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Campaign for music's inclusion in the English Baccalaureate

15 March 2011

The ISM, FMS, Conservatoires UK and the Music Industries Association (MIA) are actively campaigning for music to be included on the English Baccalaureate, following early indications from government that the arts, technology and economics subjects will all be excluded.

ISM and Conservatoires UK have submitted evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee, which is currently defining the components of the proposed English Baccalaureate. Recents surveys from NAME and ISM imply that GCSE Music is already being sidelined in some schools as Headteachers scramble to increase attainment figures in the five baccalaureate subjects.

Paul McManus, Chief Executive of the MIA, said: ‘The proposals clearly pose a threat to the future of music education in this country. This is extremely short-sighted and risks undermining the considerable benefits that music in the curriculum can bring.’

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM added that 'Darren Henley's independent review of music education was unequivocal in its warning about the risk of excluding music from the English Baccalaureate. Given the Government's commitment to music education and statement that "music is an enriching and valuable academic subject", we are continuing to call for music to be included.’

Sing Up to receive £4m funding for 2011-12

15 March 2011

Following a wealth of evidence submitted to the Henley Review in support of the National Singing Programme, the government has committed to supporting Sing Up for a ‘transition year’ so that the programme can establish a sustainable way forward away from central funding.

It has been determined that £4m will be awarded to sustain and develop the extensive resources and website. Additionally the money will enable the continuation of the Sing Up Training Programme, Sing Up Awards and to maintain the networks and partnerships at the heart of their work.

Baz Chapman, Sing Up’s programme director said: ‘This investment is a great testament to the impact and value of the programme we’ve all worked so hard on for the last three and a half years. We are now looking forward to using the coming year to continue to grow and develop Sing Up, enabling it to have a sustainable future.’  

For more information visit Sing Up's website

Threatened Scottish music school moves towards financial security

25 February 2011

The future is looking more positive for Scotland’s National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music following recent discussions with Highland Council. At the meeting to set the council’s 2011-2012 budget in February, it voted to withdraw the Wester Ross centre’s £300,000-a-year funding from the end of July 2012. Based at Plockton High School, the centre currently offers 24 students, 19 of whom are residential, in-depth tuition, workshops and masterclasses in traditional music.   

However, following a demonstration by over 100 musicians outside the council’s Inverness offices and an online petition, Hugh Fraser, director of education, culture and sport, says Highland Council is committed to looking at options for safeguarding the centre. ‘We’re looking at a range of possible partnering options, efficiencies to make the centre more cost-effective and ways of generating more income.’  

He adds that with the school empty during the summer months and at weekends, there is the potential to work with other agencies to run workshops and courses to grow the business. In terms of partnerships, Dougie Pincock, the centre’s director, is exploring different funding streams including a possible tie-in with the University of the Highlands and Islands, in particular its West Highland College.  

‘We’re looking at carrying out consultancy work on behalf of the UHI and college. There are additional activities we might be able to provide in partnership with the college which would widen the access to this centre for other potential user groups and open up other funding streams. It is important to stress that any additional activity will not impinge on the core business which is delivering a secondary school project.’  

Mr Pincock has been advised by the council that he can continue to recruit as normal during the forthcoming round of auditions which he believes indicates that the centre will still be running at the end of 2012.

www.musicplockton.org

SUSAN NICKALLS

MU and NUT agree partnership

16 February 2011

The Musicians’ Union (MU) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) have announced a new partnership to allow the two organisations to work together to promote music education in England and Wales, and to oppose cuts to music services.

Christine Blower, the NUT’s general secretary, said, ‘I welcome the opportunity to be working with the MU to ensure that our schools do not lose their music services.’ She added, ‘It is essential that music remains part of the national curriculum; it is only through timetabled lessons that a minimum entitlement can be guaranteed.’

Giving an indication of the campaigning the new partnership will undertake, Diane Widdison, the MU’s national organiser for teaching, said, ‘While we are pleased to see the recommendations made by the Henley Review, we are concerned that over a third of music services have already issued redundancy notices because of cuts in local authority funding. We strongly believe that every child should have a quality music education and we urge the government to act quickly to safeguard jobs and music education provision.’

teachers.org.uk

musiciansunion.org.uk

28 February deadline set for submissions to GLA music education audit

16 February 2011

In response to the Mayor of London’s Music Education Strategy, which has ‘identified a pressing need for a comprehensive audit of music education provision in the capital,’ the Greater London Authority has commissioned the University of London’s Institute of Education to compile thoughts and opinions from London’s music education providers and users. The survey takes about ten minutes to complete online; MT readers living in Greater London should be sure to voice their opinions on the capital's music education before the survey closes on 28 February. Complete the survey here: www.musiceducationaudit.com


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