The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has today written to Nick Gibb MP, the Minister for School Standards, to express serious concern at leaked government plans to suspend ‘non-core’ subjects from the curriculum and drop some GCSEs, to make time for catch-up in subjects such as English and Maths.

The ISM has advised the government that should music be suspended it risks further marginalising a subject that has already been squeezed from schools and is hampered by a considerable shortfall in long-term funding.

The dropping of music education would run contrary to the obligation to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, and music must be central to any recovery curriculum and the education of children soon to enter the fast-moving and creative economy of the 21st century.

Today’s letter follows on from a letter sent last week by the ISM to the Department for Education asking for clarity on whether new guidance on in-house working produced by The Department for Culture, Media and Sport also applies to private music teachers working from home or the homes of others.

ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said:

‘We hope this leaked guidance is not final, but it is still very worrying. Not only is the music industry struggling under the weight of COVID-19 but the education of many children now faces further disruption. 

If we continue down this path, not only do we risk depriving children of a rich experience and the opportunity to pursue a career in music, but many music teachers may be unable to continue in the profession they love.

‘The government must consult with subject associations and reconsider any plans it may have to suspend music education, and it must take steps to protect its future within our schools. Music education is vital to the talent pipeline and plays a crucial role in tackling mental health problems among children – it must be central to any recovery curriculum and not an afterthought to it.