Music lessons in schools at risk unless government funds teacher pay rise, councils warn

The Independent is reporting that a pay rise for classroom teachers, announced in July, will not apply to staff employed directly by councils – of which the majority provide music tuition, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

Instead, councils would be forced to reduce the services of centrally employed teachers (CETs), such as music tutors, if they were asked to meet the cost of an additional pay rise of one to 2.5 per cent, it added.

The LGA, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, is now calling on the government to fund the pay rise for CETs, estimated to be £5.5m.

Currently there are nearly 5,000 CETs who either provide direct teaching to children, or who play key roles in supporting education professionals. At least half of them teaching music.

The LGA warning came as a new study from the University of Sussex finds that an increasing number of secondary schools have reduced or removed music in the curriculum for students in Years 7 to 9.

Asked about the new report, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told The Independent: “Local authorities clearly cannot afford additional costs on strained budgets and this will inevitably mean cuts. We are in danger of music becoming the preserve of only those families who can afford private tuition.”

Horace Trubridge, general secretary of Musicians’ Union, added that his path owed “so much to the government of the day in the 1960s that made sure that all kids, no matter how humble their roots, had the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.”

He said: “It seems to me that we are now entering into an era in our profession when only a very narrow social stream of young people will make up the musicians of tomorrow. How will the tradition of fantastic bands and artists rising up from the housing estates and low-to-no income families continue?”

Read the full article Music lessons in schools at risk unless government funds teacher pay rise, councils warn

Have you seen cuts to music education in your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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