UK Music Welcomes Cross-Party Support For Music Education In Parliamentary Debate

A music in education debate led by James Frith MP saw politicians from the leading parties show support for music education reforms

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17.07.2019: A music in education debate led by James Frith MP, which was attended by UK Music’s CEO Michael Dugher, as well as other leading music industry figures, saw politicians from the leading parties show support for music education reforms.

Image: James Frith MP and UK Music CEO Michael Dugher [Centre] with debate MP's and leading industry figures 

James Frith used his speech to back UK Music’s proposals for provision of creative education to be a criteria for achieving an Outstanding Ofsted rating, which was widely supported by MP’s.

The Bury North representative quoted figures from UK Music's Securing Our Talent Pipeline report, including findings that 50 per cent of children at independent schools receive sustained music tuition, whilst the figure for state schools in only 15 per cent.

He also underlined the socio-economic divide in music education by referencing other facts in the report which revealed 17 per cent of music creators were educated at independent schools, compared to 7 per cent across the population as a whole and 46 per cent of music creators received financial help from family or friends to develop their careers.

Speaking at the debate James Frith MP said:

“Our education system must support a deepening of the well of the talent we come to rely on.”

He went on to say “There is a huge variation between our state and independent schools. Music education and access with opportunity to learn, play and perform remains too exclusive a pursuit and this must change.”

Former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP spoke about music’s value in children’s development, while MP Chris Ruane emphasised the wider benefits of music in education for wellbeing and better mental health. Former headteacher Thelma Walker MP called for proper funding for music in schools to ensure equality for every child no matter their socio-economic background and Tracy Brabin MP highlighted music’s role in Britain’s soft power.

Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music David Warburton MP noted UK Music’s statistics from our Measuring Music report that the UK's music industry contributes £4.5 billion to the economy and generates £2.6 billion in export revenue.


Education Minister Nick Gibb responded by confirming the Government’s support for music education saying:

“The new model curriculum, the refreshed national plan for music, the ongoing support for our successful music hubs and our other music programmes will make sure that the next generation of music superstars have all the support that they need in schools, from their first exposure to the joys of music at a young age to provision for the brightest and most talented young musicians.”

The Minister concluded his speech by stating “UK Music’s report “Securing Our Talent Pipeline” helpfully highlights the importance of the music industry to the UK economy, and I agree with its conclusion that if we want to produce the stars of the future, we must invest in talent for the future.”

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher attended the music education debate led MP James Frith on the 17th July 2019, along with AIM CEO Paul Pacifico and their Head of Legal Gee Davy, MPA Chair Roberto Neri and their Interim Manager Lorna Greenwood, the Musicians Union’s National Organiser for Education Diane Widdison and BPI’s Director of Public Affairs Ian Moss.

Also in attendance were Ian Lucas MP, Rupa Huq MP, John Howell MP, Jim Shannon MP, Alex Sobel MP, Alex Chalk MP and Kevin Brennan MP, who at the debate raised the issue of the Government’s exclusive of music venues from business rates relief.

Read the Securing Our Talent Pipeline report here.
Read our Measuring Music 2018 report here.
Read the transcript of the debate here.

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