Minister Nick Gibb wants all primary school children to be able to read music

FOR: Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP is the Government's schools minister
FOR: Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP is the Government's schools minister

Bognor Regis and Littlehampton’s MP Nick Gibb wants all children to leave primary school with the ability to read music.

Writing in The Times, the school standards minister, said he was concerned too few pupils are benefiting from a ‘sufficiently rigorous approach’ to the national curriculum for music.

He has asked a panel of musicians and educationalists to draw up a new model to help schools ensure children can enjoy a high quality music education.

He said: “I want every child to leave primary school able to read music, understanding sharps and flats, to have an understanding of the history of music, as well as having had the opportunity to sing and to play a musical instrument.”

His comments come as a £1.33m funding boost is given to the Department for Education’s music education hubs, which helped hundreds of thousands of young people learn to play an instrument in whole classes in 2016/17.

As well as ensuring all pupils can benefit from knowledge rich and diverse lessons, the DfE hopes that the new curriculum will make it for easier for teachers to plan lessons and help to reduce workload.

Mr Gibb said: “Having the opportunity to study and explore music isn’t a privilege, it’s a vital part of a broad and balanced curriculum – and that’s why I’m determined that all pupils should have access to a world class music education.

“All pupils at least up to the age of 14 should study music in school. We want to make sure their lessons are of the very highest quality and pupils leave school having experienced an excellent music education so those who wish to do so can take up opportunities to pursue musical careers.

“This new model curriculum and the new money for our successful music hubs will make sure the next generation of Adeles, Nigel Kennedys and Alex Turners have all the support they need in school.”

Veronica Wadley, former chair of the Arts Council - London, will chair the panel putting together the new curriculum. She said: “I am looking forward to working with the expert group on publishing a rigorous, knowledge based music curriculum that schools can use to help them provide a rich and sustained music education for all their pupils.

“I am also delighted that there is additional funding announced today to support music education hubs.”

In 2012 the Government set up a network of 120 music education hubs to support the teaching of music both in and out of school.

This new is funding on top of £300million allocated to the programme between 2016 and 2020 which has reached 89 per cent of schools and saw more than 700,000 pupils learning instruments together with their classmates in 2016/17.