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'Music is frequently side-lined and undervalued in schools'

Harriet Clifford

Music must be ‘essential and non-negotiable’, says charity CEO

5:13, 9th February 2021

Responding to the news that the new education catch-up tsar has said that music, drama and sport are needed in students’ recovery following the pandemic, Music Masters’ CEO is emphasising the particular benefits of music in disadvantaged schools. 

Sir Kevan Collins, who was appointed as the ‘Education Recovery Commissioner’ last week told the BBC that music, drama and sport are ‘critical areas which have been missed’ in students’ development as a result of the pandemic. 

He added that it is important to ‘act quickly’, saying that teachers are going to have to be asked to increase learning time for children to go back over earlier content, as the most disadvantaged children have lost up to seven months’ progress.

Having spent 13 years teaching music in schools in areas of disadvantage with Music Masters, the charity’s CEO Roz De Vile said: ‘We have seen the unrivalled, undeniable power of music to support children from any background to thrive.

‘Research clearly shows that a sustained, high quality music education significantly boosts children’s literacy and numeracy skills, develops confidence, nurtures wellbeing, is a fantastic creative outlet and can create deep and long-lasting social bonds – among countless other benefits. 

‘Yet music is frequently side-lined and undervalued in schools; the first casualty of budget cuts, the adversary of overworked class teachers lacking confidence in their own musical ability. Now more than ever, music must be an essential, non-negotiable part of our children’s education.’

Already announced is a £1.3bn catch-up programme in England, but when asked by Tes whether he was hopeful for more from the Treasury, Sir Kevan Collins said: ‘Short answer: yes’. 

He added that efforts must be focused on children who have lost most, highlighting the ‘huge’ risks to disadvantaged pupils. 

Initial catch-up plans are due to be announced in late February. 

 

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