MPs call for arts subjects on Ebacc

Music education damaging talent pipeline, says committee

MPs have demanded that arts subjects be part of Ebacc performance measure for schools.

Image: Deborah Annetts, CEO Incorporated Society of Musicians

In a report on the live music industry, the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committe said that the current EBacc is having an impact on music education and on the ‘talent pipeline for the music industry, which generated almost £1 billion for the UK economy and employed more than 28,000 people in 2017.

It added that academies' autonomy to set their own curriculum, pressures on school finances, and devaluing the role of music teachers also reduced the quality of music education in schools.

“It is very important that the role of music in the life of schools is valued by the inspection regime – too little credit is given to teachers who support music in schools, often in their own time,” the report states.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), said: “If the EBacc is not to be abolished, despite the evidence against it, then the addition of a sixth pillar for arts subjects would go some way in ensuring all students benefit from a creative education, as the report recommends.

She called on the government to review the operation of the EBacc, which prioritises subjects like history and geography.

A Department for Education spokesperson said government was putting more money into arts education programmes than any subject other than PE – nearly half a billion pounds to fund a range of music and cultural programmes between 2016 and 2020. This money is in addition to the funding that schools receive to deliver their curriculum.

“We are currently working with music groups and practitioners to refresh the national plan for music education and develop a high-quality model music curriculum.”

The DCMS committee also called for “frictionless travel for musicians, touring personnel and their equipment” once the UK has left the EU. It supported calls for a EU-wide touring visa to enable free movement.

The report also urged members of the public not to buy or sell tickets on secondary site Viagogo.

In a report into the live music sector, the Digital, Media, Culture and Sports committee said “Viagogo had yet to prove itself a trustworthy operator given its history of resisting compliance”.


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