farmer, Paul. "Results for 'se:"Longman music topics"'". Worldcat.org. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Stephanie Pitts (2000). Reasons to teach music: establishing a place in the contemporary curriculum, British Journal of Music Education, 17, pp 32-42; Perceptions of Crystallising and Paralysing Factors in the Development of Student Teachers of Music in Scotland, 
- House of Lords debate February 5, 1986 Lord Harris of Greenwich, Hansard 1236
- South London press, 25 September 1987, pg 14
- "The man who wouldn't hide - News". The Independent. 1995-12-10. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Man Trouble in The Sunday Times Style magazine 13 July 1997 pp 34-35; further info at http://opencharities.org/charities/1061184
- "Election Results St Edmundsbury Borough Council". Stedmundsbury.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- "St. Edmundsbury Borough Council Cabinet". 16 January 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
-  St Edmundsbury headstone policy
- "Charity joins bid to save museum - News - East Anglian Daily Times". Eadt.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- "Protest as museum collection dismantled - News - East Anglian Daily Times". Eadt.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- "St Edmundsbury Borough Council election 2007 - results A to K". Stedmundsbury.gov.uk. 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
-  pg 6 of St Edmundsbury cabinet meeting minutes 11th Feb 2009
- "Results table 2009 - Suffolk CountyCouncil Elections". Elections.suffolkcc.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Published on Fri Oct 01 08:00:50 BST 2010. "Councillor stepping back - Local Authority". Bury Free Press. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Thewils, Jo (2011-05-06). "Local elections - St Edmundsbury: Conservatives take seats from Liberal Democrats". Eadt.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-22.