Category Archives: Music Teacher’s Story

A music teachers story 3 (2013)

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

A music teacher’s story 1 (2013)

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

What’s happening to Music in your school?

About 18 months ago, I issued an invitation to any music teacher to write to me and share their story of what was happening to Music in their school. I received 42 responses that you can read here.

Over the last week I have had two journalists and two teachers make enquiries about these. But given that they reflected the state of music education in our schools a while ago, I’d like to re-issue the invitation to you all. Please email me your responses to the following questions, together with anything else that you’d like to add:

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?

2. What is happening to Music at Key Stage 4 (and 5 if applicable). Again, any changes in courses (are some courses being dropped), the hours you have allocated for teaching the courses, the options system at the end of Year 8 or Year 9, etc?

3. What, if any changes, to the staffing of Music in your school during the last 18 months?

4. Anything else you’d care to comment on relating to Music and its provision in your school?

In your email, please tell me if you’d like to remain anonymous (or not). Unless told otherwise, I won’t be publishing your name and school.

Thanks – and do pass this invitation around to any other colleagues who may be interested in contributing something to this simple snapshot about the state of play in secondary school music education today.

A music teacher’s story (42)

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.

A music teacher’s story (41)

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

A music teacher’s story (40)

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.

A music teacher’s story (39)

Our school has chosen to let parents know about the EBacc, but are not pushing students into particular areas, although in the options interviews that all year 9 students have with teachers, we were advised about who potential EBacc students might be and were asked to make sure they know about it.

At the information evenings, we saw students physically steered away from music/drama tables towards languages by their parents and our options numbers this year are down to 12 for GCSE music and 7 for Rock School Access to Music. However, I wouldn’t like to say how much of this is down to EBacc and how much is due to a decline in the available resources, changes in staffing this year and other factors within the department, although it is very disappointing as only a few years ago we were attracting 30 plus at GCSE.

A music teacher’s story (38)

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!!!

A music teacher’s story (37)

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.