ABRSM welcomes the publication of The Importance of Music - A National Plan for Music Education and the fact that the Government recognises the transformative power of a good music education.
Musical excellence and motivating musical achievement are at the core of what we do and while we welcome the principle of enabling all children to have access to a music education of the highest standard, we also believe more clarification is needed on how children can participate and progress.
We are pleased to see funding for music education has been ring-fenced, as suggested in the Henley Review, but we are concerned about the proposed cuts and what they will mean in practical terms. If private funding does not compensate for the drop in funding - from £75m to £58m over three years - will the Government feasibly be able to deliver the aspirations laid out in the plan?
Teacher training and development
It is our mission to provide the highest quality music exams, services and support for teachers and students and we welcome the emphasis placed on training and development for teachers in the plan. Teacher development is a key area of interest and expertise at ABRSM and we are keen to work closely with organisations such as Arts Council England to aid the introduction of a professional music teacher qualification. It is vital that good instrumental and vocal teachers have the opportunity to gain professional recognition for their work.
Monitoring students' progression
We understand that the process of changing the current system of music education provision and funding to the new system of hubs will be a complex one and ABRSM will support fully this ambition to make provision more equitable. Monitoring the new funding structure will be essential. We would urge Arts Council England to ensure that the hubs' remit will include the monitoring of students' progression, as well as their participation, and recommend that its work is supported and reviewed by education professionals.
Continued support for music education
As an advocate for music education, ABRSM sponsors a number of key organisations, including Music for Youth, and we are pleased to see continued support for the Music and Dance Scheme and In Harmony. The plan has highlighted the importance music plays in a well-rounded education and we sincerely hope this will be picked up by those working on the National Curriculum Review. Music has the power to enrich lives and we want to do all we can to inspire more people to participate in music and motivate them to progress and achieve. We hope the plan will not only deliver its goal of making music learning accessible to all children but also ensure that those who want to progress and learn have the opportunities to do so.