Martyn Collin

Up close with Martyn Collin, the CEO of leading music, education and training charity,Birmingham’s Services For Education, on the vital work of enhancing the lives of children, young people and adults 


When I started teaching, I had no idea that many years later I would be heading up a Birmingham charity that supports Birmingham schools and children – as one of the largest privately owned collections of music instruments in the UK! My career started 37 years ago at a small school in Shropshire. In 1984, I moved back to my home city of Birmingham to work in schools in Handsworth, Hodge Hill and Sparkhill before becoming head teacher at New Hall School in Falcon Lodge in 1995. In 2004, I became the principal adviser for Birmingham education and was responsible for more than 350 schools. In 2007, I moved to National Strategies as a senior regional director, working across 22 local authorities in the North West. My return to Birmingham came in 2011 as head teacher at Erdington Hall Primary School – part of the Ninestiles Trust – where I later became deputy CEO, and interim CEO. In November 2017, I became CEO at Services For Education.


I lead a team of 270 at Services For Education – a leading music, education and training charity, whose work enhances the lives of children, young people and adults. Our School Support Service works with more than 570 Birmingham schools each year, providing expert training to teaching and support staff, while supporting 500 newly qualified teachers and head teachers. Our Music Service teaches more than 38,000 children and young people each week, while providing 28,000 musical instruments free of charge. We also run 70 ensemble groups.


I am a proud Brummie. My father grew up in Saltley, my mother in Aston and they married at Aston Church. I went to school in Erdington and Boldmere, where my children grew up and benefited from all Birmingham has to offer. I have spent my professional life wholeheartedly contributing to the city I love through my work as a teacher and head teacher. Now as CEO at Services For Education, I have an even greater chance to give back to the city. Most of our work is focused on children and young adults but, over the next few years, we are looking to broaden our impact by working with adults.


Professionally, being a head teacher – it’s the best job in the world. When I failed my 11-plus examination, I never thought I would go into the teaching profession but over time opportunities opened and I just grabbed them. Personally, I was a member of the England Junior Ski Team from 1975 to 1978.


As a leader you can’t do everything yourself. Surround yourself with brilliant people and let them get on with it!


I love the vibrancy brought about by the city’s cultural mix.


I ride my road bike around the lanes of Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire at weekends. I have just purchased a tandem and plan to get my wife, also a teacher, to join me. She’s not yet convinced! I also play drums in the Expresso Bongo Orchestra, a 10-piece dance band.