Is This About to Happen in Your Child’s School?

school cuts

 

Look at all those instruments. What a fantastic lot of resources. Steelpans, trombones, keyboards, clarinets, cymbals –  Imagine the amazing experiences that the kids will create with all that available to them.

It’s almost the end of term. Teachers across the land are moving things around, changing rooms, cramming stuff into boxes if they’re lucky enough to be getting a re-paint on the budget this summer. Maybe that’s why all these instruments are in an Art and Design area in a senior school in Kent?

But it’s not the reason why.

The actual reason is that there will be no more music at this school next year. It’s gone. Music has left the building.

So has Design and Technology.

It’s not some distant threat that the left wing liberals are banding about to scare you. Subjects are being axed now. Cuts are deep. We are obsessed with academic performance that you can measure with a number. An IQ, an NVR (non-verbal reasoning), a VR (verbal reasoning), a SS (standardised score), a RA (reading age) – all to be plotted against a CA (chronological age) – this way we can predict what grades your child will get. It’s a science. There is a line on a graph. Your child will fit this line and we can measure how effective we are by that line. No surprises.  A lot of targets though.  Hell, there’s a lot of targets.

And we can’t really measure the value of singing, or composing a piece about a rainstorm, or playing the Kettle Drum in assembly. It’s not going to help us to prove effective teaching and learning and Value Added so easily. It’s actually a bit like time wasting when we could be cracking on with the proper, measurable stuff.

Just like Design Tech.  Another waste.  Doesn’t matter that there are some kids who absolutely thrive in the music room, or behind a band saw – kids who realise their worth, who finally feel capable and skilled. Kids who stand taller, who get an hour to be the one with the praise. But it’s hard to measure the ‘Value Added’ score of creating the perfect salad tongs at 14 – even if they are better than the beautiful pen holder they made in Year 7.

So when cuts are made, we can’t cut the super important stuff. The quantifiable, measureable, stat-creating-easily-testable stuff. Then the government would not be able to say how effective its policies had been.

“Record amounts of funding are going into education” says Prime Minister Theresa May to an audience of believers  who presumably are so wealthy that they do not have a single relative or acquaintance connected to UK State Education.

So we had better have some darn good stats to show how those lucky kids are benefiting from all this investment in their futures.

The kids are not going to mind trimming off all the joys. Losing Music and DT, and whatever brilliant subjects are next for the axe.

No, not at all.

 

 

 

CLICK HERE FOR AN ARTICLE ON ‘A’ GRADES, AND THE DANGERS OF THEM BEING ‘THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE CURRENCY’

36 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Williams says:

    The story in lots of music departments since 2010

    First they cut our budgets so we could not afford to repair or replace broken instruments, the department gradually got shabbier, less working equipment and a less attractive place to learn.

    Then they came for Music A Level, cutting it from the syllabus as only five people took the subject. The music department then loses any serious music students at Year 11 who could be in school playing music and encouraging younger students to start learning or to practice more. They either go elsewhere to study A Level music (only a handful of schools in the whole county now offer it) or just give up the subject altogether.

    Then they came for the instrumental lessons, putting the prices of the lessons up so it was cheaper to get them out of school (if you could afford it) and cutting back on the administration of lessons so that absences weren’t chased up , new students were not recruited, no communication with visiting music teachers

    And then as music students dried up as a result of all of the above they started cutting music GCSE.

  2. Kim says:

    My daughter goes to a state funded Steiner school.of which music is a core subject. Their problem is not having enough money to buy the instruments they need.

  3. Margaret Muggleton says:

    Absolutely SHOCKING. What on earth is the matter with our country? How small minded, short sighted, and downright ignorant!

  4. Shirley Jaffe says:

    I was lucky, having private piano lessons , being taken to Saturday morning “Ernest Read” concerts, as an eleven year old, and then having class music (mainly singing) and piano lessons (I played with the second orchestra – really badly but we all tried hard) through secondary school. Ask me to play now and I just recall tiny bits – but I have listened to classical music all my lifr, attended concedrts even when I could little afford it so helped to keep orchestras and quartets going. More music has stayed with me into my old age than any other part of the curriculum. I am appalled that it should be cut.

  5. Dave Barratt says:

    One of my biggest regrets was moving schools aged 12 to a school with no school band and no music provision. This rankled me for 50 years until appearing in the stage play “Brassed Off” with a live band on stage. I got such a buzz from that experience I took the solution into my own hands, bought an instrument and lessons and relived the joys of making music again. I was blooming good on the trombone at 12 but have no idea what my real potential was as it was whisked away. So many of today’s pupils will never know what they are missing because they never had it in the first place. Sad.

  6. Mrs Yvonne Spencer says:

    I am appalled at this news – what small minded individual has thought this one up. It will have a detrimental effect in many areas. Not all children can be ‘academic’. Others have enormous talents that can be demonstrated in many ways, particularly music, singing (a joy), being part of a choir, playing an instrument, performing in an orchestra and importantly the social interraction. My children in particular have benefitted. They have sung in a church choir that travels abroad, marvellous experiences. I could go on!
    Stop music in schools at your peril!

  7. Ian Driver says:

    Increasingly this is the state of music education, and of the creative arts more widely. Not a week goes by without a music teacher talking to me about cuts at their school. This is a result of the 1950s style Ebac, and the impossible financial state of our schools. It doesn’t matter that this was the industry that prospered throughout the recession. It doesn’t matter that a large percentage of young people’s skills are in this area. The benefits to every individual and community appear irrelevant too. Perhaps it suits the government not to foster the creativity of the young? What you see is what the country voted for. The fight is on, but it’s desperate. http://www.baccforthefuture.com/ is a good place for you to join the fight.

  8. Griselda Mussett says:

    This makes me very angry. It is stealing a vital thing away from children – music is the food of the soul. It promotes intelligence, teamwork, mathematics, relaxation, humour, so much…. It’s one of the great creative fountains of our country since the last war and depends on a background of early teaching….. And, all these instruments were paid for (by us). Their second-hand value (if anyone bothers to try to actually sell them) will not match a quarter or a tenth of their cost. What has our country come to? This is a kind of warfare… cut after cut, slowly enough so that people don’t notice or care enough to do anything about it. Thank you for sharing this. I am so sad, so angry.

  9. Chris Rees says:

    Is it possible to state which school you are referring to?

    1. It’s a secondary in Kent. But I promised my fellow teacher friend that I would not name the school.

  10. Andrew Tickner says:

    Music, Design & Technology, Drama and Art are all subjects that are key to a students’ development! These are the subjects that help develop imagination and emotion, they give students the opportunity to express themselves in ways that the ‘traditional’ subjects don’t, they give the students a social interaction that is not there in other parts of their lives and experience thoughts and emotions that they would not necessarily encounter at that age.

    I’m not saying that these should be compulsory GCSE subjects, however definitely should be prior to their GCSE years. For a school, a council or a Government (for that matter) to remove these subjects from a school’s curriculum is socially and morally irresponsible.

    For most people I know, music is a major influence on their life and has played a large part on who they have become. Many of them can not/do not play an instrument, nor sing; however, when you ask them when a song was released or when a band (or artist) was around, they almost always think of what they were doing at the time, who they were with and the memories they have of that period in their life.

    My daughters surround themselves with art, the eldest and youngest almost always have paper and pencil with them where ever they go and, in the same way as music, are their memories and history of how their art and they themselves have grown.

    I appreciate that there are many who will see this as a romanticised view of things; however, I do strongly believe that all of ‘the arts’ subject are essential for the growth and development of a student to become and balanced and productive member of society.

  11. Julie Shaw says:

    This is extremely sad. Not all children are great at Literacy and Maths. Some children thrive on singing and music or DT. They find it’s something they both enjoy and are good at. This raises confidence and self-esteem. What do we do for those children now? It’s scandalous.

  12. TinaC says:

    The relationship between maths and music, physics and music is totally ignored. There are so many ‘academic’ areas that music supports and enhances are legion. Youngsters are no longer being educated but trained to jump through hoops to demonstrate the school is fit to be funded.

  13. Jan says:

    How much are the creative industries worth to our economy? Billions. So the governments bright idea is to cut them out of the curriculum. Well done Gove and May you utter pair of academic morons.

    1. Jenny Edge says:

      Absolutely agree with Jan..in a nutshell.. creative arts so valuable yet so undervalued.

  14. Darryl Lane says:

    Started in my early years I heard a brass band playing right outside my house I’ve been a brass bander for 50years now.when we’re out playing in the parks or elsewhere I hear that famous comment oh I really love to hear a brass band then we get on to why we are playing you try to explain it’s only a hobby but we need to raise funds to buy me a new tuba how much is it approximately £8000 holding out the bucket hoping but no it’s still empty what I’m really trying to say when it’s gone it’s gone people want to listen but don’t want to pay for it soon the queen will have a coach with loudspeakers on it !!!!!😤

  15. Brian Frith says:

    We sing Land of hope and glory at the Albert hall in London but that’s as far as it goes time to wake up in Westminster the amount of pleasure and confidence I get from music and singing with 4 choirs is amazing .we live our lives working for a better future for our children and some idiot comes along and puts the red pen through it

    It’s wake up time

  16. David says:

    My kid’s school has a very strong music department and ALL children are encouraged to play at least one instrument. As luck would have it the best musicians in the school also seem to be the highest achievers academically. It must just be a coincidence., it can’t possibly have anything to do with music and learning to play improving brain function.

  17. Simon Keates says:

    I was a music teacher with the Isle of Wight Music Service which was completely axed in 2015 by the council due to government austerity cuts rendering my wife and I redundant and 124 of my peripatetic pupils without a teacher. I had to move away from an area I loved to live in to start work in another location with a zero hours agency contract with no possibility of getting another house. No expenses (which are high) no travel time (which is an essential part of the job) and only pay for 30 weeks of the year. It’s not only the children who are missing out as you can see. Music tuition is fast becoming an elitist subject so many potentially fantastic musicians will now never know if they have the ability to be professional or to just take part in one of the most relaxing and rewarding of past times… performing with other people. The UK used to be one of the greatest music countries in the world. Now it’s just statistics and other useless rubbish like year 6 SATS which is of no use to the children what so ever.

    1. Chris Alchin says:

      Sorry to hear that, Simon. Did you consider staying on the Island and teaching the 124 students privately?

  18. Liz Lewis says:

    In 1962 I went to an amazing state comprehensive school in South Wales where you could learn to play any instrument you wanted to, or more than one.. we had a school orchestra, several choirs, we had a drama department and several art rooms. I thought this was normal, until I moved to England and found that this was not the case everywhere.
    My old school is about to close, the art and music departments finished many years ago.. now only parents with money can afford to give their children music lessons.
    What the hell happened?

  19. adrian says:

    What these philistines do not realise is that music is based on maths… and those good at music are regularly good at numbers as well as being team players through co-operation in bands and orchestras. ‘ Life skills’ is not just about boasting, conning and screwing the next deal ,Mr Gove. Those only interested in ‘NUMBER ONE’ will find there is no-one wanting to be in their backing group.

  20. John Fairhurst says:

    This is just discussting , I’m seventy years of age. When I was a young kid in Huyton all those years ago I never gave a thought to education, I was just at school. St Colomumbas in Huyton, not a worry in the world, I didn’t get any qualifications at all but do you what I went to run a very successful company. Nowadays there is too much empasis placed on so called educational achievement of children as opposed to to letting children be who they will be. Please take a step back and look at what this government is doing to our teachers, it’s just not right . Let children be who they will be. For gods sake .

  21. Rodger Caseby says:

    A tragedy for so many children who will lose the opportunity to develop thei aptitudes in these areas – abilities that will now go unrecognised. Will become a tragedy to the UK economy to which arts and design contribute billions each year. Figures here: https://casebyscasebook.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/creative-arts-their-place-in-the-whole-school-curriculum/

  22. Kevin O'Connell says:

    Saddened beyond measure by this. It must be a great consolation to the citizens of Kent that they have Grammar Schools . After all, wage slaves only need debt, alcohol, drugs and an economically efficient early death. Otherwise, they may dream of better things, and then where would we be ? No, no, much better this way. Keep the poor ignorant, it will be a kindness to them in the long run. Music belongs to the elite, not to the sons of toil.

  23. How dull life would without music Music is about coming together sharing arrousing emotions learning to play an Instrument means discipline dedication discovery pleasure self confidence things that will carry through life..
    Design and technology vital to life learning through making problem solving experimentation how will businesses develop in our society if nobody can design or manufacture goods. is the only future for our children to work in soul destroying occupations

  24. Roy Tonkin says:

    Gove ‘s stupid Legacy…….

  25. Sarah says:

    Which school is this? I work at another Kent state school and thankfully have a head who is very supportive of Music and the Arts so encourages many ‘extra’ things to go on in these areas.
    It is such a shame that the children in this school are losing out on so much.
    If those resources are all going to waste though I would happily make use of them in my department!

  26. Dave says:

    Parents should be giving a right bollocking to whoever’s governing this poor excuse of a school.

  27. John Stryge says:

    Errr.. wasn’t it New Labour that chanted the mantra “Education, Education, Education” and started all these league tables and testing?

  28. Karen Vosmer says:

    I know about this view that these are deemed ‘soft subjects’ and not needed. I am an ex DT teacher and a few weeks ago had the opportubity to visit a design gallery in San Francisco. There before us was the future of 3d printed human body parts, cars of the future, bicycles, planes constructed from new materials, media, other driving options, architectural city designs, surfaces created from bacteria, 3d printed woven fabric, sustainable design solutions from city living, cooking in the desert, etc etc. How will we design and construct our own future in Britain when we will no longer teach the next generation. We are in the process of isolating ourselves as an island already, and so in the future our designs, arts, music, cultural influences will come from where????? The world we live in is constructed by all these factors. Governments know s**t Drain all creativity and watch our talent move out.

  29. Kevin Minnott says:

    Music be the food of love! I am a teacher in South London and our school believes in the power of music, the importance of ‘learning outside the classroom’ and the wonder of The Arts. I would just like to know, what will happen to all of that equipment?

    1. I did have a message from a guy who bought up and reconditioned instruments for sale. It is WAY WAY better than them being scrapped, but I do feel uneasy about anyone profiting from this sad situation. I hope the school makes any profit. And gets it back to the kids, somehow? My son’s secondary in Sussex recently had a huge festival on the field, amazing blow up staging and sound rig. Dry ice, lighting – parents all paid £6 or bought a family ticket for £14 and bought blankets and picnics and we had a few hours of amazing entertainment hosted by the kids. It was an utter JOY. And superb management by the school. It didn’t eat into their budget, they took the risk and we all benefit. Superb.

  30. Rosalind Webb says:

    Appreciation of music and good design are the essentials of a balanced and enjoyable life. These are the things that bring joy and relaxation in an increasingly stressful world. Where will the next generation of musicians for our national orchestra’s come from? Where will the new designers get the opportunity to learn new skills? It is obvious that music plays a big part in all our lives or there would not be so many singing and music competitions on TV so lets Gareth Malone and other inspirational musicians involved in a campaign to challenge government thinking on the importance of music to all our lives .

  31. Mia Pye says:

    So lucky to work as a DHT with a Headteacher at @ElthorneHighSchool who genuinely values music, drama and DT. We have invested in more music & drama staff this year and we’re having a refurb to our Food tech room. Sadly, this is, I know not the case in many schools across the country. Huge waste, massive mistake and setting up real problems I fear for the well being and general all round potential of so many of our young people.

  32. Kevin McDade says:

    Simple solution. Vote Labour.

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