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Education Select Committee criticises music's exclusion from EBacc

28 July 2011

Following a recent inquiry, parliament's Education Select Committee has recommended a review of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), stating that it was 'not clear on the rationale behind the exclusion' of some subjects and questioning the seemingly 'odd' decision to exclude music from its remit.
The committee’s report includes the following key recommendations and comments:
'The Department for Education’s decision not to include music and art in the English Baccalaureate could be seen as odd in light of the government’s view that "Involvement with the arts has a dramatic and lasting effect on young people" but perhaps even more so considering Michael Gove’s own words when announcing the English Baccalaureate last year: "I'm proposing that the government look at how many young people in each secondary school secure five good GCSEs including... a humanity like history or geography, art or music."

'[The committee] therefore recommends a review of the complement of subjects in the English Baccalaureate, following the completion of the national curriculum review, which should seek input not only from teachers, parents and pupils, but also from higher and further education institutions, employers, and learned societies.

'[The committee does] not believe the English Baccalaureate — the hybrid of a certificate and a performance measure, named after a qualification — is appropriately labelled: it is not a baccalaureate, and as it stands the name can therefore be misleading to parents, professionals and pupils.'

The committee also criticised the lack of consultation prior to the English Baccalaureate’s introduction and warned that 'In future, the government should aim to give appropriate notice of, and undertake consultation with key stakeholders and the wider public on, any new performance or curriculum measures.'

The Education Select Committee's concerns will be seen by many within music education as a sign that campaigns to include music on the EBacc could still be successful, despite a final 'no' from education secretary Michael Gove last week. Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, which has been instrumental in the campaign for music's inclusion, said:

'Darren Henley was unequivocal in his recommendation that music be included in both the English Baccalaureate and the national curriculum. We look forward to the government giving further thought to its current policy in light of this inquiry.
'Music education in the UK sets the standard for the rest of the world and, as well as developing children's musical understanding, has been shown to improve attainment in key areas such as literacy, numeracy and social skills. At the same time, the government must also not forget that the music education in our schools feeds right through into our creative and cultural economy.'

Royal Philharmonic Society awards nearly £70,000 to young musicians

26 July 2011

The Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) has awarded nearly £70,000 through grants and bursaries in order to support young musicians and composers. This year, 18 young music students will receive awards totalling £21,000 towards the purchase of new instruments, and three outstanding young musicians, receiving a total of £35,000 from the RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship, will be supported in study overseas. Three young composers will each receive £3,000 commissions to write new works for the Philharmonia’s Music of Today series, and a fourth will write a new work for 2012 Cheltenham Festival.

John Gilhooly, chairman of the RPS said: ‘The RPS is taking a lead in supporting young musicians, but it is important that we all recognise that investment in young talent is key to the future of music. While pleased to be able to support some of our most talented young musicians and composers, we are very aware that the need far outstrips resources.’


Official: music to be excluded from EBacc

21 July 2011

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a 'Statement of Intent - 2011', which, among other things, confirms that there will be no place for music on the new English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

The statement reads: 'Last year’s publication of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) prompted much interest and debate about the range of subjects which it should encompass. After consideration of representations, and to provide schools with certainty, the Secretary of State is minded to leave the subjects unchanged i.e. English, maths, two sciences, history or geography, and an ancient or modern foreign language.

'However, from this year, AS levels taken in the relevant subject before the end of KS4 will now also count towards the EBacc. A detailed list of the GCSEs that count towards the EBacc will be published at www.education.gov.uk/performancetables.

'From this year, we will now show more information about each of the EBacc subject areas. The Performance Tables will show the number of pupils entered for each subject area – English, maths, science, languages and humanities. For each of English and maths, we will publish the percentage of the cohort who have attained grade A*-C (as we would expect every pupil to have been entered for these GCSEs); and for other subject areas, the percentage of those entered who have attained grade A*-C.'

The music education community, in particular the Incorporated Society of Musicians, has been vocal in urging the government to include music on the EBacc. Campaigners have claimed that music will decline in schools as a result of its exclusion from the EBacc list, suggesting it will have less prominence on the league tables and therefore will become a lower priority for investment.

The news that music is definitely to be excluded from the EBacc will fuel fears that it will also lose its place on the national curriculum at Key Stage 3 when the outcome of the current curriculum review is announced.

The full statement can be read here:


Classic FM Music Teacher of the Year applications open

20 July 2011

The annual Music Teacher of the Year Awards, organised and sponsored by Classic FM, Yamaha, Avid and Music for Youth, are once again taking nominations from across the UK.

Due to be presented at the Music for Youth Schools Proms on 7-9 November at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the awards recognise ‘the nation’s most inspirational music teachers’ from all settings. Teachers can be nominated in one of five categories: primary school music teacher; secondary school music teacher; lifetime achievement award; peripatetic or private music teacher; and special education needs music teacher. The five winning teachers will each receive musical equipment from Yamaha and Avid software worth £1,000s for their schools or music services.

Application forms can be downloaded from Classic FM’s website; the deadline for entries is 10 October.


MU announces 'Learn to Play' day on 20 August

20 July 2011

The Musicians' Union, in association with Music for All and Lambeth Music Service, will run a day entitled Learn to Play on 20 August, for children aged six to 11 to try a range of instruments without charge. Trumpet, flute, violin, guitar, clarinet and more will be offered, with teachers and professional musicians on hand to give inspiration and advice.

The day will take place at MU headquarters: 60-62 Clapham Road, London SW9 0JJ. There will be a morning and an afternoon session. Places should be reserved online as soon as possible: http://learntoplay.eventbrite.com

Contact Bindu Paul for more information on 020 7840 5506 or teachers@themu.org

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