Henley Review of Music Education has now been published and has been widely welcomed by the music education sector, with positive statements of support from the Federation of Music Services, Music Education Council, and Youth Music.Darren Henley, Managing Director of Classic FM, was commissioned to review music education services last year by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The report includes 36 recommendations to government to ensure that high-quality music education is made available to all children. Headline recommendations include the development of a National Plan for Music Education, which will in turn be used as a guide and template for funders such as Arts Council England, local authorities and Youth Music, the development of local music hubs, and a core qualification for music teachers. As expected, Darren Henley has also recommended that a further review should be undertaken to look at cultural education more broadly.The Government has responded positively to the review, calling it realistic and practical. The CLA is encouraged to see that the response restates the recent White Paper commitment that all children should expect to be given a rich menu of cultural experiences.The Government has agreed to the development of a National Plan, and we can expect to see consultation on this over the next couple of months. Whilst the plan is being developed, central government will maintain their current investment into local authority music services (£82.5 million) for a further year. This is broadly very good news, although it is important to note the following:
- in real terms this is stand-still funding and therefore represents a slight cut to current levels
- local authority music services (which provide music practitioners and programmes to schools) are funded through a range of sources including local government funds (previously around £26 million across the country). Many of these local funds have already been pre-emptively cut – in December the Incorporated Society of Musicians reported that as many as 64 authorities had already issued redundancy notices to music staff.
It is therefore absolutely critical that local authority budget holders retain and protect their match funding for music services whilst the National Plan is being developed.
The Henley Review strongly recommends that music should continue as a statutory part of the curriculum, and should be offered at Key Stage 4 and beyond. The Government has stated that the current Curriculum Review will look at ‘how we can extend the space for all children to pursue music and the arts qualifications’, something that we specifically welcome. The Henley Review also recommends that Ofsted should have a much stronger role in developing a quality framework and then assessing and monitoring all music education delivery.
The CLA is particularly excited about the development of local music hubs, which could consist of schools, local authority services, professional and voluntary organisations. Our submission to the Henley Review particularly lobbied for this approach, and we are very keen to see how this model could be developed and adapted for broader cultural learning delivery.
Both Sing-Up and In Harmony have been singled out for praise by Darren Henley and the Government has pledged to support both programmes for a further year so as to ensure a legacy to the investment and share the learning from these projects.
Support for the Music and Dance Scheme, which supports gifted children and young people to progress to musical careers, will be continued, as will the National Youth Music Organisations.
The report places emphasis on improving the workforce, recommending teacher training (especially in primary schools), the development of a Qualified Music Educator award, a Teach First Scheme for music graduates from conservatoires, and leadership training for the sector. It also suggests that a national database should be developed of all practitioners with the Qualified Music Educator award. The Government has indicated that it agrees in principle with these suggestions, and had stated that it will begin relevant conversations with training providers and sector bodies.
We are particularly interested to see the recommendations for schools to use technology to communicate music learning offers in and out of school to parents – something that we feel would benefit all cultural learning offers.
The Government response concludes with the very welcome commitment to a broader review of cultural learning provision, again to be led by Darren Henley. The CLA is delighted by this pledge, which was originally made by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communication and the Creative Industries, at our Big Link Up event. We will work closely with Darren Henley to ensure that the thoughts and priorities of the CLA are fed into the review, so please do get in touch with your ideas.