UK Music Welcomes “First Step Towards Tackling The Decline Of Music In State Education”

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher welcomes School Standards Minister Nick Gibb’s announcement to develop a new model music curriculum

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11.01.2019: UK Music CEO Michael Dugher welcomed School Standards Minister Nick Gibb’s announcement today (Friday) to develop a new model music curriculum to be published by the summer and said the music industry was keen to work with the Government and education leaders on the issue.

The Department for Education has announced:

  • £1.33 million extra funding to music education hubs
  • A new model music curriculum to be published by the summer 2019
  • An independent panel of experts to create new curriculum
  • A commitment to refresh the National Plan for Music Education by 2020.

Mr Dugher said he hoped the panel behind the creation of the new model music curriculum would engage with UK Music and seek expert advice from all its members including the Musicians Union.

He added that he looked forward to the review demonstrating how pupils in more deprived communities, who have suffered disproportionately in recent years, would get enhanced access to music in schools.

UK Music also welcomes the announcement of £1.3 million additional funding for young musicians, but argues that this should not be used to cover short falls in existing commitments such as staff salaries.

In UK Music’s “Securing Our Talent Pipeline” report, published last September, the findings showed that 17% of music creators were educated at fee-paying schools, compared with 7% across the population as a whole.

A total of 50% of children at independent schools receive sustained music tuition, while the figure for state schools is only 15%.

It also found an alarming 7.4% drop in the number of pupils taking Music last year and an 8% drop in the previous year – despite overall GCSE entries increasing by 0.2% in the 2017/18 academic year.

The number of schools offering Music A-Level has fallen by more than 15% in the last two years, with Music Technology A-level declining by 32% over the same period.

Renewed evidence of continued funding pressures on school budgets have exacerbated the problems for music in schools. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, school spending per pupil is down eight per cent in real terms between 2009-10 and 2017-18. A total of 66,000 more children were in state schools last year than the year before, yet there are 5,000 fewer teachers.

Michael Dugher said:

“This is a very welcome first step towards tackling the decline in recent years of music in state schools.

“Music contributes £4.5 billion a year to the U.K. economy.  If we fail to reverse the decline in music in state schools, we risk putting Britain’s place as a world leader in generating musical talent in jeopardy.

“Ensuring that music is a central part of a broad and balanced curriculum is essential. We are particularly delighted to see that Julian Lloyd Webber, who has been a passionate supporter of the campaign to tackle the decline of music in education, has been appointed to the panel overseeing the new curriculum.

“Given renewed evidence of the pressures many school budgets are currently under, and even though the extra funding of £1.3m is a relatively small sum, we nonetheless welcome any extra resources as a sign that the Department of Education now recognises the importance of nurturing the music talent pipeline and ensuring that children from all backgrounds have access to the transformative power of music in education”.

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