National music industry body UK Music has renewed its call for a new National Plan for Music Education in England as GCSE results were published on 20 August 2020.
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, and urged the Government to press ahead with formulating a new National Plan. The existing plan was published in 2011 and is due to expire this year.
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 follows a bigger decline in the number of students taking A-level Music.
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 work across the whole of the music education sector and we know what challenges there have been for them during these last few months.
‘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.’