Music squeezed out of schools as one in five drop subject entirely
RISING NUMBERS of schools are cutting back on music in the curriculum, academics have warned, with some schools offering it only once a year on “enrichment days”.
The University of Sussex, in new research which has been released this week, found that the number of schools teaching the subject, staffing levels and teaching hours are all in decline.
Surveying 464 centres, it found there is now no option for GCSE music at nearly one in five schools.
It comes alongside a 10 per cent drop in the number of students starting courses compared to 2016.
The situation is now at crisis point in many secondaries, report author Dr Ally Daubney warned, adding: “We need to act now in order to reverse this decline and find ways to support schools to offer a sustained music education for all.”
The study also found that eight per cent of those schools which did offer GCSE music delivered it outside of core curriculum time, for example after school.
One such school which came under fire nationally was Bingley Grammar School which has brought in charges of £5 a week for students taking after-school music theory classes.
This was not because of funding, the school had stressed to media, but because of a fall in uptake.
And it allowed students to take the GCSE at a time which best suited them.
Many such subjects are disappearing from the core curriculum, school leaders have warned, in the wake of funding pressures and a focus on core EBacc subjects.
The Association of School and College Leaders, in a survey of 420 schools this summer, found 69 per cent had cut back on lesson time, staff or facilities in A-level subjects such as music, French, design and technology and drama.
In January, Richmond School in North Yorkshire, where Latin has been on the curriculum for more than 600 years, announced it was having to stop teaching it because of funding restrictions and falling numbers of pupil opting to take it.
And in Leeds, Allerton Grange School became the only secondary in the city to teach classics GCSE this term, but only after grant funding was secured from charities by a determined teacher.
Said action needs to be taken to support schools offering music.