Mu­sic squeezed out of schools as one in five drop sub­ject en­tirely

Yorkshire Post - - SPECIAL REPORT -

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.

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