Covid's impact on music teaching revealed by survey

Music lessons continue in some form in most parts of Scotland, but approaches vary markedly
13th October 2020, 9:30am

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Covid's impact on music teaching revealed by survey

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/covids-impact-music-teaching-revealed-survey
Covid's Impact On Music Teaching Revealed By Survey

survey of instrumental music teachers (IMTs) has revealed the impact of Covid-19 on their teaching in schools throughout Scotland.

Although most local authorities have put in place measures to continue tuition, how that works in practice varies widely across Scotland.

The EIS teaching union carried out the survey of IMTs last month, and key issues in the new report include:

  • Concern over Covid-19 risk assessments not taking account of the specific nature of instrumental music tuition, such as the need for plenty of space and well-ventilated rooms.
  • Inconsistent approaches to Covid mitigations between local authorities, within authorities and within individual schools.
  • Lack of resources and support provided for online instrumental music teaching.
  • A disproportionate impact on provision of instrumental music tuition to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • An expectation that IMTs will deliver extra online teaching outwith school hours, creating substantial extra workload.

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EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "Instrumental music teaching has been under threat in many local authorities across Scotland for several years. From the results of our survey, it is clear that Covid-19 has, and continues to, pose many challenges for IMTs across the country, particularly for those delivering teaching in voice, wind and brass, who are still waiting to hear whether they can safely return to face-to-face teaching in schools. 

"Members are concerned about the damaging impact of the pandemic on young people's access to instrumental music tuition, particularly for those currently studying for Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) qualifications. In addition, there are legitimate fears that reduction in provision, arising from the current crisis, could lead to fewer students learning music, with serious implications for the future of instrumental music service and for IMT jobs."

Mr Flanagan added: "Instrumental music is an important element of the curriculum, and one which offers a wide range of benefits for the young people in our schools and for our society as a whole.

"It is essential that the Scottish government and local authorities are made aware of the difficulties facing IMTs and the provision of instrumental music in schools, and that they take the necessary steps to ensure that the service receives the support it requires so that our young people can receive the opportunities to learn music that they deserve."

The EIS Instrumental Music Teacher survey report can be read on the union's website.

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