Call for singing revival

5th August 2005 at 01:00
The leader of the Government's music task force is calling for the return of whole-school singing.

Marc Jaffrey is setting up a national singing strategy that will be developed by music experts, including composer and broadcaster Howard Goodall, who wrote the music for Blackadder and The Vicar of Dibley.

The music manifesto launched last year aims to give all primary pupils a chance to learn an instrument at school, and others more opportunities to learn music skills.

Launching a report on the anniversary of the manifesto, Mr Jaffrey said the task force would "push forward plans to ensure singing is at the heart of every child's musical experience, at school and in the community".

The Go0vernment has increased funding for music in schools by 50 per cent to pound;90 million a year, but hopes much of the work will be done by music firms and charities which have signed the manifesto.

Earlier this summer, Mr Jaffrey said his first memory was of singing in morning assembly with his whole school. "As a small boy I loved it," he said. "We sang hymns every day, and my favourite was 'Onward Christian Soldiers'. It always amused my father, who is an Indian Muslim."

The National Association of Head Teachers said whole-school singing was already popular in primaries but was impractical in secondaries because of their size.

David Hart, general secretary of the NAHT, said: "We don't want a situation where there is any compulsion on schools. Singing has a part to play, but heads should be able to decide if they want to use assemblies for another purpose, such as telling their pupils about recent events."

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