Shakeup in children’s music education has failed to bring significant benefits

The Guardian is reporting that a radical shakeup in children’s music education has failed to have a significant impact on the quality of provision, with only a minority of pupils feeling the benefits…

Music hubs took over responsibility for music education in September last year, but in a report published on Wednesday Ofsted says that in more than two-thirds of the schools it visited “there is little discernible difference from the support previously given by local authorities”.

The hubs were championed by the government to tackle disparities in quality of provision. They were selected through a bidding process arranged by Arts Council England. In practice, many local authorities, who had been responsible for music education before, were chosen.

The hubs’ tasks included giving every child the chance to learn a musical instrument and ensuring that every pupil sings regularly.

Ofsted says many of the hubs have done valuable work in supporting those in ensembles outside the classroom, but were failing to promote music in schools for all pupils, including those who do not currently play an instrument.

Most pupils still reach the age of 14 without understanding the basics of music such as time signatures, scales, chords and melody, unless they play an instrument, according to Ofsted.

Robin Hammerton, national lead on music at the inspectorate, said: “More hubs need to be more focused on helping schools and challenging schools at improving their day-to-day curriculum.

“We wouldn’t expect after a year that every school would be totally successful with improving lessons in school, but the disappointing thing is quite a few of the hubs haven’t begun very well.”

The report found that, especially in large counties, hubs were failing to reach out to all eligible schools, despite receiving funding to do so. Part of the problem was perceived to be a lack of understanding and low expectations of music among senior staff.

Ofsted called on the Department for Education and the Arts Council, which channels funding to the 123 hubs, to improve accountability and challenge hubs to deliver the best possible value for money…

More at:  Shakeup in children’s music education has failed to bring significant benefits

What impact have you seen from the switch to music hubs? Is music reaching all the pupils at your school? How could the situation be improved? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

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