The total number of GCSE Music students now stands at 39,358 after falling from 42,507 in 2017, following an 8% drop, despite the number of GCSE entries rising by 0.2% this year.
Speaking on GCSE results day, Dugher said: “Alarm bells should be ringing for everyone who cares about the importance of music participation for young people in our schools. This year’s GCSE results show once again a worrying decline that is now becoming a trend. This potentially undermines efforts to nurture future talent for Britain’s £4.4 billion world-leading music industry.
“As well as the vital importance of ensuring that we are a country where children from all backgrounds have access to the arts, there is a crucial economic imperative too, especially given the fact that the creative industries contribute £92 billion to our economy and that this sector is growing twice as fast as the economy as a whole.”
The announcement follows the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) forewarning that A-Level Music is struggling for funding within schools and colleges, as 39% of respondents in a survey of 400 schools acknowledged that they have cut down on lesson time, staff or facilities for A-level Music in the last two years.
Dugher added: “There is also a solid education argument in favour of promoting music participation in our schools: evidence to suggest that young people who are engaged in their education through music, as well as other subjects like Drama and Sport, do better at their Maths and English.”
By Sarah Thomas