Half of schools are failing to get enough children involved in singing or learning a musical instrument, a major Ofsted study has found.Maybe they are. But then, give their even more appalling record on teaching them to read, write and add up, should we even be worried about this…?
The findings are based on a three-year study of music scholarship and teaching in 84 primary and 95 secondary schools around the country.
While the education watchdog rated music provision as "good or outstanding" in around half of the schools visited and noted that this had a positive impact on pupils' general wellbeing, it found that the other half– mainly secondary schools – offered an "inconsistent" quality and range of musical activities.Oh, noes! No Himalayan nose flute at Nelson Mandela Community School…? How will we cope?
And by the way, this isn’t small potatoes here:
The study comes more than a year after the Government announced a £332 million investment in music education for children. Among the pledges made by Education Secretary Ed Balls were free music tuition for every primary school child for a year, more musical instruments for each school and £40m funding for a Sing Up initiative aimed at promoting singing in classrooms as well as at home and in the wider community.Perhaps this bizarre policy explains the prevalence of shows like ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Please God, Find Me A Cheap Singer!’ on our tvs over the last year…?
Failing schools were those where music teachers were not properly supported and did not push their pupils to improve their skills enough with decent, regular assessments.They don’t say that about the policy of comprehensive schooling itself, do they…?
"Schools did little active selection of pupils who would benefit most, personally and musically. Simply offering opportunities to all did not necessarily ensure that provision included all pupils sufficiently," it added.
Among its key recommendations was that Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) direct its funding at choirs and orchestras that are making demonstrable progress with the children they involve, and ensure the Sing Up programme reaches the primary schools that need most help.Why should it have to ‘benefit the whole community’?
It also recommended that schools hold regular reviews of their music provision, considering how it could benefit the entire community rather than tick a box.