On Thursday 14 September I asked the government to take action and reverse the decline in young people taking qualifications in music in school.
Figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications showed there was a 7.7% drop in students in England taking GCSE music this year compared to 2016. There was a 9.4% drop in A-Level music entries in the same period.
I am concerned that the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – a performance measure for schools introduced by Michael Gove – is leading to schools narrowing their curriculum and causing them to sideline valuable creative subjects. The decline in music education is hugely damaging for the future of our creative sector – a study by UK Music showed that live music added £123 million to Bristol’s economy alone in 2015.
Following the creation of the Ebacc, the take-up of music education is going down. Given the value of the UK’s world-leading music industry to our economy—it was £123 million in Bristol alone in 2015—will the Minister please listen to the music industry, reverse the Ebacc and invest in music teaching?
I acknowledge the challenges to arts, cultural and music education, and I am looking at what can be done, through the cultural development fund, with the Arts Council to find ways of promoting increased participation. I am in active dialogue with other Departments over how we can deal with this reality that does exist.
You can watch the exchange below: