National Association of Music Educators
The National Association of Music Educators (NAME) welcomes the National Plan for Music Education and the bold vision it presents for the development of music education in England. This is a vision for all children to engage with music, for them to do so through composing, listening to and performing music, and recognising the different ways in which children engage with music - academically, socially and for its own enjoyment.
This vision is bold in its scope and ambitious in the means that have been set out for its realisation. Whilst hubs already exist and the principles of partnership-working are well established, the promotion of this model as the vehicle for provision across the country is new. Much rests on the way in which Arts Council England will work with the Department for Education, the way that arts organisations will work with organisations focussed on music education, the way that Music Services and other potential hub leaders will work with schools. These are all partnerships that have the potential to improve music education for young people. However, there is no disguising the fact that there is less money available to make this happen and some bold changes will have to be embraced if the potential improvement is to be realised.
There is a particular challenge in the Plan for schools. On the one hand, the Plan recognises the important place of music in the curriculum of all schools, irrespective of the outcome of the National Curriculum Review. On the other hand, it promotes the provision of music in the classroom as an integral part of how hubs deliver music education to children, to the extent that hubs are required to challenge and support schools to improve their music curriculum. The challenge is for schools to consider how to integegrate their curriculum with that of the hub. This is important both so that children have a seamless experience of music education with access to progression routes within and beyond the school and also so that the funding of music through schools complements the funding of music education through hubs.
Of particular interest to NAME is the proposal to develop new Primary music initial teacher training (ITT) modules, to be taken either towards the end of ITT courses or as Continuing Professional Development. This is an important step in increasing the expertise and confidence of Primary teachers in music. It recognises the contribution made by those with and without specific musical training and acknowledges the continuing development needs of teachers beyond their initial training as they begin their careers.
In welcoming the Plan, NAME also welcomes this positive indication by the Government of the importance it attaches to cultural education generally. We await with interest the publication of Darren Henley's review of cultural education generally and encourage Ministers to recognise the importance of the arts to the education of children, to the future of the creative industries in the UK and to the quality of life of everyone.