Call for more joined-up thinking in music education

ISM demonstration outside Department for Education
01 May 2024

The decimation of arts education has hit the music sector particularly hard. Deborah Annetts of the Independent Society of Musicians calls on government departments to work together to stop the decline.

Starmer pledges arts education overhaul

Keir Starmer speaking at the Labour Creatives Conference
14 Mar 2024

Labour leader sets out his plans for creative education, improving conditions for freelancers, and his hope to boost funding for arts and culture organisations across the country.

Creativity 'expunged' from school curriculum, report warns

Young people with clarinets recording music on desktop computers
27 Apr 2023

Creative Policy and Evidence Centre raises concerns over lack of focus on creativity within schools across the UK.

EBacc will not be amended to include the arts

02 Dec 2022

There are no plans to amend the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) to include creative subjects, Education Minister Robert Halfon has said.

Halfon’s comments came during a House of Lords Select Committee inquiry into the future challenges for the creative industries, held last week.

When asked by committee member Lord Foster of Bath if the government was going to add creative subjects to the Ebacc, Halton said: "There will not be any changes to the EBacc. The government believes that the EBacc should be studied as part of a broad and balanced curriculum."

The EBacc is an accountability measure in England’s education sector which measures the proportion of children who secure a grade 5 or above in at least seven GCSEs in five areas - english language, english literature, maths, double science or biology, chemistry and physics, history or geography and a language. 

The Department for Education has set a target of 90% of pupils achieving the EBacc by 2025.

The exclusion of the arts from the Ebacc is widely regarded as a key reason for the decline in uptake of creative subjects in higher education.

In the committee hearing, Halfon said an extra £115m is being invested in arts, heritage and creative subjects in schools: "A music plan came out last year that extends music opportunities for pupils across the board and aids those who want to go into the music industry."

He added that ministers are working on cultural schools plan, which he said is due to come out next year.

Music education survey paints bleak picture

a group of students play the cello
30 Mar 2022

Almost all music teachers agree the government should consult them on the much-anticipated refreshed National Plan for Music Education.

Call to scrap GCSEs amid paltry arts entries

25 Jan 2022

The summer exams must go, former education secretaries say, as a new commission reports the need for students to develop creativity. 

National Plan for Music education revived with expert panel

12 Aug 2021

DfE has resurrected the long-delayed plan as industry and researchers warn music A-levels could disappear from some regions by 2033.

‘New normal’ emerges in GCSE and A level arts uptake

girl sitting at a desk with a paintbrush in hand
11 Jun 2020

The proportion of school pupils taking music and drama at GCSE looks set to stabilise around 20% lower than in 2015, when a dramatic slide in uptake began.

Delay Brexit or the music sector faces devastation, says report

anti-Brexit banner being held up at a demo
14 May 2020

Brexit fall-out is biting harder as musicians find it more difficult to secure European opportunities while uncertainty over the terms of a trade deal remains.

Election 2019: what’s in it for the arts? (Part II)

27 Nov 2019

AP looks at the promises set out in party manifestos. This week: Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, SNP and the Brexit Party.

Election 2019: What’s in it for the arts? 

22 Nov 2019

AP looks at the promises set out in party manifestos. This week: Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green Party

Labour could bring in tourist tax, says Tom Watson

A photo of Tom Watson sitting on stage next to a woman
12 Sep 2019

The Shadow Culture Secretary said “a crude skills and salary approach to migration simply won’t work for the creative economy”.

Nicky Morgan is Culture Secretary. What does that mean for the arts?

Photo of Nicky Morgan
25 Jul 2019

The former Education Secretary has previously expressed support for the EBacc and once claimed that studying the arts is not “useful” for many careers.

Head teachers partly to blame for drop in school arts provision, says Vaizey

Photo of child playing trumpet
19 Jul 2019

The former Culture Minister says his party’s decision to “relentlessly” focus on STEM hurt music education – but also blames head teachers for not prioritising the arts.

No let-up in arts A level decline

31 May 2019

Early figures suggest that the trend away from studying some arts subjects at GCSE may be bottoming out, but A level entries continue to fall away across all disciplines.

Russell Group scraps A Level subject guidance

24 May 2019

The move by the elite university group has led to renewed calls to reconsider the controversial EBacc performance measure.

Change education policy to save arts in schools, say MPs

A photo of school pupils playing wind instruments
17 May 2019

A new report demands a “clear explanation” from DCMS and the Department for Education on why they have dismissed evidence about the declining provision and take-up of creative subjects.

Music teachers on course to gain workers’ rights

Photo of music lessson
22 Mar 2019

Music teachers should be treated as ‘workers’ and provided with holiday pay, national minimum wage and whistle-blower protections, according to a new tribunal ruling.

Exclusive: Music A level denied to ever more students

A close up of a person's hand playing the guitar
01 Feb 2019

A student’s academic ability and the wealth of their parents are key indicators of the likelihood that they will get the chance to study arts subjects at A level in school, new figures reveal.

Universities challenge call for fewer creative arts degrees

A young woman in a red hat taking a photograph
11 Jan 2019

Claims by the Onward thinktank that young people should be steered away from “low value” degrees because they leave taxpayers to foot the bill for their studies are "simplistic", say university bosses.


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