As anyone who has followed our blog here for a while (or the previous blog run by our MD Dr Jonathan Savage) will attest, the provision of a comprehensive, systematic and coherent music education for every child in England has been a driving force behind the work that we do here at UCan Play.
Sadly, in recent years we have seen decline in the high standards set by previous Governments in this respect. As a result of various educational policies, we are witnessing Music as a curriculum subject being marginalised by many schools, being demoted into an educational relegation zone, whilst other subjects (think EBacc subjects) are comfortably mid-table or higher in the Government’s mind.
This prioritising or de-prioritising of subjects by Government matters. It is reflected in the views of parents and children who quickly pick up on these things. There are other perhaps unintended consequences too. The lack of recruitment of new teachers has hit the news recently. You may be surprised to know that there is a 30% reduction in the number of people applying to teach music in our schools in this year alone. John Howson has followed these trends in his blog for many years. Last week, he wrote that:
Among the arts subjects, both music and art are faring especially badly this year. The stories about cuts to the arts curriculum may well be deterring possible applicants. … Seemingly there was no change at all in the aggregate number of ‘placed’, ‘conditionally placed’ and ‘holding offer’ applicants in music between the March and April recording points: an almost unheard of state of affairs for any subject at this point in the recruitment round. [our emphasis]
For all these reasons (and many more that we won’t go into now), we are pleased to announce that Jonathan is working with the Musicians’ Union to help investigate the current state of music education in England. We’ll be undertaking a survey and conducting interviews with teachers in schools, music services and music education hubs. We’ll also be writing a report for the Musicians’ Union to be published later this year. Watch this space for further details!