Music

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 17th October 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Labour, Walsall South 2:30 pm, 17th October 2011

What plans he has for the future of music education in schools.

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education

We will shortly publish a national plan for music education, which will reform the delivery and funding of music education. It will ensure that pupils have opportunities to learn an instrument, to sing and to play in ensembles.

Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Labour, Walsall South

I thank the Secretary of State for his reply. He will be aware of Plato’s theory of education, which says that musical training is one of the most important instruments in education. Is he aware also of the Institute of Education research which found that one in nine primary schools does not have a piano? Will he take steps to ensure that all primary schools have a musical co-ordinator and, more importantly, a piano?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education

I am very grateful to the hon. Lady for making those points. She is absolutely right that the wider provision not just of trained music teachers, but of musical instruments will ensure not just that more children have access to the greatest of all art forms, but that more children as a result do better in every other subject.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Conservative, Blackpool North and Cleveleys

I am sure the Secretary of State is aware of the excellent Blackpool Music Service, which has won national awards for bringing music provision to children who would otherwise not be able to afford it. As we debate the role of local education authorities alongside the new aims of academies, does he not agree that such co-ordination is a role that local authorities can still play, adding value to the work of all schools in their local area?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education

That is a typically acute point by my hon. Friend; he is absolutely right. In many cases, though not all, county music services do a superb job. One of the reforms that will be central to our national music plan is a way of making sure that the best county music services can do more while those that are weaker can have the service they provide supplanted by someone who is in a better position to raise standards for all children.