Giving young people opportunities to participate in art, drama and music at school can be transformative for their self-confidence, mental health and life chances, which is why the Government are investing £500 million in cultural education between 2016 and 2020.
Fifty per cent. of children in independent schools receive sustained music tuition, but the proportion is only 15% in state schools. Does the Minister agree with UK Music that there is a growing crisis in music education in the state sector that will pose a threat to the talent pipeline?
It is important to have music in schools—I absolutely recognise that—and I am working closely with colleagues at the Department for Education. I have meetings with the Minister for School Standards and am pleased to be hosting a roundtable with him next week on the provision of music in schools.
The Government’s recent funding announcement on music education will barely cover the pay increase for people who teach music. Since 2011, more than 1,200 music teacher jobs have been lost. Is that not a direct result of the Government’s contemptuous attitude towards creative subjects?
Of course, the state of education that the Government inherited in 2010 was because of the previous Labour Government’s incompetence. As a consequence of Labour’s education failures, this Government focused on science, technology, engineering and maths. We now want to focus on arts subjects, including music, as well.