Jackie Schneider, Teacher, Poplar Primary School and St Teresa's, London Borough of Merton
It is brilliant to read that every school MUST provide good quality music lessons, plus choir and ensembles, for ALL pupils. However, this is then completely undermined by the rider that follows: 'subject to the National Curriculum Review' which is widely expected to ditch music along with many other creative subjects. Without music on the National Curriculum or part of the English Baccalaureate, what pressure is there on Heads to ensure music is taught?
Sadly, most of this national plan will be largely irrelevant unless schools have to provide music education for all children. As it is, I know of many schools that fail to provide any music provision for their pupils, thinking a 20-minute assembly using Sing Up covers them. Music will only truly flourish in all our schools if we win the hearts and minds of senior staff and governing bodies.
I am rather perplexed by the obsession with 'hubs'. From my perspective, I get excellent support and guidance from my Local Authority partnership with Merton Music Foundation. I am worried that the hubs sound horrendously bureaucratic and will eat up money that could otherwise be spent on school music. Frankly, as long as I have someone from the borough who shares expertise across all the schools and who will respond to my requests for help at the drop of a hat, I’m happy.
The 27% cut in funding over the next three years whilst bedding down a complex new structure rings alarm bells. Although I am delighted to see the funding formula will be referenced to free school meals, I’m not clear what this looks like in reality and hope it isn’t just talk. We need a pretty brutal redistribution of funds to areas of greatest poverty.
Absolutely delighted to see music education for teachers addressed and the role of music technology highlighted.
Finally, fantastic to see YouTube cited as a great resource for music lessons. Many of us have ongoing battles with our Head Teachers to get this unblocked at our schools.