Dissonance of assistant plans

6th December 2002 at 00:00
LIKE National Drama (TES, November 22) the National Association of Music Educators is angered and dismayed by the proposal that music and drama specialists could help to free up teachers' time. While no one would deny that adults with skills and expertise in music can, and do, make valuable contributions to music in schools by working alongside qualified teachers, it is hard to see how they could free up teachers' time unless they are used to replace them.

Why single out music and drama? Why not maths and science? Or would teachers of these subjects rightly point out that teaching these subjects requires training in just that - teaching?

There are many excellent examples of music specialists working in schools - as animateurs, as community musicians, as part of professional orchestras' outreach programmes. But in order to be successful their work needs to be properly planned and evaluated.

The notion that involving them in school music will free up teachers' time, rather than complementing existing activities, demeans music as a curriculum subject.

The Government should modify these proposals and resist the temptation to treat music and drama as if they are different from other subjects.

Helen Coll

Chair, National Association of Music Educators, Gordon Lodge

Snitterton Road

Matlock, Derbyshire

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