Launched on 25 November 2011, the Government's National Plan for Music Education sets out the Government's vision for music education in England. Musical Futures welcomes the Government's desire to have a coherent, comprehensive plan for music education in England.
The central focus of the plan is the creation of music 'hubs' and we welcome the attempt to achieve better co-ordination of formal and non-formal provision. These hubs will, inevitably, differ in the range and quality of their offer to young people.
Our biggest concern here is the lack of reference in the plan to the importance of connecting hubs to the classroom experience of young people. The plan has little to say about the need to increase the numbers of young people choosing to continue with music beyond Key Stage 3 in school or how hubs might integrate learning experiences in and out of school.
Similarly, we are concerned at the narrowness of progression routes being proposed. Hubs will need to offer support to young musicians who wish to develop their skills outside the orchestras and ensembles praised by the plan. To a young musician, performing at Glastonbury Festival ought to be as valuable as appearing at the Proms.
Musical Futures has been adopted by more than one third of all English Secondary school music departments so it is somewhat surprising that the plan doesn't mention the initiative. The imminent Ofsted assessment of music education in schools will highlight the need to bring innovation to the universal opportunities for young people in schools. So we look forward to being involved in discussions with hubs on how young people's renewed enthusiasm for music, powered by Musical Futures, might be maximised, in and out of schools, through better-connected support structures.