15th January 2010 at 00:00

Music education

Posted by CanuckGrrl

The Courier reported that Scotland is losing out to other countries in piping competitions. If so, it highlights a broader issue in music education here. Canada has full-time professional music teachers in primary schools, who run free programmes in choral and instrumental music for all children. Music education is as free and inclusive as every other subject in Canadian primaries because it is, like maths and languages, considered a RIGHT. Wake up, Scottish councils. Wake up, Scottish Government. Wake up, Scottish tax-paying parents. Put full-time music teachers on staff in primaries, keep up with the rest of the world - and raise attainment in the process.

Posted by Flyonthewall75

I couldn't agree more. So many primary schools no longer have a visiting music specialist. Schools that do know that when they leave, they won't be replaced. It's a cynical money-saving exercise, with no concern for the future of music education. What's worse, schools will appoint so-called "music co-ordinators" and go through a box-ticking exercise to pretend music is still being covered in the primary curriculum. Shows what a sham Curriculum for Excellence is.

Posted by Dominie

Would I be too controversial if I suggested the problem is connected with a very Scottish obsession with "general" education in primary? Apparently it is OK to suggest (as CfE does) that general education should continue as far as S3, but not acceptable to suggest that specialist education should be extended to middle and upper primary years?

Posted by Flyonthewall75

I suspect the model for primary education was established under the Education (Scotland) Act 1872, when education became compulsory for all aged 5-13, with the earliest leaving age raised to 14 in 1901. Children were given a basic education to equip them for the type of jobs available to most of the population at that time. Compulsory primary education had to be provided as cheaply as possible, hence the "generalist" teacher. Over the years, the primary curriculum developed in line with changes in society and the workplace. Visiting specialists for music, instrumental instruction, art, PE, fabric craft and drama were introduced to complement the work of the generalist primary teacher. Now, many schools are losing their visiting specialists and the primary teacher is expected to "fill the gap", to provide primary education more cheaply. One can't help but suspect that the CfE changes in secondary, particularly S1-3, are geared towards reducing costs., click on Forums then Opinion.

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