Education Leaders Warn Government Funding Shake-Up Will Hit Music Students

UK Music hosted a panel focussed on the potential impact on music students following a planned Government funding shake-up of level 3 music qualifications.

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26.02.2024: UK Music hosted a panel on the potential impact on music students following a planned Government funding shake-up of level 3 music qualifications. 

The panel (pictured) followed a letter from UK Music to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan which called on the Government to halt damaging plans to withdraw funding for post-16 music qualifications.  

Nina Radojewski, Chair of UK Music’s Education and Skills Committee, chaired the panel at the Music & Drama Education Expo in Islington on Friday February 26. 

The panel featured Adrianne Chapman, Vice Principal at The BRIT School; Andy Sankey, Chief Examiner for Music at the University of Arts London (UAL); and Tim Bennett-Hart CEO of RSL Awards. 

Tim Bennett-Hart was critical of the Government’s proposed reforms, noting “this reform is not only impacting the life chances of students across the country. They are disproportionately impacting those from less privileged backgrounds”. 

He praised the role of UK Music in campaigning against the proposals, saying:  “UK Music have done an amazing job as our industry trade body at representing our views here”. 

Adrianne Chapman agreed with Tim’s assessment of the reforms, saying that “the constant reform of level 3 qualifications is really disruptive”. She also highlighted how the BRIT School and BRIT Awards demonstrate how vocational music education supports the entire music ecosystem.

Adrianne said: “Music education needs to be seen as supporting the wider music ecosystem. At the BRIT Awards you see this ecosystem in full flow. From successful performing artists like Raye, to productions designers and live event technicians, we see the range of roles available in music”. 

Andy Sankey, while acknowledging the challenges with the coming reforms for level 3 qualifications, also noted that “there is an opportunity to redevelop our qualifications for the first time”.

He also suggested that the UK Government should look to Welsh music education reforms as a model.  Andy said: “They are putting music back into mainstream education. They started their reforms by listening to experts and are now getting the right results”. 

Closing the discussion, Nina thanked the audience and panellists. A brass band, whose performance had provided a backdrop to the discussion from the adjoining room, also concluded their rehearsal. A fitting illustration of music education in action.


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