Due to coronavirus restrictions the APPG for Music Education was postponed from March and took place virtually on 14 July 2020. The APPG for Music Education was chaired by Dame Diana Johnson MP.
After the AGM for the election/re-election of officers, presentations were given by Dr Ally Daubney and Duncan Mackrill from the University of Sussex, Sue Beckett, Chief Executive Officer of Portsmouth Music Hub, John Bergin, Chief Executive Officer of Newham Music Hub, Dr Jodie Underhill, Independent Researcher and Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
Dr Ally Daubney opened her presentation on the state of music education within the national curriculum pre-COVID-19 and the pressures faced by schools due to government accountability measures and the EBacc. She explained that government policy has marginalised music in the school curriculum and referenced the APPG’s State of the Nation report.
Dr Daubney concluded that now is the time for a new National Plan for Music Education, which would ensure all young people can access sustained high-quality music education, augmented and supported through the network of Music Education Hubs.
Duncan Mackrill from the University of Sussex spoke next on the key issues for Music Education Hubs in England. Mr Mackrill concluded his presentation by setting out five recommendations for how the challenges for Hubs might be addressed, which is dependent on clarity regarding the future of Hub funding. These include:
1. Sharing of digital practices between Hubs and schools;
2. Clear timely guidance on safeguarding from DfE;
3. ACE asking Hubs to account for how they have used their grant in this period;
4. Ending the de-professionalisation of visiting instrumental teachers taking place in some Hubs;
5. A revised National Plan for Music Education.
Sue Beckett and John Bergin spoke of their experiences within their respective music hubs and the current challenges they are facing and those they have overcome as well as continuing to deliver music services to children and young adults.
Ms Beckett concluded her presentation by outlining what is needed to help Hubs move forward; a focus on securing Arts Council funding for the future, clear and direct guidance so that schools can allow for curriculum, whole-class, instrumental and vocal teaching to take place safely including enabling ensemble music making for schools and music centres to recommence safely, as well as an increased means of supporting inclusion and enabling all young people to access music regardless of their circumstances.
Mr Bergin stated that funding needs to be in place now, so that music and the arts can continue to change lives, helping young people’s emotional and mental wellbeing and bringing communities together.
Dr Jodie Underhill, Research Associate for the ISM, briefly outlined the ISM’s recently commissioned global literature review which studies the current research and information relating to COVID-19, transmission and risk management in both the performance and music education space. She noted that the document is not intended to provide guidance but to highlight the information that is out there.
Deborah Annetts concluded that going forward the group needs be clear on the core messages around the importance of classroom education. Ms Annetts urged those involved in classroom education to work with the ISM to get the message right on why classroom education matters so that it does not get marginalised as a result of COVID-19. Ms Annetts shared her concern that COVID-19 could push forward the agenda around core subjects, which does not promote a broad and balanced education for children.
Please find the official minutes for the APPG for Music Education below