Its research found that music provision in state-funded schools had fallen by 21% over the past five years, compared to a rise of 7% in private schools, with one in four schools serving poorer communities not providing music instrument lessons.
According to the Department for Education, the plan will “help level up” opportunities for children from all backgrounds to take part in musical education, including the chance to learn an instrument and perform in a choir or band.
“We can only achieve this if we reflect on the latest advances in music and work together with experts in the music industry, specialist teachers, as well as reflecting on young people’s experiences,” said School Standards Minister Nick Gibb. The refreshed National Plan is due to be published in autumn 2020.
“We believe passionately in the need to level up opportunities for all our young people to make music,” said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor. He said that access to music education “is essential to the U.K.’s economic competitiveness and the future success of our world-beating music industry.”
Diane Widdison, national organiser for education and training at the Musicians’ Union, representing more than 31,000 professional musicians, called the consultation a key moment to “ensure that a whole generation of children and young people do not miss out on the opportunities to engage with music making.”
Advocates for music education see it as vital in propping up the British music industry, which contributed £5.2 billion ($6.8 billion) to the country’s economy in 2019 and employs over 190,000 people, according to figures from umbrella organisation UK Music.