Music education news and reports – England

This post will be updated each time we add music education news and reports which are relevant to England.


Arts Council England proposes reduced number of music hubs, March 2023
A proposal to reduce the number of music hubs from 116 to 43, to be accomplished by merging the existing areas, is out to public consultation until 31 March.
Music hub investment programme timeline announced by Arts Council England, November 2022
Arts Council England has announced that new music hubs will be in place by September 2024, confirming that current hubs will be funded until August 2024.
Lords debates music education in England, November 2022
The House of Lords will debate the National Plan for Music Education in England, on Wednesday 9 November.
Sector promised a say on music education shakeup, August 2022
Arts Council England pledges to talk through sector concerns and explore options ahead of major changes to the music education system.
Westminster government urged to establish national music education service, August 2022
Political think tank says England needs a national music service akin to Wales’ to ensure every pupil has access to high-quality music education.
How we ensure music remains at the heart of the lives of the next generation in England, August 2022
The next Labour government should introduce a National Music Education Service in England.
The power of music to change lives: a national plan for music education in England, June 2022
The vision for music education in England and how this can be achieved through partnerships with schools, music hubs, the music and creative sector, and others.
Music: A subject in peril?, March 2022
10 years on from the first National Plan for Music Education, the recommendations of this Incorporated Society of Musicians report relate to the current situation in school music departments in England.
Music teachers urge DfE to reform Progress 8 and EBacc, March 2022
Over 9 in 10 music teachers say these performance measures have ‘negatively impacted music education’.
Funding in digital is instrumental to future music education, February 2022
Digital innovation can help overcome inequality in music education but requires investment, according to North Yorkshire youth music charity NYMAZ.
Pausing music ‘not intended to imply’ subject ‘hierarchy’, January 2022
Ofqual chair, Ian Bauckham, responds to teacher anger over his suggestion to tackle high staff absence by suspending ‘specialist subjects’.
Music industry shocked by Ofqual chair’s proposal to redeploy music teachers, January 2022
Music educators expressed their outrage at Ian Bauckham’s suggestion that music teaching in schools could be ‘suspended’ amid teaching staff shortages due to Covid.
PAW Patrol creator among famous faces backing campaign to promote university arts, January 2022
A group of creatives are backing a university campaign to talk up the value of arts courses, amid worries that there could be limits on those who can study such subjects in the future.
Lloyd Webber calls for more music tuition funding in schools, January 2022
Composer says UK ministers seem unwilling to recognise benefits music can have in disadvantaged communities, and points to the latest report by the Music in Secondary Schools Trust.
Trepidation as music classes could be ‘suspended’ in English schools, January 2022
An Ofqual proposal suggests specialist subjects such as music could be sacrificed due to the rising number of Covid-19 related staff absences.
ACE Report: Fair and more inclusive classical music sector, January 2022
Classical music is an important and vibrant part of our creative and cultural sector and we believe it can appeal to even more people wherever they live and whatever their background.
‘Creativity crisis’ looms for English schools due to arts cuts says Labour, August 2021
Number of GCSE music and drama students fell by a fifth over last decade, research finds.
Panel of experts to shape future of music education in England, August 2021
A new National Plan for Music Education in England will be published next year.
The Department for Education’s report on the call for evidence on music education is now published, August 2021
Important reading for anyone in #MusicEducation #MusicHubs #YouthMusic
University funding cuts: Music, dance, and performing arts are among the courses set to see subsidies slashed, July 2021
Funding for university arts courses in England will be cut because they are no longer considered “strategic priorities”.
Simply ‘doing’ music is not enough, July 2021
Ofsted has published its latest research review looking at music education in English schools.
Plans for 50% funding cut to arts subjects at universities ‘catastrophic’, May 2021
Artists and musicians speak out against proposal by England’s education secretary and Office for Students.
Westminster government announces new music curriculum for England’s schoolchildren, March 2021
Calls for music to play a crucial role in schoolchildren’s lives appear to have been answered, with a wide-ranging new music curriculum in England.
Thousands of children in England could lose music education as Ministers won’t confirm funding, March 2021
The Westminster government has still not confirmed funding for Music Education Hubs in England with just weeks to go until the new financial year.
UK Music calls for more support for music education as English schools re-open, March 2021
Cross-sector trade group UK Music has called on the Westminster government to ensure that music education is high up the agenda as schools swing back into action across England today after the latest COVID lockdown.
Music must be ‘essential and non-negotiable’ in England, February 2021
Following the news that the Education Recovery Commissioner in England said that music, drama and sport are needed in students’ recovery following the pandemic, the Music Masters’ CEO is emphasising the particular benefits of music in disadvantaged schools.
Heads warn against ‘grinding out hours’ in summer catch up, February 2021
Head teachers’ leaders have warned against ‘gimmicks’ in plans to help pupils in England catch up for lost learning in the pandemic.
Sport, music and drama ‘should be part of England’s pupil catch-up’, February 2021
Extra hours of academic learning – as well as sport, music and drama – will be needed to help England’s pupils make up ground following the pandemic, says Sir Kevan Collins, England’s new Education Recovery Commissioner.
Music education in English schools is suffering, December 2020
An Ofsted report published today on education in schools has further confirmed the damaging impacts of COVID-19 on music learning.
Study finds 65% of students and parents want to resume in-person music lessons, October 2020
Wiltshire Music Connect has published the results of its research into the impact of the unexpected shift to online lessons on teaching and learning music.
Youth Music publishes new research into barriers faced by disabled musicians in England, October 2020
Music charity Youth Music has published a new report – titled ‘Reshape Music’ – highlighting the significant barriers faced by disabled musicians who want to access music education and opportunities to make music.
Music initial teacher training funding withdrawn in England by Department for Education, October 2020
The Department for Education (DfE) has published its initial teacher training (ITT) funding for the academic year 2021 to 2022, sparking outcry from the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and its members online as music has not been included.
Letter calling for music education funding in England signed by more than 25 organisations, September 2020
A joint letter written by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the Music Teachers’ Association (MTA) and Music Mark has called for sustained funding to deliver a world-class music education system.
Youth Music launches new music careers report and £2 million incubator fund, July 2020
Music charity Youth Music has launched a new report looking at the challenges faced by young people pursuing a career in music.
ISM warns UK government against dropping music from post-COVID school curriculum in England, July 2020
The Incorporated Society Of Musicians has written to the UK government to advise against the suspension of music lessons in England when schools fully re-open in September.
Annual music teachers’ fees survey in England shows rates are not rising with the cost of living for fourth year in a row, March 2020
The ISM’s annual survey of teaching and accompanying rates has revealed a profession under pressure against a backdrop of budget cuts, the marginalisation of music and Brexit.
Cuts to Norfolk Music Service could impact on young people’s mental health, March 2020
A chart-topping singer has warned that any quick fix cuts to the Norfolk Music Service would have serious impacts on children’s mental health.
Five ways music education policy in England must change, March 2020
It’s time to turn up the volume on the needs and interests of young people, says Carol Reid.
‘The opportunity to play music should not be elitist’ – petition to stop music cuts attracts thousands of supporters, March 2020
Thousands of people have signed a petition to halt proposed cuts to the Norfolk Music Service.
Government plans to ‘level up’ access to music education in England backed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, February 2020
Andrew Lloyd Webber is backing plans to develop a new government blueprint for music education in England, which promises to benefit all children “regardless of their background”.
Partnerships in early years music: Working together, February 2020
Two large-scale partnership projects in London and Birmingham have recently shown what an ambitious agenda for excellence in early years music education can look like.
Save music education in England, January 2020
After nine years of austerity, the Conservatives have promised a spending spree. But will it be enough to rescue music education in England?
Music education hubs in England receive another year’s funding, November 2019
The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that England’s music education hubs will receive funding for the 2020-21 financial year.
DfE may have ‘dropped the ball’ on plan for music in England, October 2019
Government expert, Bridget Whyte, says many schools are “not even aware” of the National Plan for Music Education in England, which is due for renewal next year.
London music scheme improved deprived children’s creativity and wellbeing, September 2019
A new report on the impact of a music making programme in three London boroughs, has highlighted positive changes in the “creativity, emotional literacy, motivation and self-efficacy” of young people.
Scrap EBacc and reform Progress 8 to tackle creative subjects slump in England, July 2019
A new report by education think tank EDSK finds that GCSE music entries have fallen by 24 per cent since the introduction of the EBacc in 2010.
Study finds huge disparities in participation in extra-curricular activities in England depending on social background, July 2019
The Social Mobility Commission’s report finds that children from the wealthiest backgrounds in England are three times more likely to take music classes out of school hours than those from the poorest families.
Music education in England hit by ‘relentless’ focus on Stem, July 2019
Former culture minister, Ed Vaizey, calls for change to system that ‘penalises’ schools that focus on arts.
Exchanging Notes research (see reports) releases a media flurry over ‘Stormzy vs Mozart’, June 2019
Brass bands and wellbeing in England: Brand new evidence!, June 2019
Researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Music and Wellbeing Unit have just released a detailed report on the benefits and challenges of playing in brass bands.
Postcode lottery denies poor A-level students a musical career, May 2019
Most deprived areas in England unable to offer exam to pupils, research finds.
School music lessons in England should cover hip-hop and grime, May 2019
Youth Music calls for a focus on ‘Stormzy rather than Mozart’ to engage hard-to-reach pupils in England.
School music report reveals cuts, inequality and demoralised teachers in England, April 2019
Subject is in a ‘perilous state’ and is being squeezed out of the curriculum by competing demands, says new research.
MPs call for arts to be added to the EBacc, March 2019
Report on live music industry says quality of music education in England faces multiple threats.
BPI research finds growing divide in music education between state and private schools in England, March 2019
Arts Council England plans to match crowdfunding for Music Education Hubs, March 2019
The move follows a 2017 pilot project that found arts and heritage crowdfunding donations increased by 17% when the project was match-funded.
Music lessons ‘being stripped’ out of schools in England, March 2019
State schools in England have seen a 21% decrease in music provision over the last five years, research suggests.
Music education in England ‘must tackle digital disconnect’ – Music Commission report released, March 2019
The report of the 18-month enquiry by the Music Commission says that music education must evolve to fit the needs of the 21st century or risk failing generations of young talent.
‘State of the Nation’ music education report released for England, February 2019
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education, the University of Sussex, and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) have released a report which looks at the effect of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) on music education.
Ofsted launches consultation on new inspection framework in England, January 2019
This is good news for arts subjects in England which have been squeezed out of the curriculum due to a combination of the current accountability measures and funding.
Music is a powerful contributor to young people’s wellbeing in England, January 2019
A new research report by Youth Music of young people aged 7 to 17 in England, shows that music is essential to their lives, significantly improving their wellbeing.
English schools shut out from DfE music curriculum panel, January 2019
The Westminster government has come under fire for choosing just three serving school leaders for its 14-strong panel that will develop its new “model” music curriculum for England.
Westminster government announces new music curriculum to be created in England by panel of experts, January 2019
Schools Minister Nick Gibb announces plans for new curriculum in England alongside a £1.33m injection of funding for music hubs.
EBacc partly to blame for decline in music at GCSE in England, December 2018
A senior Westminster Government Minister has for the first time pointed to the controversial EBacc education policy as one of the causes of a decline in music in English schools.
The ISM releases report on the future of music education in England, December 2018
The report makes a series of recommendations for both music education in the classroom and any revised National Plan for Music Education in England.
Ofsted ‘should only give top grade to schools promoting creative subjects’ in England, November 2018
Schools in England should need to demonstrate excellence in creative and technical subjects to be rated ‘outstanding’, says report.
Ofsted says narrow curriculum is risk to quality of education in England, November 2018
DfE to ‘test appetite’ for music as facilitating subject, November 2018
DfE to write to universities after failure to list A-level music as facilitating subject branded ‘profoundly unhelpful’.
Ofsted to refocus on ‘broad curriculum’ in England, October 2018
Campaigners against the EBacc have welcomed the move, but say it will not be enough on its own to save arts subjects.
Music education hubs in England struggle to attract older pupils, October 2018
The drop in those aged 14 to 18 was revealed in a report on English music education hubs by Birmingham City University.
Record numbers in England learning instruments in class thanks to music hubs, October 2018
New report shows more than 700,000 pupils in England are benefiting from whole class instrumental teaching.
Bacc for the Future gets heard in Parliament, July 2018
Top musicians unite in bid for all children to learn an instrument, May 2018
How to improve school results: not extra maths but music, loads of it, October 2017
The story that broke about music teacher Jimmy Rotheram, head Naveed Idrees and Feversham Primary’s journey from special measures to being in the top 10% nationally.


Music in schools has the power to reach more young people by reflecting their lives in music, June 2019
Exchanging Notes, a four-year study in partnership with Birmingham University, involved 1,000 pupils in secondary schools and makes recommendations around reinforcing the value of music in schools, reflecting the interests of young people and investing in partnership working.
What does it take to make progress in music?, March 2019
After 18 months exploring this issue, The Music Commission has now finalised its conclusions and has published its report.
New music education report State of the Nation released, February 2019
Report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education, University of Sussex and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).
Music is a powerful contributor to young people’s wellbeing in England, February 2019
A new research report by Youth Music of 1,001 young people aged 7 to 17 in England, shows that music is essential to their lives, significantly improving their wellbeing
The Future of Music Education – Consultation on the future of music education, December 2018
Results of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) surveys conducted over summer 2018.

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