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Cameron Bray

Editor

Government reveals more details about model music curriculum

12:13, 22nd March 2019

Yesterday the government gave more information about the non-statutory model music curriculum in a series of written answers.

Writing in response to further questions from the Earl of Clancarty (Crossbench), the Parliamentary under-secretary of state for education, Lord Agnew of Oulton, says that the contract for drafting the curriculum is worth £4,500. In the same answer, Agnew also provided a link to the tender document, which is now available online.

Music Teacher had obtained the tender document from an anonymous source, who was able to identify its authenticity, but it was unclear as to whether we could publish the document. It details the criteria by which the application would be judged, as well as explaining how cost would be factored into the bid.

Though the new model curriculum is non-statutory, music educators working across the sector have expressed concern about the precedent that this process has set. Critics have suggested that giving an organisation influence over parts of the curriculum when it has a vested interest in what is being taught seems like a dangerous move and one which would not be accepted in other subjects.

In a further written response to Kevin Brennan, the shadow minister for arts and heritage, the schools standards minister Nick Gibb says: ‘The Department ran the procurement in accordance with Government procurement rules, which allow for selective tendering for requirements valued below £20,000.’

Gibb’s answer also alludes to ‘offers from practitioners to participate in development of the model curriculum’ though it is unclear whether these offers came before or after the announcement of the bid winner.

Even though the Government’s procurement rules allow for a selective tendering process, questions still remain over whether it is appropriate to allow a winner in a competition with only one entrant. It is not clear from the tendering document if it was possible for the process to determine that there was no suitable bidder.

When the story first broke, Music Teacher magazine submitted a series of Freedom of Information requests, many of which have now been answered publically by the Government. However, we have also requested detailed information about the successful bid and hope to hear back from the Government shortly – we are still within the time limit allowed for such requests.

Anyone with further information or comment is encouraged to contact us on music.teacher@rhinegold.co.uk.

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