The benefit of music education for children is well documented and long accepted. However it appears that the government is pursuing some desperate measures in these desperate, cash-poor times, including the Department for Education’s “Savings To The Education Services Grant” consultation (available here as a PDF or Word document) in which they recommend that local authorities stop funding music services, saying that there are other sources of funding available. In short, is the future of music education under threat in our schools?Genuine music tree

It appears so, and the specific clause attracting concern states that music services should now be funded through Music Education Hubs (MEH), rather than local authorities. However MEHs are already having their funding reduced by 30% in 2014/15, meaning they have little room for new investment. You can see a summary of MEH concerns at http://www.musiceducationuk.com.

Here at Genuine, we believe that music has a unique and important role to play in education and urge people to respond to this consultation. Hopefully the more people replying, the greater the chance we have to make the government change its mind.

You can respond using the Department for Education’s response form (which is rather long-winded) or by letter, for which ProtectMusic Education.org have provided a response template that you can cut and paste from the bottom of this article. This should make responding quick and easy, however please be sure to personalise your response as far as possible and make sure you reply by Thursday 19 June 2014.

Respond by post to: Emily Barbour, Funding Policy Unit, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT or by email to: esg.CONSULTATION@education.gsi.gov.uk

If in any doubt about the importance of this, take look at an article in last week’s The Telegraph, entitled “Our Music Education is being killed by cuts and cock-ups

Thanks to Incorporated Society of Musicians

TEMPLATE FOR CONSULTATION RESPONSE

To: Emily Barbour, Funding Policy Unit, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT or esg.CONSULTATION@education.gsi.gov.uk
Dear Ms Barbour,
I am responding to the Department for Education’s (DfE) consultation titled Savings to the Education Services Grant 2015-16 recommending that local authorities stop funding music services.The consultation includes the expectation that local authorities stop funding music services.I am asking for the Department for Education (DfE) to withdraw this expectation and instead recommend that local authorities continue to fund their music services. My answers address questions 4 a, b and c.
Consultation Question 4a Are there any reasons why local authority expenditure on central support services could not be significantly reduced, if not stopped altogether? Please give details below.
Yes. The National Plan for Music Education sets out a vision for music education in England which depends on the combination of financial support of the Department for Education, schools and parents, and local authorities.In the foreword to the National Plan for Music Education, this complex funding structure was recognised as was the interdependence between the different elements of the music education sector.The Department for Education is committed to access, saying ‘it is important that music education of high quality is available to as many [children] as possible: it must not become the preserve of those children whose families can afford to pay for music tuition. While music touches the lives of all young people, the disadvantaged can benefit most.’The economic value of music education was also recognised when the National Plan stated that ‘we would not have scaled the heights of artistic greatness in the first place without our pre-eminence in music education.’The key to ensuring the quality and sustainability of musical opportunities for children is to ensure the continuation of national, local, school and parental funding for music education hubs.This funding is critical in opening up opportunities for significant numbers of children to access music education.
1. Funding

National funding for music education hubs is reducing from a high of £82.5 million in 2010-11 to just £58 million in 2014-15. If local authority funding is also lost, access to musical tuition and a good music education will become the preserve of a few. Further, the successful delivery of the National Plan for Music Education will be jeopardised.

  • Hubs received £14,344,043 from local authorities in 2012-13 despite pressure on local authority budgets (Source: Key data on Music education hubs 2013). In 2011-12 this figure was £21,288,142 (R Hallam Source). The amount contributed by schools and parents has also declined. Further, much of the funding described as coming from schools, actually comes from parents. Continuation following First Access opportunities have already dropped significantly. The removal of this funding would impact on disadvantaged children the most.

2. The importance of music

  • Music makes a dramatic difference to children, academically, intellectually, socially and emotionally. Professor Sue Hallam of the Institute of Education wrote The Power of Music, which summarises the evidence in support of music.
  • The creative industries are worth £36.3 billion a year to the UK and the music industry is worth between £3.5 billion and £3.8 billion depending on which measure you use. [Research by UK Music and PRS for Music.]
  • In a recent poll, of those expressing an opinion, 85% of British adults back Michael Gove’s statement, taken from the foreword of the National Plan for Music, that ‘music education must not become the preserve of those children whose families can afford to pay for music tuition.’
  • More than 100 organisations from across the music industry are already backing the Protect Music Education campaign and have expressed concern at the recommendation from the Department for Education that local authorities cut their support for music services.
Consultation Question 4b If you do not think this could be stopped altogether, how much of a saving could local authorities make to these services? If cost pressures on central support services have changed recently, please describe below.
Some music services have already suffered from a reduction in local authority funding with devastating results. Further reduction in spending on music services by those Local Authorities that still fund their music service will have a direct and disproportionate impact on the delivery of the National Plan for Music Education. This response is specifically concerned with music service funding. In many cases it is the most successful, flagship music services that will be hit worst if this expectation remains.It should also be noted that there are 123 music education hubs, and yet this consultation is based on a survey of just 18 local authorities, which is a tiny proportion of music services. A further snapshot survey of 55 music education hubs suggested a majority of music services and music education hubs received some sort of support from their local authority.
Consultation Question 4c Is further clarification or guidance from the Department needed in order to have a clear set of expectations? If so, why?
Yes. The Department should undo the damage caused by the language in this consultation by issuing a statement in support of local authorities funding music education hubs and/or music services.

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