Do you have time to read 20 pages over the summer? If you do, you may wish to re-read the National Plan for Music Education, pages 9 to 28, paragraphs 1 to 86. You may be surprised. Published in 2011, four years on this is still a document that, implemented fully over the next 5 years, can help us to improve the quality and reach of music education significantly.
Inevitably there are some statements that are now out of date, for example, the national curriculum was still under review in 2011. Nevertheless, whatever your particular sphere of interest there are statements in The Importance of Music that will help as you form your arguments and shape your actions to provide the best possible music education in the future. Did you know, for example that early years is mentioned “Music teaching starts in the early years” in paragraph 2 and gets further mention in paragraphs 11; 26; and 28. Under SEND “[The NPME] aims for equality of opportunity for all pupils, regardless of race; gender; where they live; their levels of musical talent; parental income; whether they have special educational needs or disabilities; and whether they are looked after children” (NPME Paragraph 5), with further mentions in paragraphs 32; 38; 87i); 122; 124; and in case study 8 on page 51. And there is a whole section on progression (section 3 Progression and Excellence pages 17 to 19). “The first opportunity many pupils will have to study music will be at school: it is on this foundation that broader opportunities and progression routes to the highest level rest.” (NPME Paragraph 6 page 9). See also paragraph 12: “Hubs have an important role in supporting first access, as well as giving broader opportunities and progression routes, in and out of school”; paragraphs 13; 14; 15 ; 18; 30; 63; 75; 77; 87i); and the case studies contain further comments on progression.
The Music Education Council (MEC) is taking this work forward and will do all it can to influence government policy and funding but there is much that we can do as a music education sector to improve music education, even within the limitations of the current policies and funding by celebrating and sharing the excellent practice that is going on day in and day out. On July 27th MEC will be sharing the outcomes of its work to date and formulating some action plans in September, so please look out for our communications and respond if you can, either via your professional association or direct to email@example.com. Decisions that are taken over the next 4 or 5 months will influence massively what happens over the next 4 or 5 years! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make sure your voice is heard. Have a great summer break and happy summer reading.