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Music Education and the White Paper

Discussion in 'Music' started by jonsavage, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. The only conclusion I can draw from an analysis of the White Paper today is that Music will not be a core subject in the next version of the National Curriculum. For a full analysis see: http://tinyurl.com/23djppc
    The results of this are potentially catostrophic. It will mean the end of a systematic, coherent and developmental music education for all pupils whatever the Henley Review recommends.
    I know that things may not be perfect now. But they will get a lot worse. If you care about a quality music education for all our young people I suggest you start campaigning hard.
    What's your reading?
  2. Oops, that's catastrophic too. Who said spelling was important? [​IMG]
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    It's worth remembering that Michael Gove defined his vision of an English Baccalaureate only a matter of weeks ago as:
    "English baccalaureate and what that
    would involve is saying to students you should be thinking about
    studying GCSE English, Maths, a science, a modern or ancient foreign
    language and a humanity like History, Geography, Art or Music..."
    Recent reports of the white paper have assumed that the requirement to include a humanity will mean students taking either History or Geography, but the quotation above suggests that Gove may take a rather broader view of which subjects may be categorised as humanities.

  4. Codswallop. Music was never a core subject. And the government have said they are firmly behind a solid music, arts & cultural education for all children. The White Paper is an overview of basic policy, not the end. For goodness sake, give them a chance.
  5. I'm glad you are so confident. Time will tell but don't say that you weren't warned if things work out worse than you expect. As I've written about elsewhere, I genuinely hope my analysis is wrong. But, I hope that I have at least stirred some teachers into action in campaigning and representing their views to Darren Henley.
    All the Heads of Music of schools I have visited over the last few weeks (over 10 in total) didn't even know that music education was under a governmental review. What does this tell us?
    In my view, the music education community is a fractured one, made up of individual communities that are more interested in protecting their own interests than engaging in constructive dialogue together. There are very powerful lobbying groups putting forward a particular vision for music education in the UK and I think they have got their way.
    Music education will still occur in most schools, but it will look very different post Sept 2013 and it won't be for all pupils.
  6. I'm amazed you managed to find 10 Heads of Music prepared to meet with you!
  7. To complete the post..... many music teachers are reluctant to network because of the time demands of the job. Those working in isolation and who would benefit greatly from mutual support often have most difficulty setting aside time for extra meetings.
  8. One of the benefits of my job is that I get to work with a fantastic bunch of sixty new music teachers every year, and then get to visit them in schools across the whole of the north west of England on their teaching practices. I see high quality music education in numerous schools every year with dedicated staff often working in difficult circumstances,

    This is why I am so disappointed that the policy framework for the provision of a systematic, coherent and developmental music education is being dismantled. I know the pressures facing music teachers having done the job myself. Yet I am still amazed by the lack of interest in something of such fundamental importance to the work you all do.
  9. trelassick

    trelassick New commenter

    I'm worried about the outcome of this review - is there a date set for the publication?
  10. I suspect it will be early January.
  11. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    It has always been a National Curriculum subject (ever since we've had the NC). It isn't "codswallop" to point out that this may well not be the case in the future.
    Forgive me if I don't believe what they say until backed up by policy.

    Latest news just in.... Fran Carpenter in automatically-backing-the-condems shocker.
  12. Hi Jonathan

    I was on your PGCE course 2 years ago and definitely agree with many of the points you have made here and on your blog. I also submitted the review sheet to Darren Henley. I am sick of people moaning and doing nothing about it, so I, at least tried to put my view across to Henley.
  13. Well that's great news! I know that Darren Henley got over 1000 submissions and that he promised to me to read each one individually. I have heard very good things about his commitment for, and advocacy of, music education.
    However, whatever he suggests will have to fit within the policy framework of the White Paper. So, it is worth reading that carefully and trying to judge where music (and the other arts subjects) will fit within a new National Curriculum. I hope my analysis is too gloomy but I am very worried about the consequences for music education.
    BTW, my conversation with staff at the DCMS confirms that we are going to have a national music talent competition to look forward to in the future! Perhaps that will make up for all the cuts elsewhere? But I doubt it. [​IMG]
  14. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    They should have got Don Henley to review music provision instead.
  15. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Depends on how it's organised. I fear X Factor style may prevail.
  16. I agree. Hard to do irony with smilies!
  17. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I don't think it's a lack of interest at all - we all share your passion for music education.
    But personally I have serious doubts that a National Curriculum is the way to engender such passion. After more than 20 years, there are still many schools that provide little or no music education, and I don't just mean academies and others that don't have to follow the NC. Just look at the thousands of Ofsted reports that say "no music lessons were observed during the inspection" - why? Because they don't happen.
    Unless there is legislation to force all maintained schools to provide x hours of music tuition per week from a trained specialist - on pain of being put under special measures - the NC has no real teeth.
    None of us know what will happen, but the prospect of a slimmed-down National Curriculum, based only on the core subjects and limited to less than 50% of the timetable might actually give schools the time and flexibility to deliver a music curriculum that they feel works for their own staff and pupils, rather than one full of government-sponsored phrases that the average primary generalist teacher ("use their voices expressively", "listen with concentration") neither fully understands nor feels is appropriate for their own pupils.
    I'm not really convinced that music education became any better after the introduction of the National Curriculum. In some cases, I think it became worse.
  18. I think we have to be a little careful here. I remember when the Drama lobby decided to argue against its inclusion in the original National Curriculum; the result was the closure of many Drama departments over time because, Heads argued, it could all be done in English lessons. And it was not saved from TDA approved language; a recent visit to the Drama studio showed me that the teachers themselves wrote meaningless level descriptors and vapid targets to be achieved.
    The attitude of the school leadership is, of course, far more important than any government plan. However it is difficult for heads to see what could be achieved with significant investments of time and resources, and differentiate that from (sometimes large) numbers of children performing low challenge music in front of proud parents.
  19. This is true - it looks like music funding is going the same way as sports funding, where the money will no longer be ring fenced for music education especially for music services. There is already a great disparity in the country about how money for instrumental tuition is spent - within some LEAs the money is devolved to the schools who buy in the tuition and in others the money goes straight to the music service which leads to a big difference in price/group tuition/individual tuition etc. The money in my school (secondary) is not ring fenced in any way but I have a reasonable budget to buy in and subsidise music tuition because I have a supportive head and there is also the need to keep up with all the other local schools. Hence the attitude of school leadership is going to be crucial in future. However unlike the sports funding where they have started campaigning already to ring fence the money, we're awaiting on the review in January before they decide what is going to happen.
    However it will be very interesting to read the results of the review, which was focussed on how to improve music education if you look at the remit especially with Ofsted's views on music education - mainly at KS3. I suspect we are in for big changes in the next couple of years as one of the points of the review was looking at a transition period to move "from the current to the future landscape."
  20. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Where did you learn that? Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, announced only a few weeks ago that money for music education and music provision in England
    and Wales will still be ringfenced when the previous government's Music
    Standards Fund lapses next year.
    I suspect that the pot will be a lot smaller, but it looks like it will still be ring-fenced.

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