the discipline since its inception, but has suffered since responsibility for its implementation has been devolved to Hubs. The increase in regional Music Education Hubs

is also a good idea in principle, with some areas seeing significantly raised levels of participation. However, the quality of the offering varies hugely from region to region as a result of reduced levels of funding and the number of active volunteers in some areas. One area where Government initiatives have

had a negative impact on the music curriculum is Progress 8, an accountability benchmark introduced in 2016 to measure the effectiveness of secondary schools in England. By increasing the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subject in the curriculum, schools are under increased pressure to deliver results for those subjects, and as such, music is occasionally squeezed out of the timetable. Funding will continue to be an obstacle for

music departments. Specialist music teachers are in short supply and without them schools can often do more harm than good. However, it is important that education leaders place greater emphasis on music teaching. An emphasis on STEM over recent years, with

the exclusion of the arts, means that many parents no longer see the arts as a cultural force that deserves academic focus. Those who have worked in the education sector do not need telling that the support and cooperation of parents is hugely important for academic success. This is a short-sighted approach and one which

risks removing music and the performing arts from the state school curriculum completely. At the Loughborough Schools Foundation, we

benefit hugely from independence in our teaching and this allows us to promote music to all pupils. A result of the importance placed in music

means that we can now adjust our teaching in response to changes in the outside world. A change in interests from pupils means that we now offer music technology at A-Level. The music technology qualification has always existed, but we are seeing a significant increase in the number of pupils interested in taking the subject, and even pupils as young as year 7 are now starting to work in the recording studio. As a result of the well-publicised lack of

funding within state schools, the independent sector will continue to lead the way in terms of facilities. This places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of independent schools and it is important that we work harder to invite the community to make use of our music departments. At Loughborough Schools Foundation, we are

very clear about our ambitions to become the musical centre for the Midlands. The demand for leading facilities was showcased last year by a piano competition for excellent musicians in the region that attracted participants from as far afield as Birmingham and Cambridge. We now offer our facilities to the community

every year. Over the coming months we will host a range of competitions in brass, piano, percussion, woodwind, strings and singing for able musicians in the region. These will provide skilled performers the opportunity to perform and compete against peers and receive individual feedback from an independent adjudicator. The arts are currently at a crossroads in the UK

with shifting priorities risking the participation of a whole generation. A recent study by Arts Council England found that more than a third of students said that school is their only opportunity to engage in arts activities. This means that school leaders have a huge responsibility to support an arts-rich curriculum in spite of pressures from other departments and external bodies.

An educational focus solely on STEM subjects

will be to the detriment of the arts and culture in the UK, not to mention the wider curriculum, and it is up to schools to open up doors to the community and enable more children to pick up an instrument. Schools must ensure that children do not have to make a choice between STEM, sport and the arts; if the current generation of school-age children miss out on an education in music, we will all lose.

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