'We're profoundly concerned': BPI survey reveals fall in state school music education

'We're profoundly concerned': BPI survey reveals fall in state school music education

BPI boss Geoff Taylor has expressed “profound concern that music education and tuition in state schools is beginning to lag far behind the independent sector,” in the wake of a new study.

Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards, said this imbalance is “deeply unfair” and threatens the talent pipeline in the UK music industry.

“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,” he said.

The BPI’s new teacher survey polled 2,200 teachers, and chief among its findings is the revelation of a 21% decrease in music provision over the past five years at state schools, while independent schools have seen a 7% increase in the same period.

The data also revealed that one in four schools in disadvantaged communities offer no musical instrument lessons to students that want them. Only 12% of the most deprived schools have an orchestra, compared to 85% of independent schools.

This inequality risks depriving our culture of future talents as diverse as Adele, Stormzy and Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Geoff Taylor

Opportunities to take part in school musicals or plays and choirs were found to be markedly less common in less affluent communities, and students in those areas are least likely to have regular music lessons aged 13-14. One in five primary teachers said there is no regular music lesson for their class.

“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,” Taylor continued.

“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.  We believe that every child in this country should have the same opportunity to access tuition and to discover and develop their musical talent.”

Taylor has called on the Government “to inject additional funding for musical instrument tuition in state schools and to recognise music as a core component of a child’s education”.

“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,” he said.

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