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ISM calls for continued government commitment to funding music education

11 June 2013

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is calling for the government to protect music education hubs and commit itself to continuing dedicated funding to sustain the National Plan for Music Education in England in 2015/16. All public funding is being reviewed as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review and there is concern over the continuation of music education hub funding beyond 2015.

Supported by cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber and violinist Tasmin Little, the ISM has issued a statement pointing out that the national music plan promised £75m/£63m/£58m for the three financial years 2012-15, to support a network of 123 music education hubs across England. These hubs, says the ISM, deliver music education in many different forms to millions of children, ensuring high standards and accessibility. Currently there is no government commitment to funding the hubs beyond 2015. The ISM is calling on the government to make this commitment now so that the hubs can plan for the future and continue their work.

'Funding for music education hubs has already been reduced by 23% over three years,' said Deborah Annetts, chief executive of ISM, 'so any further cuts would seriously put at risk the government's commitment to a high-quality music education and undermine an already stretched music education offer in our schools.

'Music is vital to a high-quality and rigorous education. In these times of austerity, music education becomes even more critical, creating fully-rounded members of society and contributing significantly to the wealth of our nation. It is essential therefore that the government continues to back our world-class music educators and commit to ongoing funding which will make the promises of the national music plan a reality.'

Music educators, parents and students are asked to sign up and support the campaign. Further details can be found on the campaign page.

Education secretary announces consultation on proposed GCSE reforms

11 June 2013

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has announced a consultation on proposed subject content and assessment objectives for reformed GCSEs to be introduced for first teaching in September 2015 in England. Covering ancient languages, English language and literature, geography, history, mathematics, modern languages and sciences, it will run from 11 June to 20 August and asks general and subject-specific questions about whether the proposed content for GCSEs represents a demanding and fulfilling course of study for students who will take the qualifications. Music is not currently included in the consultation.
A parallel consultation on new regulatory requirements for the reformed GCSEs, such as assessment arangements, is being carried out by Ofqual. The main characteristics of the proposed reforms would be a return to more linear two-year courses ending in exams, with a much-reduced emphasis on modules, coursework and controlled assessment; and the introduction of a numeric marking system with a wider range of grades, that can differentiate more effectively between different levels of achievement.
Details of the proposals and consultation documents can be found on the Department for Education's website: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/qualifications/gcses/a00225719/gsce-consultation

Education fellowships available for international research

7 June 2013

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) and the Finzi trust have teamed together to offer a small number of fellowships for music educators who are seeking to research education systems in other countries. 

The Joint scholarship allows for travel to other countries in order to 'observe and disseminate new knowledge and examples of best practice'

Anyone interested should visit the WCMT website and apply in the normal way, selecting Education-Music on the application form. 

YMT Young Writers and Composers Course accepting applications

7 June 2013

Youth Music theatre's (YMT) week-long Young Writers and Composers Course, led by Olivier Award-winning script writer Stephen Clark and Arts Foundation Award winner Conor Mitchell, will take place at Fettes College in Edinburgh from 29 July - 4 August. 

The six-day residential course caters for those interested in being a book writer, lyric writer, playwright, composer or any combination of these. Activities include creating, developing and devising new work, as well as performing new commissions. 

The cost of the course is £600. There are up to 20 places available, and the closing date for applications is 1 July. For full details of the curriculum and how to apply, visit YMT's website. 

RWCMD names four new international chairs in music

6 June 2013

The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) in Cardiff has announced four new international chairs in music. The Jane Hodge Foundation International Chairs in Music and Drama will, says the college, have a 'profound impact on both the experience of the students and the national and international profile of the College'. 

The new appointments are Paul Watkins, cello; Daniel Phillips, violin; Simon Keenlyside, voice and Sergei Nakariakov, trumpet. Simon Halsey continues as the holder of the Jane Hodge Foundation International Chair in Choral Conducting. 

'Combined with our new world-class facilities, this second appointment of International Chairs reflects some of the key specialist areas of the College's development, including strings and voice,' said the College's director of music, John Cranmer.

'These are inspirational artists who have made a distinctive mark in their field of performance, and are committed to supporting the rising generation of performers. We are once again enormously grateful to the Jane Hodge Foundation for the generosity and encouragement which has enabled us to continue these appointments, and look forward to developing close relationships with each of these exceptional musicians over the coming two years.'

Derrek Jones, a trustee of the Foundation, said it was 'delighted to continue its support of an exciting initiative. It will ensure the wealth of experience and knowledge, held by leading international musicians, will benefit the next generation of performers who are training at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.' 

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