James Dickinson, Head of Service, Hertfordshire Music Service
As with everyone else in music education, I am delighted and relieved that the National Plan for Music Education is finally published. The core roles for the music education hubs are clear and straightforward. They focus on access, opportunity and excellence and I feel from a Hertfordshire perspective that The Importance of Music gives us a platform on which to place the best of our existing activity whilst also giving us the opportunity to recognise and value our partnership work and develop and grow ambitiously. It will enable us to transform areas of our business in line with the musical aspirations and ambitions of our children and young people. The NPME gives music education a moral purpose that must be embedded at the heart of each hub. Access and opportunity cannot and must not be limited to those with the financial means to do so and for this commitment, the plan should be applauded, particularly in these challenging times.
There is a word of caution however. The publication of this plan will be seen by many as a green light to go into collective inward discussion and protectionism. We are all here to ensure that as many of children and young people as possible have access to high-quality musical provision. Whilst there have been many successes over the last few years, too many children go without what, for me and so many others, is the life-changing experience of music-making. All our discussions must begin and end with what is best for those who rely on us to deliver.
So let's be brave, be bold and embrace the opportunity we have and not waste time on anything other than planning for all our children’s musical futures.