UK Music renews call for new National Plan for Music Education as GCSE results published20 August 2020 - Press release
UK Music renewed its call for a National Plan for Music Education as GCSE results were published today (Thursday).
Acting CEO Tom Kiehl said the Covid-19 pandemic would have a continuing impact on music teaching after pupils return to the classroom because of social distancing guidelines.
He outlined how a National Plan for Music Education was “more important than ever” as part of efforts to encourage music in schools and help nurture the talent pipeline on which the music industry depends.
Mr Kiehl’s comments came after number of people taking GCSE Music fell slightly by 0.2% from 34,740 in 2019 to 34,665 this year. The drop followed a bigger decline in the number of students taking A-level Music. Figures published last week showed a drop of 1.85% in the number of students taking A-level music, according to exam regulator Ofqual.
UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl congratulated students on their results and encouraged them to consider a career in music.
He also urged the Government to press ahead with formulating a new National Plan for Music Education. The existing plan - designed to set a framework for how schools, local authorities and teachers support music in education - was published in 2011 and is due to expire this year.
Mr Kiehl said:
“Congratulations to everyone on their GCSE results this year. I hope many young people will consider turning their passion for music into a career.
“It has been an especially tough year for music teachers and students because of the social distancing restrictions required as a result of coronavirus.
“That is a challenge that is likely to remain even after it is considered safe for children to return to school. So, I would urge the Government to do all they can to support school, teachers and students continue their music studies.
“It is now more important than ever that we have a new National Plan for Music Education to help reverse the decline of music in state education.
“Over the past six years, the number of people studying A-level music has declined by a deeply worrying 32 per cent. We need to work together to put in place a new Plan to invest in our future.
“Universal access to music within state education should be a top priority, alongside a broad-based music education within curriculum learning.
“The Government should ensure that music in schools is incentivised through the OFSTED inspections framework. There should also be an expansion of rehearsal spaces, building on UK Music’s network of rehearsal spaces.”
UK Music has previously highlighted a worrying divide between opportunities to do music in state schools - where 93 per cent of our children are educated - as opposed to private schools.
A total of 17 per cent of music creators were educated at independent schools, compared to 7 per cent across the population as a whole. 50 per cent of children at independent schools received sustained music tuition, while the figure for state schools is only 15 per cent.
Dianne Widdison, National Organiser for Education and Training at the Musicians’ Union and Chair of the UK Music Education and Skills Committee said:
“Of our 32,000 members, many of them work across the whole of the music education sector and we know what challenges there have been for them during these last few months.
“We have supported our members in moving their teaching online, where appropriate so that they could continue contributing to their students’ music education at this important time when so many students have had their education halted.
“Music in schools was already under threat for many reasons before this year and we are already hearing of further cuts in provision from the next academic year which is worrying.
“We join with UK Music in urging the government to address the issues that face music teachers returning to work and also to now set out a timetable for the publication of the NPME which music educators across England have been waiting for.
“Music should not be a subject that is only available to those who are privileged enough to afford it and it should be part of the offer for all children and young people as access to a broad and balanced curriculum.”