Special schools hit flat note

Schools for children with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties recognise the significance of music in pupils' lives. But in the absence of a national framework or curricular guidance, and with few music specialists to help deliver it, the provision of music education in such schools is patchy.

A study into music provision in 53 of the 397 schools in England catering for SLD, PMLD or multisensory impairment found that they do not have the means to provide better music education. Almost all had a designated music co-ordinator, but more than half had no background in music. Most tuition was also provided by non-specialists.

Although a third of the schools provided music therapy on site, fewer than two per cent of pupils received it. For two thirds of the schools, there was no specific budget for music; for the others, available cash was minimal. The study concludes that clearer guidance and better resources for staff training and equipment are needed.

Provision of Music in Special Education (Promise) by Graham F Welch, University of London Institute of Education and Adam Ockelford and Sally-Anne Zimmermann, Royal Institute for the Blind. Published by RNIB pound;9.50

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