Saturday, 8 May 2010

How will the UK's major political parties improve music education?

With the UK currently in a hung parliament, the nation seems undecided as to which political party they favor, with the possibility of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats teaming up to make the majority and thus coming into government or the possibility of another election being called. However, the policies that are commonly overlooked are that of music and how music education will be made better for children, music is such an important part of life and can inspire and influence people to endless limits.
After a bit of researching I've found out what the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour are planning to do to make music better for children at school.

First up; Labour:

Labour claim that they believe music is a fundamental core need for all children and that everyone should have the right to a music education. They continue by saying that 'The establishment of the Music Manifesto in 2004 by Labour was a major step forwards in our commitment to improving this country’s music offer, bringing together people and organisations from across the diverse music sector behind a common aim of achieving access and excellence for every child'. Labour are currently half way through a 3 year, £332 million commitment to improve the opportunities that young people will receive in England. They affirm that this commitment has meant that many new opportunities that otherwise would not have been available for youngsters are now accessible.
They remind us of the Wider Opportunities programme which they say has been a huge success, the Wider Opportunities programme is a promise that every primary school student will be able to have free instrument lessons for a whole year and then be able to carry on with affordable lessons if they want to. And true, it has been a success, with a large proportion of children wishing to carry on after their 1 year trial and by 2011, a predicted 80% of schools will be signed up to the programme.
In 2007 Labour funded the national programme - Sing Up, aiming to make every primary school a 'singing school' by 2011. Currently 87% of primary schools are signed up to the agreement and thousands of teachers have been trained to be confident in singing in their lessons.
Labour ends by saying that it is important that they reach their target of getting every child learning an instrument and to "continue to promote their belief that music has the power to change lives."

Next up; The Conservatives:

The Conservative's main policy regarding music and music education is the implementation of the annual 'National Music Week' which they say will involve teachers, students, community groups, the music industry and broadcasters.

The Conservatives 'National Music Week' will be a week long festival which will focus on music in schools and by involving students in events which they hope will inspire and encourage them. The Conservatives say the festival could culminate in a televised national competition to find the finest school orchestra.

This proposal will also include visits by famous UK artists to schools, performances in schools by local music groups and Links to the BBC’s youth music competitions including Young Musician of the Year and Radio 3’s Choir of the Year.

Finally, The Liberal Democrats:

Similar to its rival parties, the Liberal Democrats also believe that music is a large and fundamental aspect of education. They say they want to free music education of targets and quotas, instead they want to encourage creativity and state that they want to 'rip up' the 600 page National Curriculum and instead have a scaled down Minimum Curiculum Enlitilement.

Why shouldn't music play a part in other lessons aswell?" The Liberal Democrats ask. They say that they will improve teacher training to make this kind of flexability possible and they also want to encourage music graduates to enter teaching.

They also hope to get much more artists and musicians visiting schools to inspire and support childrens learning, children look up to many musicians and meeting them face to face in a social enviroment would influence them massivley.

The Liberal Democrats want to help amauter performers to be able to perform in smaller and informal venues to increase their freedom and develop their skills in playing and performing. However, they claim that the current Labour licensing laws make it very difficult to stage smaller performances by increasing beaurocracy to very high levels.

The Lib Dems end by stating that they believe that access to music for students would be much better guaretenteed through their Minimum Curiculum Entitlement as apposed to the current funding from the Labour party.


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  4. I like how you focus on music and make it relevant (e.g. talk about music from the various political perspectives). Interesting blog. Keep up the interesting music-related postings. :)

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