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Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Grammar school charges students for GCSE music

10:48, 5th January 2018

Pupils at a West Yorkshire school are reportedly being charged to take GCSE Music as an extra-curricular activity.

Bingley Grammar School has been offering a music class once a week outside school hours for those who wish to continue studying music.

The class costs ‘a nominal amount’ of £5 a week per student.

Head teacher Luke Weston told the BBC: ‘Last year we had two or three kids in class and now, having moved to our new system, we’ve got 25, which is more than we’ve had in the last five years.

‘We’ve had no complaints from parents.’

The Incorporated Society of Musicians described the move as ‘shocking and deeply troubling’, and expressed its concern that ‘music is at risk of becoming the preserve of those who can afford it’.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, told Gigwise: ‘With school budgets under pressure and the Government excluding music and other creative subjects from major school league tables known as the EBacc, we are seeing a year on year drop in the uptake of music in our schools.

‘This new development is shocking and deeply troubling. Music is at risk of becoming the preserve of those who can afford it and the Government must act now to ensure it is available to all. We have also written to the school asking for them to reverse their policy which may be in breach of Government guidelines.’

Research from the University of Sussex found that nearly 60% of teachers from state schools believe that the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is having a negative impact on the numbers of students choosing to study music. The survey also revealed that the number of schools offering music GCSE dropped from 85% in 2012/13 to 79% in 2016/17.

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