The lack of music provision in state schools risks depriving the industry of future talent, the Brit Awards boss has warned.
New data from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK record labels association, has revealed a growing disparity between the music opportunities offered in state and independent schools.
In a survey of 2,200 teachers across both independent and state-funded schools, 21% said they saw a decrease in music provision over the past five years. Meanwhile, private schools have seen a net increase of 7% over the same period.
One in eight of the most deprived schools have an orchestra, compared with 85% of independent schools.
Furthermore, the survey found that 64% of schools serving disadvantaged communities give students a chance to take part in a school musical or musical play, compared with 91% of the most affluent state schools and 96% of independent schools.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI and the Brit Awards, said: “People may have different talents and aspirations, but the one thing that gives us all an equal opportunity to fulfil our potential, whatever our background, is education.”
“These BPI findings make us profoundly concerned that music education and tuition in state schools is beginning to lag far behind that in the independent sector. This inequality is not just deeply unfair to children in the state sector, it risks depriving our culture of future talents as diverse as Adele, Stormzy and Sheku Kanneh-Mason.”
He added: “We believe that every child in this country should have the same opportunity to access tuition and to discover and develop their musical talent. It is clear that Government needs to inject additional funding for musical instrument tuition in state schools and to recognise music as a core component of a child’s education, one which should be reflected in Ofsted’s judgment of a school’s performance.”
New proposed measures by the Government would introduce a new model music curriculum, created by an independent panel of experts, providing schools with a sequenced and structured template for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We want all pupils to have the opportunity to study music at school. We will be working with music groups and practitioners to refresh the national plan for music education.”
“We have already started work to develop a high-quality model music curriculum, which the British Phonographic Industry welcomes. Arts education programmes receive more money than any subject other than PE – nearly half a billion pounds to fund a range of music and cultural programmes between 2016 and 2020. This money is in addition to the funding that schools receive to deliver the curriculum.”
Taylor responded to the proposed measure, stating: ”We warmly welcome the proposed new model music curriculum for schools, but it is vital that Government ensures that the curriculum also works for the many non-music teachers that take music lessons in primary schools.”
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