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Virginia Haworth-Galt, the FMS Chief Executive

Virginia Haworth-Galt's Chief Executive blog

Creating a new musical landscape

Clearly, everyone involved in music education has been given much to think about. To create a new musical landscape will mean adopting more flexible attitudes and being open minded about change. Fast.
As a way of unpicking the recommendations the FMS National Executive has agreed to focus on a number of the key challenges and start the process of formulating responses and plans. Not every recommendation in the Department for Education’s document is discussed, but here is a brief summary of our thinking to date.

Recommendation 9

The provision of Music Education should remain a statutory requirement as part of the National Curriculum.

Music Services enjoy a unique relationship with Schools and the FMS agrees strongly with the Henley Review recommendation that music remains a statutory part of the National Curriculum. The FMS believes that in order to ensure that England remains a musical nation it is crucial that we win this debate. The FMS is working with others (including NAME, MEC and ISM), to provide clear, strong evidence and information for the Curriculum Review, to prove the key role music
plays within a child’s education.

The Henley Review also stated that ‘Music should be included as one of the subjects that go to make the English Baccalaureate.’ The FMS, and others across the music education sector, agree that unless music is brought into the Baccalaureate it will seriously impact on GCSE participation and in some cases it will simply not be made available. We stated within our submission to Government that “We urge the Education Select Committee to think long and hard about why music must be included. There is so much evidence to demonstrate the literary, cognitive and social benefits that a musical education brings beyond the intrinsic joy of music in its own right. The gulf that music would leave by its absence would be catastrophic.”

Recommendation 10

The Department for Education and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport should work together to develop a national plan for Music Education in England (the National Music Plan).

Music Services will be one of the key stakeholders working with Government and others to develop the National Music Plan. The FMS will make sure that the development of the plan draws on the expertise and unique perspective of Music Services as music educators and quality service providers.

Recommendation 14

…should work together to create Music Education Hubs in each Local Authority area…

Music Services need to play a key role in shaping the new music education landscape. They have to ensure that children access an excellent music education locally matched to educational outcomes which are determined by the National Music Plan. The Henley Review has highlighted the necessity for strong and effective partnerships creating and delivering exciting hubs to meet the needs of children within a locality. Music Services must be at the heart of the hubs and work with others to make sure that all the music education needs of children are met. Because the needs and resources of each area will differ there can be no standard format for a hub, one size will not fit all. FMS is providing training and support materials for Music Services to assist in the development of the best hubs for each area.

Recommendation 24

A new qualification should be developed for music educators, which would professionalise and acknowledge their role in and out of school…

The FMS will be included in the discussion group and would look to ensure that the views of Music Services are fully integrated into the development of this new qualification. The FMS will undertake an audit of Music Service current workforce in order to gain a clear picture of the current employment situation.

Recommendation 27

…It is recommended that a credible and experienced management training provider be commissioned to provide a nationwide management development scheme targeted specifically at music educators.

The FMS has an effective leadership training programme (Rising with the Tide) and is keen to make sure that our role in supporting leadership development within the sector is recognised and further developed.

Recommendation 28

All music teachers should be encouraged to register on a national database, which allows them to use a kite mark. This would provide parents with a base-level of quality assurance.

FMS is happy to work with Government to advise on the best way of moving this forward. We would want to ensure that the resulting system was valuable and linked to a genuine assessment of quality assurance.

Recommendation 33

As part of the National Music Plan, further work should be undertaken to develop a national plan for the use of technology in the delivery of Music Education – and to ensure that the workforce is up-to-date with latest developments…

The FMS is keen to work with the Government and other partners to explore how technology can best be used in the delivery of music education. We will be contacting Music Services across the country to identify any Members who have specific expertise in this field and we can make sure that their knowledge and experience is utilised within the development of the national technology plan.

Review 34

The Music Education world is fragmented and uncoordinated. There are too many organisations that have overlapping areas of interest. These organisations need to join together to create one single body.

The FMS notes the Government’s concern about the range of music education voices and the potential for a lack of clarity. The FMS will continue to talk and work with other organisations to explore ways in which fragmentation in the music world can be lessened and co-ordination improved. We are keen to work with national partners to move music education developments forward and access the specialist skills and perspectives each one brings to benefit children’s music education. The FMS is working with partners on a practical and strategic level in our training, project work and organisational development and will continue to build relationships with partners based on mutual respect and trust.

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