The refreshed National Plan for Music Education in England was released on 25 June 2022, setting out the government’s ambitions for music education from now until 2030.
Published jointly by the Department for Education and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the plan updates the previous iteration issued in 2011 and has been broadly welcomed by the music industry.
Here’s a few details in the plan that we were pleased to see:
Inclusion is a theme that runs throughout
The plan iterates that all children and young people should receive a high-quality music education. This is referred to many times, and it’s evident that ‘all’ really does mean ‘all’.
There are sections dedicated to musical provision for those with SEND, and directives will be put in place to ensure this is a priority. Every Music Hub will need to publish an inclusion strategy, and nominate a named individual lead with responsibility for this. Hubs will also be expected to understand and respond to the financial barriers which children and young people in their area may face which could hold them back from pursuing opportunities to learn music.
The need for adaptive instruments has been acknowledged
A particularly encouraging element of the plan from a Creative United point of view is the provision for adaptive instruments.
£25m has been earmarked for investment in musical instruments and equipment, and this does appear to include all instruments: “Adaptive instruments should be celebrated as much as other types of instrument, and teachers should be supportive of music-making, using these instruments, which may be less familiar to them. Music Hubs should support schools with identifying the best instruments for their pupils and sourcing them at an affordable cost, working with partners across the country.”
The financial provision also includes music technology, which is encouraging as digital music platforms play an increasingly important role to break down barriers to equitable access to music education.
Mary-Alice Stack, Creative United Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased that the refreshed National Plan for Music Education includes a much clearer focus and commitment to access and inclusion in music making for disabled children and those with special educational needs. This has been a big priority area for Creative United over the past 5 years, working alongside our Inclusive Music Consortium partners The OHMI Trust, Youth Music, Music for Youth, TiME and Open Up Music.
We are very pleased that the refreshed National Plan for Music Education includes a much clearer focus and commitment to access and inclusion in music making for disabled children and those with special educational needs.
Mary-Alice Stack, Chief Executive, Creative United
“Adaptive instruments should be celebrated as much as other types of instrument, and teachers should be supportive of music-making, using these instruments, which may be less familiar to them. Music Hubs should support schools with identifying the best instruments for their pupils and sourcing them at an affordable cost, working with partners across the country.”
The power of music to change lives: A National Plan For Music Education in England (2022) UK Government
“A key objective of the Consortium is to advocate for the development, production and supply of accessible musical instruments for use by disabled players of all ages. We hope that the work we have been doing in this area will be of significant value to Music Hubs across the country in the coming months, as they start to think about the development and implementation of strategies to ensure that disabled children are not unfairly and unnecessarily excluded from music making opportunities, both in and outside of school.
“Our 2020 ‘Guide to Buying Adaptive Musical Instruments’ includes details of over 80 products most of which have been specifically designed to make learning and playing musical instruments of all kinds as accessible as possible for disabled players. With many more products now coming to market, we hope to be in a position to update our 2020 guide later this year through the development of a new online directory and resource centre as a starting point for parents, schools, teachers, music hubs and musicians of all ages.”
Key goals that the National Plan has set out to achieve
1. All children and young people receive a high-quality music education in the early years and in schools;
2. All music educators work in partnership, with children and young people’s needs and interests at their heart;
3. All children and young people with musical interests and talents have the opportunity to progress, including professionally.
It’s now up to everyone to work together to help achieve these goals, in the most inclusive way possible.
If you’d like to be kept informed about our work on Inclusive Access to Music Making (IAMM) please visit https://www.creativeunited.org.uk/services/iamm or click the button below.