Organisations including UK Music and the Musicians Union have welcomed the government’s new national plan for music education.
The blueprint includes a £25 million fund for schools to buy new instruments, with schools expected to provide at least one hour a week of curriculum music for key stages one to three, covering pupils aged five to 14.
The plan applies to England only, builds on a pledge in the School’s White Paper to provide all children with an enriching school curriculum.
UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said, ‘Music can transform lives. But while creative potential is everywhere, opportunity is not. So, it’s vital music education is available to everyone, regardless of their background, and does not become the preserve of a privileged few.
The new National Plan for Music Education, with its commitment of financial investment, is therefore very welcome. It sets out the minimum expectations for music education in schools and spells out how schools, community groups and the music industry can join forces to give young people the best musical education possible.
Learning to sing or play an instrument brings huge benefits to children, whatever they go on to do in later life. However, we need continued investment in music education to help unlock the boundless creative potential of young people across the country. Every child deserves access to a high-quality musical education. Today’s National Plan is an important step towards securing that.’
The Musicians’ Union (MU) was more cautious in its welcome, highlighting that the publication is only a first step in music education provision over the next decade.
The Union made clear that it believed the totality of the plan would lead to significant improvements. It welcomes the confirmation of funding for hubs, new Centres for Excellence and the plan’s clear statements on the value of music education. The Musicians’ Union also applauded the plan for its aims for meaningful partnership between schools and hubs. Areas of concern included potential challenges around accountability, as the plan is non-statutory, as well as a perceived lack of engagement with more challenging aspects of the current music education landscape.
Chris Walters, the MU’s National Organiser for Education, says: ‘This plan is a welcome publication from the Government, showing that ministers understand what a high-quality music education for all children and young people could look like. The plan, however, is only the beginning, and we will be watching closely as its key initiatives are developed and rolled out. Ultimately, the proof of its value will be in outcomes for children and young people, and it is vital that these are monitored effectively. We are grateful for the time and effort that has clearly gone into this plan, and for significance of its publication as a statement that music education matters. We look forward to playing an active role in its further development and roll-out.’
Read the full Government announcement.