Industry cautiously welcomes government’s new music education plan for England
Corporate News Education & Events
By Chris Cooke | Posted on Monday, June 27, 2022
The UK government this weekend published its new national plan for music education in England, which it says sets out a vision “to enable all children and young people in England to learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together”, and to “advance their musical interests and talents, including professionally”.
Ministers opened a consultation on music education in February 2020, with the aim of “refreshing” a previous national plan published in 2011. Music teachers and the music industry hoped that this refresh could address various issues and concerns that have been raised about music education. in English schools over the past decade.
Most of these problems and concerns started with the deprioritization of creative subjects in general in the English curriculum, which inevitably led to a decrease in funds allocated to music, including music lessons, instruments and extracurricular musical activities. The new plan was greeted with caution by groups representing music teachers and the music industry.
In the narrative accompanying the plan, the government states that, among other things, “tens of thousands of pupils will have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument thanks to new capital funding worth 25 million pounds for schools to buy musical instruments and equipment”. .
The plan also calls on schools to provide at least one hour per week of musical programming for students aged five to fourteen; appoint a music manager or head of department; and to write and publish a “Music Development Plan” including information on how the music is staffed and financed.
On top of all this, the government says it will make £79million available each year for the Music Education Hubs scheme, which exists to support music education, tuition and activities in and around schools in England.
Among those who welcomed the new plan was the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, which said it had yet to consider the details of what is included in the new document, but added that the main proposals were mostly positive.
Its CEO, Deborah Annetts, said: “The updated national plan has taken years to work on and we are pleased that it has been released today. ISM will take the time to forensically review the document and listen to teachers’ views. However, on first reading, there seems to be a lot that we can welcome and that our members will be happy to see included. The plan states that music should be a key part of the school curriculum, which we are very happy with.”
However, there is still a long way to go, Annetts added. “We believe the plan would be improved if music teachers, parents and other experts had the opportunity to give their opinion on the contents of the plan through formal consultation,” she said, before adding: “To truly grow music in schools, we need urgent reform of accountability measures and increased funding for music in schools.”
Nonetheless, she concluded, “ISM would like to thank the members of the expert panel and government officials who have clearly worked incredibly hard on the plan we have before us today.”
Meanwhile, UK Music chief Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “The new national plan for music education and the capital investment commitment are welcome. Music can transform lives. It is therefore vital that musical education does not become the prerogative of a privileged few and is accessible to all, whatever their origin. Continued investment in music education is vital if we are to unlock the enormous creative potential of young people and increase opportunities across the country.”