The Department for Education has announced that trainee music teachers at secondary level will be entitled to a bursary of £10,000 from September 2024, after previously axing the support in 2020.
The tax-free sum, which is less than half that on offer for languages and STEM subjects, will be paid in equal monthly instalments over the duration of a trainee teacher's course.
It's hoped the bursary's reintroduction will significantly boost the number of music teachers. Last month, an Ofsted report on music teaching in schools found some schools were experiencing challenges recruiting music teachers at the key stage 3. In a few cases, music had been temporarily removed from the curriculum because of a shortage of specialists.
According to the National Foundation for Educational Research, just 31% of the target for music teacher recruitment will be met in 2023.
UK Music’s Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl welcomed the return of the bursary for music but said: ”There is still far more to be done to fix the current shortage of music teachers.”
Chris Walters, National Organiser for Education, Health & Wellbeing at the Musicians’ Union, added: “We urge the government to revisit its own National Plan for Music Education and review the other barriers that stand in the way of the plan’s delivery, including straitened school budgets and mixed messaging to schools about the importance of the arts.”
Meanwhile, Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM, noted: “Despite the good news for secondary teachers, there is no bursary at primary level, where a lack of courses remains a point of great concern." In over two-thirds of the primary schools, Ofsted found that non-specialist teachers taught music, with over half lacking the subject knowledge to teach the curriculum well.
The government has announced that trainee Art & Design and English teachers will also be offered a £10,000 bursary for 2024/25.