The UK Musicians’ Union, the national body representing 31,000 professional musicians, has responded positively to the Department for Education’s invitation to musicians, specialist teachers, young people and their parents to submit proposals for the new edition of the government’s National Plan for Music Education (NPME).
The new edition of the NPME, a ‘refreshed’ version of the original 2011 Plan, aims to help reflect advances in technology in the way music is created, recorded and produced, and to reassess the music education young people benefit from at school.
This view is supported by MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge, who states in the introduction to the MU’s report, The State of Play – A Review of Music Education in England 2019:
‘Music needs to be part of every child’s life and access to a broad and balanced curriculum, which includes the arts, should be experienced by all children regardless of their background.’
Underlining the importance of the opportunity to contribute to the process, Diane Widdison, MU National Organiser for Education & Training, said:
‘We encourage all those who are concerned with what is happening in music education in England to engage with this consultation.
‘Although we agreed with many of the aspirations of the original NPME when it came out in 2011, in practice and as a result of many conflicting education policies, we have seen the provision of music education in many schools decimated over the last decade.
‘Our latest two pieces of research showed how learning a musical instrument was increasingly becoming the privilege of those who could afford it and how the workforce who deliver music education were being affected by cuts in funding across Local Authorities and schools.
‘As a Trade Union representing over 31,000 professional musicians, of whom over two thirds work across the whole of the music education sector, we have a unique perspective as to what is actually happening on the ground.
‘This is a key moment to address these issues to ensure that a whole generation of children and young people do not miss out on the opportunities to engage with music making as part of a broad and balanced education.’