The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education, in partnership with the University of Sussex and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), has today (Monday 4 February) released a new report entitled Music Education: State of the Nation which outlines the broad landscape of music education in England.
The new report, authored by Dr Alison Daubney (University of Sussex), Gary Spruce (Birmingham City University) and Deborah Annetts (ISM) with foreword from Diana Johnson MP and Andrew Percy MP, is the culmination of several months rigorous research into both music education and the broader education landscape in England. Digging deep into the government’s own figures whilst also bringing together academic research, surveys and analysis of current trends, State of the Nation asks serious questions regarding the direction of travel of current education policy.
APPG for Music Education co-chairs 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.’
Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians 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.’
Dr Alison Daubney, PhD Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Sussex and Mr Gary Spruce, Visiting Lecturer in Music Education, Birmingham City University 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.’
The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) acts as the secretariat to the Music Education APPG. This is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in this report are those of the group, the ISM and the University of Sussex.