Scottish Daily Mail
Exam body tells music pupils to ‘learn a new instrument’
PUPILS have been told by Scotland’s exams body to consider learning a new musical instrument if they cannot get enough lessons in their first choice.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has sparked a furious response from teachers after suggesting pupils – who may have been learning for years – could easily switch to an alternative.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant pupils learning brass or woodwind instruments, or those taking singing lessons, have had severely restricted time with tutors.
Changes proposed by the SQA state: ‘Candidates, who are unable to be supported by face to face learning and teaching leading up to their assessment, might wish to consider the option of learning a different instrument.’
But the proposals led to an angry backlash from teachers. Alastair Orr, a brass instrumental teacher in Stirling, said the suggestion demonstrates a ‘shocking level of ignorance at the SQA’.
He said: ‘The solution isn’t suggesting to pupils casually that they switch instruments and potentially achieve the same level of success that they would have achieved with an instrument that they have been learning for perhaps years.’
Ross Greer, education spokesman for the Scottish Greens, said: ‘To suggest that a young person who has spent up to nine years learning and honing their skill should start again with another totally unrelated instrument a few months before their exam is both ridiculous and insulting.
‘The SQA has proven yet again that it is unfit for the role they hold in supporting and certifying young people’s learning.’