Breakthrough: UK schools are ordered to teach one weekly hour of music

Breakthrough: UK schools are ordered to teach one weekly hour of music


norman lebrecht

June 26, 2022

A new National Plan for Music Education will provide £25 million to buy instruments for schools in England and £79 million a year for a Music Hubs programme to improve teaching.

The UK Department of Education has issued a grudging and ungrammatical acknowledgement: ‘Music has been shown to not only support children to develop their creativity, but also their cognitive development’. (Maybe they should spend a bit more on teaching English.)

Crucially: ‘Every school will be expected to have a designated music lead or head of department. The plan also sets out the ambition for every pupil to have at least one hour a week of high-quality music education in key stages 1-3. It will also provide teachers and young people guidance on how to progress a career in music.’

And this: ‘We have estimated that £25 million will enable children to have access to approximately 200,000 new instruments.’

This amounts to an outstanding backroom achievement by the Tory peer Baroness Fleet, who has been pushing for targeted improvements in music teaching for almost a decade.

More here.


  • Mark Pemberton says:

    Quick correction. It’s schools in England.

    • Gavin Ramsay says:

      indeed … swap UK to England through out the text. there isnt a UK dept of education…. and never has been!

      • Maria says:

        But this won’t happen in the Scottish and NI as their education systems are very different to the UK, and and autonomous.

  • Simon Scott says:

    Great news! We only hope that these kids are taught proper music i.e. classical music, not rock, rap etc.

    • Joanne Green says:

      Really? ‘Proper’ music is classical music? As long as people are enjoying, creating and communicating, any type of music is fine in my book. PS. I’m a professional classical musician.

      • Helen says:

        Relativistic nonsense. Since when have people needed lessons in rap?

        • guest says:

          Simon and Helen – just as a matter of interest, have you ever tried to perform a rap song? In public? Indeed, have you ever listened properly to any of the top rap performers? Can you name any of them? Could you write an essay on the origins and varieties of hiphop/rap? What is the reason that so many people who profess to like classical music (?all classical music without exceptions?) can’t acknowledge that other musical genres are equally valid as music? Is it mere prejudice, or some sort of psychological insecurity? Answers on one side of the paper only.

      • Brettermeier says:

        That’s the problem with people like Simon Scott, who never enjoyed proper education.

        • Simon Scott says:

          Mr. Brettermeier, please explain yourself.
          Proper education? Does the fact that I know junk when I hear it mean that I am uneducated?

          • guest says:

            Simon Scott asks “Does the fact that I know junk when I hear it mean that I am uneducated?” If ‘rock, rap, etc.’ is all junk to you, then yes, you still have a lot to learn.

          • Simon Scott says:

            It bloody well is junk. Just look at the people who listen to it. These ‘genres’ are nothing but obscene noises.
            The great composers are more than enough for me.

          • Mike says:

            ‘Just look at the people who listen to it ‘. Please explain yourself…

          • Simon Scott says:

            I think my statement speaks for itself.
            It can be summed up in one word: morons.

          • Piano Lover says:

            If you can hear junk means YOU ARE musically educated.
            Loving to hear junk means you are NOT musically educated.
            Easy ain’t it?

      • Simon Scott says:

        Of course proper music is classical music. Also electric musical instruments should also be banned.
        What would I give to be a dictator?

      • Logic says:

        Is there any need to teach them rock or rap?
        Just asking.

        • Cecily says:

          Teaching real music, folks, requires that the authorities employ Staff who are actually properly trained in music as part of their teaching degree.. But that is exactly what they don’t do (–yes, you’ve guessed why!) So, as an alternative, they spin the yarn to our schools here that “anyone can teach music” Hence the situation ensues that such musically ignorant Staff teach their version of music as mentioned by some others above. This is a great injustice to our children.

      • Piano Lover says:

        What is the point of “teaching” (c)rap or Hip hop??
        That is not music to begin with.
        End of story!

    • Una says:

      They’re getting rock and pop already, but with no instinctive sense of rhythm, and can get an English GCSE in music without even being able to read the language of music. Other exam boards exist in other parts of the UK so can only vouch for the English education system and the teaching of music. The whole system is flawed, including grade exams.

    • guest says:

      I’m fine with anybody who chooses to limit themselves to classical music, or even only to the ‘great composers’ (whoever they are). If they believe other musical genres aren’t ‘proper’, or are ‘junk’ or ‘obscene noises’, that is an opinion they are entitled to have (though based on profound ignorance). Just don’t let them have anything to do with musical education.

  • SCorn says:

    Mid1960s Newcastle upon Tyne comprehensive, 40 strong brass band, 60 strong orchestra, several recorder groups, a choir about 100 strong . Mandatory music lessons up to 18.
    Several members of the Brass Band joined the RAF as musicians.

    Now a days? Gone with the swimming pool!

  • Mimi T says:

    Writing a plan is one thing. Finding the specialist staff to deliver it, quite another.

  • Fred Funk says:

    The average viola playing student has a 35 minute attention span. Good luck.

  • Dave says:

    £25m will buy 200,000 new instruments? That’s £125 each. I’m not sure you could even get a Lark trumpet for that nowadays.

  • Maria says:

    Music has been shown to not only support … another unnecessary ungrammatical split infinitive that American English uses all the time, so we have now inherited that in British English as well as twenee and gonna being said everywhere here for twenty and going to! Better “Music has been shown not only to support…

  • Piano Lover says:

    Good idea but a bit too late.
    Music has been set off from school education so long ago that it will be difficult to resume it.
    It has been decaying “so far away”.

  • Nadine says:

    And about time too!

  • Sheila Novitz says:

    The grammar is on a par with that of Australia’s National Broadcaster. It seems our ABC employs ‘reporters’ who have not ever attended an
    English class. Apart from this, it is a joy to know (or think I know) that music will now be taught to young schoolchildren in England. About time too.