Disappointed with discord

19th March 2004 at 00:00
Your article on music in schools presents a very negative picture of a report which is, in fact, most heartening (TES, March 5).

The Wider Opportunities pilot programmes have been innovative in finding ways of promoting instrumental tuition for key stage 2 pupils. Few who attended the event at the Barbican on March 3 remained unmoved when pupils from each of the pilot education authorities performed to a large audience an exciting and varied repertoire of music.

The pilot programmes have demonstrated how new partnerships between schools, LEA music services and music professionals can help to realise the aim of allowing every child who wishes to learn a musical instrument to do so. The Office for Standards in Education's report includes suggestions as to how some pilot work seen could be improved - it would not be much use as an evaluation if it did not - but the whole tone of the report stresses how positive a venture this pilot has been. Your coverage of both the report and the Barbican event seriously misrepresents them.

I find this slightly ironic as The TES has been campaigning for months to ensure that pupils receive a broad and balanced curriculum. Yet in a successful project designed to bring this about, you fail to highlight it.

Or is a good news story a no-news story?

David Bell

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools

The Office for Standards in Education

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