It was great to hear from Martin Said at Cramlington Learning Village yesterday. Here is his story about what is happening to Music in his school. Thanks Martin.
Don’t forget, I’d like to hear from you if you teach music in a primary or secondary school. Check out this post and please send me your story.
1. What is happening to Music at Key Stage 1, 2 or 3? Are there any changes in the number of hours for teaching Music, how it is arranged across the curriculum or integrated within other curriculum structures (e.g. on a carousel with other subjects, through topic/thematic work), etc?
Music is taught in a cross curricular project based curriculum in Years 7 & 8, combining music media and drama, the 2 ½ hours per week. Continue reading
Second off the blocks in my request for stories about music education in schools across the UK was Andrew Lindley. Andrew works in a primary school and, as with the previous story, his was a very positive response. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Andrew (and James). Here’s Andrew’s story: Continue reading
A few days ago I invited music teachers from across the UK to contact me and tell me about what was happening to the music provision in their school. This followed a similar venture last year (the results of which you can read here). If you work in a primary or secondary school, please do email me your responses to the four questions.
I’m delighted to say that the stories have become to come in. First off the blocks was James Manwaring, Director of Music for The Windsor Upper Schools. His was a very positive story: Continue reading
1. The hours that I teach music haven’t been reduced but class sizes are going up as 5 classes are reduced to 4 but not in all subjects
2. Year 9 students weren’t made to take the EBacc but were told that they wouldn’t get into university without it which obviously creamed off the top end. Next years GCSE uptake is reduced because of this.
3. Staffing hasn’t changed because I am on my own.
I am very pleased that you are doing this. Music has a reasonably high profile in my school but the senior management have talked about making it an option in year 9 and starting KS4 earlier.
The hours for teaching music are staying static for us although the school asks students to opt for GCSE in Year 9 so effectively they have lost a year of music provision for all students – (this has been the case for two years here).
Our numbers at GCSE have risen significantly, mostly due I think to a change of curriculum that is Musical Futures led. Current Year 9 are 22, next year’s option group are 45. EBacc was heavily sold by management at our school and most students have opted for subjects within this guidance.
Our staffing has reduced by 0.4 due to less KS3 teaching as Year 9 has disappeared largely, and due to significant cost cuttings on staffing across whole school due to financial problems in school
The hours in which myself and my H.O.D get to teach music has not necessarily reduced as such, unfortunately I am leaving to XXX and the school has taken the opportunity to advertise my job for a four day part-time position instead of full time. However the actual hours we teach has not reduced.
We have managed to increase our numbers for children taking music – from current year 11 – 25 pupils, current year 10 – 27 pupils and our intake for next year’s yr 10 to 32 pupils. Our school did push the EBacc hard – especially for pupils to take up a modern foriegn language but we were very persuasive to the pupils and only had 1 instance of a pupil wanting to change due to parental pressure (she has since managed to convert them to music). This has meant that we can still maintain 2 (from next year) almost full time staff members as 32 is too large a GCSE class for our facilities. That plus all KS3 classes mean that hopefully we will continue to grow within our school as a department.
Just to let you know that in the restructure of staffing at my school, my TLR has been reduced and the reason I have been given is that there is no provision in the EBacc, and that Music is losing status.
A couple of years ago I had 37 GCSE candidates; I now have 10 in Year 10 and probably the same next year. At Key Stage 3, pupils have music twice in a 2 week timetable. My colleague in the dept will take on a whole school responsibility in September which will result in a reduction of my PPA time, and a variety of non-specialists teaching music.
I somehow think we won’t have a band or a choir next year, not to mention a school production!!!
Our Key Stage 3 hasn’t changed. We will still see the classes for one hour a week.
Our Key Stage 4 on the other hand has. The school has split the year into four bands. The top 2 band of students have to do a language and a humanities. This leaves them no/or one option choice.
The lower two bands have more options but generally speaking these are not the high ability students that are able to achieve A-C in GCSE music. So, to ensure these students achieve we will be entering them for BTec instead. In the long term I worry about the able musicians missing out and not providing a GCSE option. However at least this year we have still ended up with around 30 students in next year’s Year 10, but we don’t know how this will reflect long term if this carries on.
The EBacc has definitely affected our school in terms of Key Stage 4 music – this academic year, for example, several students wanted to opt for Music but were unable to study in the normal school day due to the amount of time taken by ebacc.
They’ve subsequently either had to opt out of music completely, or take it as a Twilight subject. Feeling that we have to provide the Twilight session then impacts on our other extra-curricular provision, as we cannot use those two hours for other activities.
I have recently finished teaching in a school in XXX. The previous teacher had resigned and is not being replaced. Until recently, this school was considered to be an excellent school musically speaking.
The entitlement at KS3 is currently based on a carousel with Drama so pupils get a term and a half of music before switching. Numbers at GCSE were/are good. The current Yr 11 class had 18, the Yr 10 class 19 and approx. 20 pupils in Yr 9 had opted for GCSE before being told 3 weeks ago that it was no longer on offer. As the previous music teacher has been absent for most of the year, it is possible that withdrawing GCSE is to allow the time to be used for the current Yr 10 to ensure results aren’t affected but this seems unlikely.
Apparently there are another three schools in XXX who are withdrawing music as a GCSE option.