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Music education leaders have written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

Fiona Simpson

Music must be central to the curriculum catch-up, sector leaders urge

2:00, 27th July 2020

Sector leaders have called on the Education Secretary to ensure music education is central to the curriculum when schools fully reopen in September.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), Music Mark, and the Music Teachers’ Association (MTA) have written a joint letter to the Department for Education, welcoming a government commitment to maintaining a broad and balanced curriculum.

However, the letter, signed by a number of music teachers and professionals across the sector, strongly recommends that the government works closely with schools to protect the role of music education. 

The letter is in response to government guidelines published earlier this month, which outline the steps schools can take to assist students in catching up following the closure of schools during lockdown.

The guidance states that in exceptional circumstances some GCSE subjects can be discontinued for certain pupils, in consultation with parents. 

The ISM, Music Mark and the MTA recommend that the government helps schools to explore all other options before such a course of action is taken, stressing the crucial role that music education plays in the attainment, well-being and career prospects of children.

They have also offered to assist the government in developing the final version of promised guidance on singing, wind and brass playing to create a safe learning environment for both staff and pupils.

The letter states: “All of us in music education have been heartened by the large number of head teachers and school leaders who have stated their intention that music will play a vital role in returning school life to normal in September.

“Children must have the curriculum breadth to which they are entitled, and music and creativity must be the fuel that feeds the catch-up. 

“Music provides a means for children to express themselves and an opportunity for meaningful social interaction and cooperation. It also has a significant positive impact on the mental health of children – who have disproportionately suffered in this regard throughout lockdown – and on overall attainment across all groups including those with special educational needs and disabilities.”

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