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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 23:45 GMT 00:45 UK
Music education 'still a lottery'
Pupils playing instruments
Provision of music education is too patchy, the report says
Music education in England is a "postcode lottery" and pockets of brilliance must be replicated on a national scale, a report says.

The report by the government-backed Music Manifesto is being launched during National Music Week for Schools.

It calls for the creation of local music education "hubs", linking schools and other groups and a national singing campaign, aimed at younger age groups.

Ministers said they would be considering the content of the report.

More than 600 groups and individuals involved in music were consulted for the report - called Making Every Child's Music Matter.

Music Manifesto head Marc Jaffrey said: "We are rightly proud of our music education system, but unfortunately the quality of music education on offer depends far too much on where you live.

"There are pockets of brilliance across the country which need to be replicated on a national scale.

"By encouraging better co-ordination and use of resources, the hubs will help eradicate this postcode lottery of provision."

Partnerships

The music education of Manchester and Salford are cited in the report as examples of brilliance.

Manchester Music Service head Sue Berry said this had been achieved through partnerships between the service and schools.

"Visit any school across Manchester, whatever its status and location, and you will find music having a profound impact, something we have worked really hard to achieve and maintain," she said.

The report calls for a focus on singing within early years and primary school-age children, with a significant singing element in the cultural programme of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Howard Goodall, a composer who counts the themes to Blackadder and Red Dwarf among his work, said: "At one time we all sang - in pubs, places of worship and homes as well as schools.

"We have lost that collective experience, which I think helped to knit our communities together.

"It is time to try and bring that back and the best place to start is in primary schools. We would love to see the development of a 21st century songbook for schools - containing songs that every child knew and sang."

'Boosting self-confidence'

Schools Minister Andrew Adonis said music can make a "unique contribution" to education by boosting pupils' self-confidence and attainment.

He said the number of primary school children learning an instrument had doubled since 2002 - but the government wanted to do more.

He said: "Last month, we announced a package of new measures to support the teaching of music in primary schools which included 2m to support the further training of specialist teachers. Over 2,000 teachers are expected to benefit from the new package."

Ministers said that they will be considering the contents of the report and the specific recommendations, and will respond in due course.




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