Schools: Music

Department for Education written question – answered on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Paula Barker Paula Barker Labour, Liverpool, Wavertree

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that music education provision in schools is not reduced during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Paula Barker Paula Barker Labour, Liverpool, Wavertree

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department can provide to schools to ensure that their risk assessments during the covid-19 outbreak do not lead to reduced access to music rooms and equipment.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

This Government is committed to ensuring that all pupils receive a high-quality music education. The guidance for the full opening of schools for academic year 2020-21 makes clear that the curriculum should remain broad so that the majority of pupils are taught a full range of subjects over the year, including the arts. In Key Stage 4 and 5, the majority of GCSE and A level students are expected to continue to study their examination subjects, including those who are due to take exams in music, to support them towards their preferred route to further study.

As there may be an additional risk of infection in environments where singing and the playing of wind or brass instruments takes place, the guidance sets out detailed advice on how schools can teach music safely.

In relation to risk assessments for rooms and equipment, the guidance includes advice on ventilation, room size and social distancing if teaching indoors, and how to use instruments and other equipment safely. This allows school leaders to make best use of their school estate and equipment so that all pupils can participate in music education.

In terms of wider support for music in schools, in January, the Department announced a further £80 million investment in Music Education Hubs for 2020-21 to ensure all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality music education. Music Education Hubs continue to provide a range of opportunities for young people, including whole class instrumental teaching, individual lessons, ensembles, choirs and more. Schools should work with their Hubs to ensure a quality music education for all pupils this year.

The Department also continues to support thousands of students to reach their full musical potential through the Music and Dance Scheme, with subsidised places at top music and dance schools across the country, and part time teaching at Centres for Advanced Training, all resuming this academic year.

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