Federation of Music Services (FMS)
The awaited National Plan for Music Education (The Importance of Music) announced today gives a clear signal to all schools that music should be part of the educational curriculum across the age spectrum. This vision and ambition is welcomed.
The National Plan will only be achieved within the reduced funding confines if all the parties engage in genuine and positive partnerships. These must have the core aims of benefiting all children and young people and maintaining the quality of provision.
Music education recognised
Virginia Haworth-Galt, the Federation of Music Services' Chief Executive, said:
'The FMS welcomes the Government's introduction of a National Plan for Music Education with protected funding over three years. We are pleased that the ambition of the plan focuses on core Music Service principles of first access, progression, ensembles and singing; we believe that Hubs can build on the work of Music Services and schools and will improve the opportunities for all children and young people. We note the Government’s anticipation that Music Services will be well placed to drive this work forward within the new Hub structures and look forward to rising to the challenges ahead. The FMS will work alongside Arts Council colleagues to ensure that music and vocal tuition maintains its educational rigour and discipline.'
Music Education Hubs
The principle of working hand-in-hand with more arts-related bodies to maximise budgets, teaching power and resources is recognised as fundamental in achieving the aspiration of supporting more children irrespective of age and ability. Many Music Services already work in close partnership with other music and arts providers to support children and schools in preparation for the Hub bidding process.
The FMS is resolute that transparency and impartiality during the bidding stages is maintained to ensure that this process delivers the successful outcomes everyone seeks.
The FMS is supporting Music Services through training and consultancy on the preparation of bids to run Music Education Hubs. The relevance of the FMS' Open University-accredited management training course, Rising with the Tide, has been recognised by Government (Para 69 The Importance of Music) and will be continued.
In a separate move, the FMS is well underway with plans to widen its membership base to include a wider cross section of music and arts providers. More details will be announced very shortly.
Teacher training standards
The FMS represents 12,000 qualified and assessed music teachers. Quality teaching has always been the hallmark of Music Services’ offer to schools. The Teaching Agency’s plan to include add-on modules for classroom teachers in the summer of 2012 to improve musical teaching standards is welcome, together with a music educator qualification and more robust monitoring and benchmarking of music provision in schools by Ofsted.
Virginia Haworth-Galt commented:
'The FMS is heartened by the support shown by the Government with a three year Music Grant award totalling £202 million. However, we still remain concerned that when this reduction in central funding is added to the many local authority cuts already announced there will be a detrimental effect on overall music provision.
Unless Hubs can tap into other external reserves of funding quickly, there will be less money available in the short term. This must jeopardise opportunities for children and put at risk the quality of provision. The wide range of music being taught and the sustainability of some ensembles and orchestras will also be thrown into doubt unless outside funds are realised to bridge the gaps.'