Music could be wiped out in secondary schools, research shows

Music in schools could become non-existent in the future because of pressure on pupils to take EBacc subjects, researchers have warned.

Researchers from Sussex University’s School of Education and Social Work surveyed music teachers at 657 state and 48 private schools and found that two thirds of state school teachers said fewer pupils were taking GCSE music.

Teachers claim this is down to The English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which was brought in 2010 for pupils achieving grades C and above in English, maths, science, languages, geography or history.

This was introduced by the government in order to determine a school’s performance.

Government figures show the amount of GCSE candidates in state-funded schools who took EBacc subjects increased from 22 per cent in 2010, to nearly 40 per cent last year.

In addition to this, the number of pupils taking at least one arts subject has decreased from 49.6 per cent in 2015 to 47.9 per cent in 2016.

The university’s research also showed that about 60 per cent of state schools mentioned EBacc as causing a negative effect on the uptake of music, whereas three per cent believe that it has benefitted the subject.

With the schools surveyed, the number of those offering GCSE music had fell from 85 per cent in 2012- 2013 to 79 per cent in 2016- 17.

The study found that for pupils aged between 13 and 14, music was compulsory in 84 per cent of schools in 2012- 2013, but this has fallen to 62 per cent by 2016- 2017.

A reduction in full tie music staff is also apparent in the report, with 39 per cent of respondents reporting that staffing levels for music departments were falling, with only 17 per cent stating that levels had increased.

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