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UK government to withdraw funding from post-16 music education

today02/02/2024 2

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The UK government has announced plans to withdraw funding from post-16 music education amidst moves to defund the current suite of vocational Level 3 qualifications for music.

The decision has been called “damaging” by UK Music’s Director of Education and Skills, Dr Oliver Morris, who urges the government to back down on plans to defund the educational sector by 2026.

“Young people and educational professionals are facing an awful time ahead with the issues around the defunding of current vocational music qualifications over the next two years,” he said.

Read this next: Why electronic music lessons should be taught in secondary schools

According to UK Music, around 30,000 young people will be left “without options” of a career path in music following current plans, which will affect 16 to 19-year-olds studying Level 3 qualifications.

These qualifications are in place to develop skills in both the production and performance of music and create pathways into music careers. Plans to defund the educational branch have been met with backlash from education and industry leaders.

“Pausing the defunding would allow for new AAQs to be trialled and embedded properly and for an easy transition to take place without losing or damaging whole cohorts of students,” says Dr Morris.

Read this next: Secondary school pupils in Nottingham to be offered DJ and music tech workshops

UK Music’s Chief Executive Tom Kiehl is now urging the UK government to halt these plans. In a letter to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, Kiehl warns that defunding this sector will have “serious consequences”.

It would affect “learners, educators, the talent pipeline, and ultimately the music industry”, Kiehl writes, which contributes “£6.7 billion (GVA) to the economy, generates £4 billion in exports, and employs 210,000 people”.

The letter proposes a meeting with the Education Secretary to demonstrate the “impact” of this decision, and calls for an “immediate pause in the defunding of all music qualifications”.

Read the full letter here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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