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Department for Education has cut funding for music initial teacher training

Harriet Clifford

Music initial teacher training funding withdrawn by Department for Education 

2:31, 14th October 2020

The Department for Education (DfE) has published its initial teacher training (ITT) funding for the academic year 2021 to 2022, sparking outcry from the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and its members online as music has not been included. 

Subjects for which teacher training funding has been provided include chemistry, computing, maths, physics, languages, classics and biology, while no arts subjects feature on the list. The funding provision last academic year included postgraduate bursaries for music.

Reacting to the report published yesterday, ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts said, ‘We are disappointed to hear that the Department for Education has withdrawn bursaries for music teacher trainees from the next academic year (2021). Opportunities to teach and access music education should be at the heart of our schools curriculum and government policy, and it is vital that every child can access a quality music education. 

‘To do this there needs to be sustained and meaningful government funding. We call on the government to reconsider their decision and to provide bursaries for music teacher trainees as they have afforded other STEM subjects. 

‘Without continued and appropriate levels of funding for teaching, we risk damaging the future [of] our children’s music education. The benefits of music for tackling anxiety, stress and depression are well documented, so now more than ever it is crucial that we safeguard the opportunities for future music teachers to ensure our children will benefit from a classroom music education.’

The ISM’s announcement of the news on Twitter has been met with outrage from musicians and educators, all of whom stress the cultural and economic importance of music. Last month, a joint letter signed by the ISM, Music Mark and the Music Teachers’ Association (MTA) was sent to the Education Secretary, which called for ‘sustained funding’ for music education and was supported by over 25 organisations. 

This recent development follows months of heated debate around the ‘viability’ of the arts in the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Musicians and artists have taken to social media and the media to fiercely argue for the value of their careers and livelihoods both now and in a post-COVID world.



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