Music Education in England - Cause4 review

9 February 2011 | By Cause4 staff

Yesterday the Government published Darren Henley’s Review of Music Education and along side it, its response. This, as a prequel to a National Plan for Music Education, seeks to build on the Government’s commitment that ‘every child should experience a rounded cultural education, including the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and to sing.’

In not seeking to add, though undoubtedly to some extent doing so, to the plethora of summaries that have appeared over the past few days Cause4 offers these brief thoughts:

”¢ We broadly agree with the main recommendations made by Darren Henley. However, they are, as Donald Rumsfeld so eloquently put it, ‘known knowns,’ and his review offers few new insights into the current state of music education.

”¢ We welcome some of the Government’s immediate responses. For example, the commitment to extending the ringfenced money for music education at the same level as previous years (£82.5m), the loss of which would raise ‘serious concerns about the future of music education,’ and the positive notions surrounding music hubs.

”¢ We question the extended funding of ‘In Harmony’ given that Darren Henley described it as ‘an expensive initiative.’ Although a positive programme, one must ask would that £500,000 be better spent in funding more cost effective initiatives or indeed developing In Harmony programmes that are more cost effective?

Ӣ We question the lack of significant initiatives announced by the Government and its heavy reliance on further reviews and discussions. 23 responses out of the 36 recommendations suggest further discussions are necessary, including a further review to be undertaken by Darren Henley.

Ӣ We suggest organisations tread with caution in pre-empting the outcomes of such discussions whilst urging the Government to set out realistic, cost effective and clear cut plans along the broad lines of The Henley Review.

It is Tom Service in the Guardian who describes The Henley Review as ‘realistic, positive, and bold,’ it is the Government who must now, for the sake of music education in the UK, respond in the same vein.

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