Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Music for All: latest from the ISM

This is the latest news from the Incorporated Society of Musicians re their lobbying of the government to include music in the English Baccalaureate.

Musicians tell minister: Baccalaureate harming music in schools
ISM continues lobbying government to change policy

Young people in England may soon find it difficult or even impossible to study music at GCSE level if the Government continues to belittle music in its performance tables, according to the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the representative body for music professionals.

The Government’s English Baccalaureate proposals rank schools by attainment in a small selection of subjects, including geography, history and Latin but currently exclude other challenging and enriching academic subjects such as music and religious education.

In a letter to Nick Gibb MP, Schools Minister, and the Education Select Committee, the ISM’s Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said:

‘Fifty-six per cent of our members in a position to comment have already noticed music being squeezed out of their schools.’

The ISM also drew attention to Cambridge University entry guidelines which put music among the highest subject rankings. 

One teacher – wishing to remain anonymous – has also reported that as a result of music being left out of English Baccalaureate league tables, the head teacher has stopped music being offered at GCSE level and is even cutting it back for younger pupils.

Another teacher has reported that the uptake in music is ‘down by around 20-30% on last year.’

Deborah Annetts added:

‘These proposals are having a direct impact on music in schools. The Government must listen to the Henley Review of Music Education, which they themselves commissioned, and include music in the English Baccalaureate.

‘Without music GCSE being given the weighting it deserves, our cultural and creative economy will be put at risk, and young people who want to be involved in the music sector will have their efforts hampered.

‘The Government is setting England up for an almighty shock in the future if they continue this policy – let alone the impact it is already having on young people who want to study music.’

Notes to editors
1. The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians and music teachers. We champion the importance of music and protect the rights of those working within music through a range of services, campaigns, support and practical advice.
2. The ISM recently commissioned a YouGov poll which found that 97% of adults who expressed an opinion think that music should be taught in schools (don’t know/ neither agree nor disagree responses removed).
3. Trinity College, University of Cambridge entry guidelines: http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/index.php?pageid=604