A-level music education could “disappear” by 2033, new study finds

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A new study says A-level music education could be wiped out of the curriculum in just over a decade.

Researchers at Birmingham City University say the lack of access to music education has been exacerbated by cuts in local and government funding. They subsequently issued a warning that the qualification could disappear entirely by 2033, inhibiting a new generation of future UK talent.

The findings of lead researchers Dr Adam Whittaker and Professor Martin Fautley have led music academics and music industry professionals to call for urgent intervention and a package of political and financial measures to support the UK public music education.

Dr Whittaker said of the research: “We know from the trends in A-level adoption over the past few years that the number of students taking A-level music has fallen to a very high level. worrying. We are now in a position where there are parts of the country with very limited access to A-level music or, in some cases, no access at all. “

“Children cannot choose a diploma that is not offered to them. What should a child who wants to take an A-level music course do if the nearest school offering it is 30 miles away? We need A-level music and other specialized subjects to be offered in a range of schools across a local authority area.

“This is important because A-level music can help young musicians pursue higher education in music and their future careers, including as the next generation of music educators. “

Dr Whittaker and Professor Fautley state in their research that “Those who cannot afford to finance private instrumental studies are unlikely to have sufficient income to pay for independent tuition, even if a scholarship supports them. to a greater or lesser extent … the current rates of decline in admissions over the past few years show that A-level music will likely have no entries by 2033 if the current rate of decline continues in a linear fashion.

The report also shows that independent schools account for a much higher number of A-level music admissions compared to national entry statistics. It also reveals that only 1 percent of Midlands students enroll in music education.

UK Chief Music Officer Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “There has been a worrying decline in the number of young people studying music at A level in recent years. Unless steps are taken to reverse this trend, there is a real risk of serious damage to the talent pool on which the music industry depends.

Music education enriches the lives of countless children and young people, but it also brings enormous cultural, economic and social benefits to the UK.

“At UK Music we continue to discuss with government and education officials how we can ensure that children of all backgrounds have the best possible chance to study music, which is one of the our great national assets. “

Professor Martin Fautley added, “We have been concerned about the decline in the number of A-level music for some time. Music is an important part of the lives of many of our young people, but fewer and fewer of them are choosing higher education while in school.

“With the increasing fragmentation of the education system that this government has overseen, there is a very real possibility that many of our young people will simply not have the opportunity to participate in this study, even if they wish to. “

Read the full report here.


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