‘State of the Nation’ music education report released

The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education, in partnership with the University of Sussex and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), has released a new report, Music Education: State of the Nation.

Music Education: State of the Nation

With a foreword by All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education Co-Chairs, Diana Johnson MP and Andrew Percy MP, Music Education: State of the Nation is authored by:

  • The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education
  • Dr Alison Daubney, PhD Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Sussex
  • Gary Spruce, Visiting Lecturer in Music Education, Birmingham City University
  • Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive, ISM

The report sets out 18 recommendations for music education and the broader education landscape.

‘The scale of the crisis facing music education in England’

Diana Johnson MP and Andrew Percy MP said:

‘This report shows the scale of the crisis facing music education in England. It shows how Government policy around accountability measures and the curriculum has contributed to a sharp decline in opportunities for pupils to have access to a music education.

‘Its recommendations show the breadth of the problem – but also how easily the Government could act to address some of the most pressing issues at little or no financial cost.’

‘Increasingly, music is marginalised in the school curriculum’

Dr Alison Daubney and Gary Spruce said:

‘The wealth of data upon which this report is founded highlights urgent issues which need to be addressed.

‘Increasingly, music is marginalised in the school curriculum as the focus on accountability measures force them to make decisions which erode access to music education and diminish the workforce. In doing so, the evidence shows that music in the wider school and young people’s lives beyond school is also negatively impacted.

‘It is time the Department for Education recognise their policies are failing and they must take the necessary steps to ensure that sustained high-quality music education for all is a reality and not, as is currently the case, increasingly the preserve of those families that can afford to pay for it.’

‘Facing the fourth industrial revolution where creativity is vital’

Deborah Annetts said:

‘This is an important report which we hope will guide policy-makers in music education and also broader education policy. This report shines a spotlight on just how much the EBacc has already destroyed in terms of our children’s education. Notwithstanding the Government’s target of EBacc take-up 75% rising to 90% by 2025, the rate of take-up remains obstinately at 38%. And only 17% of students will actually attain the EBacc.

‘And yet, never has there been a time when creative subjects in school has been more necessary. We are facing the fourth industrial revolution where creativity is vital. Music contributes £4.5bn a year to the UK’s economy whilst the creative industries is worth £101.5 billion. Reinforcing the gravity of the situation is Brexit. As a country, we will need to deploy our soft skills more than ever and this means music and our other stand-out creative industries. We need an education system which is up to these challenges. Headline accountability measures such as the EBacc, which are based on the 1904 Secondary Regulations, are not it.

‘We call on the Secretary of State, Damien Hinds, to take a fresh look at the EBacc, the trail of devastation it has caused and take action.’

To read Music Education: State of the Nation, please click here.

Related Articles

State of Play, a comprehensive report into the state of music education in England (Musicians’ Union, 2019)

State of Play is a comprehensive report into the state of music education, following extensive research led by Dr Jonathan Savage (Manchester Metropolitan University) and David Barnard (MU Music Education Official).

The report – based on the responses of over a thousand instrumental teachers, classroom teachers and music managers – provides more evidence that there are serious continuing issues around the provision of a comprehensive and quality offer of music education for all children across England.


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