• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email

Days before England's schools resume, the Department for Education is yet to publish guidance on reopening music departments.

Children may be at a low risk of catching coronavirus at school - but the same cannot be said of their teachers

Erin Lodes

Music teachers are waiting for guidance on how to run their departments safely just days before schools are due to reopen in England.

The Incoroportated Society of Musicians (ISM) has hit out at the Department for Education (DfE), saying advice is needed now "so that music can resume as an essential part of a broad and balanced education".

Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said schools, which reopen full time in England from September 1, need time to implement any new precautions amid concerns - albeit diminishing ones - that singing, brass and wind instruments might contribute to the spread of coronavirus.


"If providers limit the number of participants and observe social distancing while managing volume and ventilation, we can make sure that young people are able to still enjoy the rich benefits of participation in music.

"However, it is essential that the Department for Education now provides similar reassurance for staff, pupils and parents by urgently publishing guidance for how schools can safely reopen their music departments for the Autumn term."


ISM has started a new campaign to support music teachers as they return to the classroom.

A recent study by Public Health England into coronavirus risks in schools found staff-to-staff infection was more likely than transmission between students, although teachers were not more likely to catch coronavirus than the general population as a whole.

But ISM says there is still no clear consensus on the role that children play in trasmission pathways and the implications of this when schools resume. 

The #CanDoMusic campaign website has advice on working in 'bubbles' of students, sharing instruments, online lessons and small group tuition, among other topics and resources.

Annetts said: "School leaders face numerous challenges in reopening schools and we must give them the support they need to put music at the heart of the recovery curriculum."

No national plan

Music hubs will be expected to continue as usual as a new National Plan for Music Education is placed on hold.

The plan, which was due to be refreshed earlier this year, has been suspended due to the coronavirus. DfE has not provided a new date for the review.

This delay will come as a blow to music associations that had called the new plan a "once in a decade opportunity"