The former education secretary under the Labour government hit out at the National Plan for Music Education, which was published in November, and criticised the lack of places for music students at higher education institutions.
He even called on high profile musicians to speak out against the proposals.
When it was published last year, the government’s music education plan pledged to give every child in England the opportunity to learn a musical instrument through the creation of new ‘hubs’ across the country.
The Department for Education (DfE) said that funding for music education would be £111.6 million in 2011-12.
However, the plan was met with scepticism by many musicians and teachers as the funding is actually a cut of £16 million, or 12.5 per cent in the past year.
This means that there will also be fewer government-funded places for postgraduate certificate of education (PGCE) courses in music, Mr Blunkett recently highlighted.
He cited figures which show that in 2010-11, there were 555 government-funded courses in music teaching but in 2011-12 there are just 315.
“To claim more, while offering less, is dishonest and the kind of politics which reinforces cynicism amongst the public,” Mr Blunkett said.
“Government cuts, coupled with the near demolition of the role of local government in music education, is reversing both the progress made and the equality of treatment which has been achieved.”
He claimed the cutbacks would “undermine the life chances of youngsters, not merely in accessing the wonderful creative opportunity and use of talent but also the spin-off effect of music teaching of attainment in other key subject areas”.
In defence of the proposals, a spokesman from the DfE told the Huffington Post that funding has been withdrawn for one-off projects, while long-term external funding has been allocated to schemes such as Sing Up.
He added that the figures do not “tell the full story” and called the existing system “complex and totally inefficient”.
What is your view on the National Plan for Music Education? Will it improve or worsen music education in the UK?
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