Additional DfE funding announced for Music Education Hubs

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Last week, The MIA was encouraged to hear that School Standards Minister Nick Gibb announced that, in order to ensure all pupils are able to enjoy high quality lessons, schools are to receive a new model music curriculum created by an independent panel of experts.

The MIA strongly believes in the importance of children retaining curriculum-based music as part of the school day, and this is an encouraging step in the right direction. Clearly, £1million does not in any way address the scale of the budget cuts over recent years, but it is something!

Our partners Music Mark, The UK Association of Music Education, has lobbied on behalf of its members to secure this much needed support. The news has also been welcomed by The Musicians’ Union.

This comes as a £1.33million funding boost is given to the Department for Education’s music education hubs, which helped hundreds of thousands of young people learn to play an instrument in whole classes in 2016/17.

The new curriculum will be developed by a group of teachers, education leaders and musicians and will be published in summer 2019. It will provide schools with a sequenced and structured template curriculum for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.

As well as ensuring all pupils can benefit from knowledge rich and diverse lessons, it is hoped that the curriculum will make it for easier for teachers to plan lessons and help to reduce workload.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Having the opportunity to study and explore music isn’t a privilege, it’s a vital part of a broad and balanced curriculum – and that’s why I’m determined that all pupils should have access to a world class music education.

All pupils at least up to the age of 14 should study music in school. We want to make sure their lessons are of the very highest quality and pupils leave school having experienced an excellent music education so those who wish to do so can take up opportunities to pursue musical careers.

This new model curriculum and the new money for our successful music hubs will make sure the next generation of Adeles, Nigel Kennedys and Alex Turners have all the support they need in school.

In 2012 the government set up a network of 120 music education hubs to support the teaching of music both in and out of school. These hubs are being supported by £300million between 2016 and 2020, which forms part of an overall investment of £500million in the arts during that period, making it the second highest funded element of the curriculum behind PE.

This new funding – which is on top of £300million allocated to the programme between 2016 and 2020 – will help ensure that the hubs can keep up their good work. According to a report by Arts Council England, this work has reached 89% of schools and seen over 700,000 pupils learning instruments together with their classmates in 2016/17.

The music hubs support the work of primary and secondary schools, with music compulsory in the National Curriculum for children up to age 14. The new model music curriculum will provide a framework for schools to base their own programmes of study on, safe in the knowledge that it is backed by some of the most influential and expert figures in music education.

The panel overseeing development of the model curriculum will be made up of:

  • Veronica Wadley (chair), Former Chairman of Arts Council, London, Council Member of the Royal College of music, Governor of the Yehudi Menuhin School and co- Founder of the London Music Fund
  • Carolyn Baxendale, Head of Bolton Music Service and lead for Greater Manchester Music Education Hub
  • Karen Brock, Head of the Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service
  • Michael Elliott, Chief Executive, ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)
  • Peter Garden, Executive Director Performance & Learning, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
  • Naveed Idrees, Head Teacher, Feversham Primary Academy
  • Julian Lloyd Webber, Cellist, Conductor and Principal, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Professor Linda Merrick, Principal, Royal Northern College of Music
  • Paul Roberts, National Council Member, Arts Council England
  • Ian Rowe, Principal, Bromley Youth Music Trust
  • James Thomas, Head of Hackney Music Service
  • Simon Toyne, Executive Director of Music, David Ross Education Trust and President-Elect, MMA Music Teachers
  • Ed Watkins, Director of Music, West London Free School
  • Bridget Whyte, Chief Executive, UK Association for Music Education – Music Mark

The panel will start work immediately and aims to publish the model curriculum on GOV.UK by the summer.

In 2011 the Government published The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education. The document set out a vision for how music education should look up to 2020 and introduced the plans for the music education hubs.

With 2020 approaching, the Government has committed to refreshing the plan to ensure music, which is the second highest funded element of the curriculum behind PE, remains at the forefront of school life.