There is a wide gap in the music education delivered to state primary school pupils, a new report has revealed.
Research by the Institute of Education and commissioned by EMI Music Sound Foundation has found that while some primary schools deliver a good music education to children, others have no access to music specialist teachers or even an upright piano.
Examining 132 primary schools, the survey showed that 45 per cent of primary staff could not read music.
Professor Sue Hallam, author of the report, commented: “The best lessons are delivered by the music co-ordinators who are either very experienced musicians or very confident. However, almost four in ten of the heads we interviewed said they did not have a music specialist.”
Primary school teachers did find training helped in delivering music education, however, with 96 per cent saying that after receiving training music education was improved.
The availability of instruments was hugely varied from school to school. More than a quarter of teachers said they had no access to tuned percussion instruments and one in nine of those surveyed said they did not have use of a piano.
Much of the reason for some school’s lack of music education was put down to the need to prepare children for national tests in literacy and numeracy. Indeed, some pupils were found to only receive 20 minutes of music classes a week.
The survey comes after Darren Henley, managing director of Classic FM, published a report recommending that all primary pupils must have access to a music specialist and that teachers should be given more music teaching in their initial training course.
Commissioned by the government, the report has led to a national plan for music education, which will be published later this year.
EMI Music Sound Foundation is an independent music education charity to improve young peoples’ access to music education.
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