Hannah Fouracre, Director of Music Education at Arts Council England, reflects on the challenges and opportunities facing music education in England and what she’d like to see in the Department for Education’s refreshed National Plan.
Last week the Department for Education opened a consultation for the refresh of the National Plan for Music Education.
Since then, I’ve been reflecting on the achievements of the current Plan, the opportunities and challenges facing music education and thinking about what I’d like to see in the next Plan.
I encourage you to do the same and to please share the consultation widely, encouraging as many young people, parents and teachers as possible to let Government know what they want music education in England to look like.
- Nurseries, schools and colleges – commit to delivering a high-quality music curriculum. Teachers (both specialist and non-specialist) have regular training, support and resources. Governors, Heads and teachers are aware of the Plan and the expectations of schools within it; including how DfE is investing in Music Education Hubs to support and build on the music education in the classroom.
- Age range – extended to 0-25-year olds. Music education should start as early as possible and young people should be supported following full-time education to continue their musical engagement as audiences, with the amateur sector or working within the creative industries.
- Equity – funding should be targeted to ensure music education is inclusive and no one is left out.
- Co-creation – young people should be empowered to decide what happens in their music education, with guidance and challenge from experts.
- Quality – we know what good looks like and are ambitious to make our work with young musicians better.
- Outcomes – Music Education Hubs should be empowered to focus on musical, educational, social and health and wellbeing outcomes rather than just outputs.
- Progression routes – are individualised and take place across different learning environments. The music industry, amateur music, youth and technology sectors are partners. Progression routes are available across genres, composition and production, and encourage experimentation.
- Technology – technological advances are reflected, and we ensure technology is supporting, augmenting and innovating children and young people’s music-making.
- Music education workforce – is valued, diverse, inclusive and well-trained.
- Funding – the Music Education Hub grant should increase to reflect inflationary increases since 2012 and any changes to their roles. Investment should be made in a broader range of National Youth Music Organisations and In Harmony should continue. An additional investment in musical instruments should be made, including for adapted instruments.