Ofsted: Music is failing in 2 out of 3 UK schools

Ofsted: Music is failing in 2 out of 3 UK schools


norman lebrecht

March 03, 2017

From the Telegraph’s summary of an Oftsed report:

… music was not good enough in almost two-thirds of primaries and secondaries. A quarter of schools had inadequate standards of music teaching – Ofsted’s worst possible rating.

Inspectors warned that lessons were “dominated by the spoken or written word, rather than by musical sounds”, with “too much focus on talking or written exercises”.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, said: “‘Inspectors looking at music teaching in nearly 200 schools saw quality ranging from outstandingly good to extremely poor. Too often, inspectors simply did not see enough music in music lessons.

“Too much use was made of non-musical activities such as writing without any reference to musical sound…

Read on here.

The report is from 2012. Has much changed?



  • pooroperaman says:

    And yet you gleefully report (today included) every attempt to hound music teachers out of schools.

    • V.Lind says:

      You consider investigating (usually with suspension at least) people accused or suspected of abusing children to be “hounding”?

      You consider retaining possible paedophiles a reasonable price to pay for “adequate” music education?

  • cello_teacher says:

    Isn’t the article quoted from 2012?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Yes. Has much changed?

      • V.Lind says:

        Probably not for the better. How much worse it has got is precisely the question to be asking after five years.

        It IS rather misleading to present this report as if it were current. What it is, for those of us seeing the story for the first time, is an interesting finding when Ofsted surveyed the situation five (probably more like six or seven years ago now).

      • cello_teacher says:

        GCSE and A-level courses have both changed this year. Most have a very heavy weighting on performance and composition, so there is greater emphasis on music-making.

        As for the overall landscape, no it probably hasn’t improved. Combine that report with the one on music hubs overseen by ACE and yes it does seem bleak. But it may have been worth stating in your post it’s based on 5 and 6 year old observations.

        • CDH says:

          He probably missed the dateline when he picked that story up somewhere. We know he has a tendency to misread articles he clearly skims quickly. It’s getting well known around the industry that this is a careless site.

          • Marg says:

            NL clearly states it is a 2012 article. Perhaps you skim read it yourself and missed that stand-out-on-its-own sentence?

          • CDH says:

            It wasn’t there on the original post. Mr. Lebrecht made the comment in his response to Cello_Teacher and wisely added it to the original blog post, correcting the impression it originally made.

            He has honorably left the complete set of posts intact, and two of us commented on the initial ambiguity.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    Still better than in the U.S., where all music instruction has been stripped from vast numbers of public schools and districts. (And all art instruction.) If something isn’t on the federally or state mandated tests, public schools usually don’t teach it.