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Wales’ music education review – in short

Here’s a very short summary of the recommendations of the Review of Music Education for 3-19 year olds, and the Welsh Assembly Government’s response. For the full documents see the Written statement – review of music education for 3-19 year olds.

Although the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has accepted the vision contained in the report, there’s currently no statement about funding (although decision-making for the long-term will be affected by the result of a Front Line Resources Review and a Structure of Education Task and Finish Group) – and certainly no mention of ring-fencing of music education funding. The big national music education initiative in Wales – CânSing – which the review mentions specifically, has been guaranteed funding only until the end of the school year 2011.

There’s also no plan to show how to put in practice the vision – particularly that ‘every child and young person who wishes to do so should have an entitlement to receive group vocal or instrumental tuition from a specialist teacher and access a range of performing and composing opportunities’. As Emryr Wynne Jenkins, who led the review, says in a TES article: “The key issue for us now is ensuring something happens as a result of this report …It’s encouraging that the minister has accepted most of the recommendations, but it won’t mean anything unless action is taken.”

1. Everyone involved in music education should adopt and implement the vision for music education in the report.
WAG has accepted the vision.

2. WAG should establish a national music education forum.
Being considered.

3. WAG should ask the National Grid for Learning Cymru to create and manage a website for everyone involved in music education.
Accepted in principle but probably as part of WAG website and/or the arts education part of Arts Council Wales youth arts strategy

4. WAG should increase music education in primary Initial Teacher Training, induction and early professional development.
Being considered as part of wider teacher training developments

5. WAG should support the development of Professional Learning Communities and CPD for music education.
Accepted – as PLCs are already developing and will provide a tool for responding to the review’s recommendations

6. WAG should support local authorities in working together to rationalise the number of music services.
Accepted – there are already some local authorities developing a consortium approach to providing advice/services to schools.

7. WAG should work with National Youth Arts Wwales to maximise the ensembles’ international activity/profile.
Accepted – will be done through Wales Arts International promotional website, and Arts Council Wales youth arts strategy

8. WAG and key partners should work together to support the pyramid principle and National Youth Arts Wales ensembles.
Accepted – likely that every company that Arts Council Wales funds will provide arts for young people as a standard activity. (Pyramid principle – school and county groups feeding into National Youth Arts groups).

9. WAG should establish a national bursary for more able and talented young musicians in Wales.
Will be discussed with Minister for Heritage but no plans.

10. WAG should regularly evaluate whether the vision is being implemented by assessing music education standars in schools, colleges, music services and others.
Accepted in principle – will be considered as part of the Estyn’s (Wales’ education inspectorate) reviews.

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