Highs..and lows;Music for the Millennium

24th April 1998 at 01:00
NORTHERN IRELAND

The musical life of British children is at risk, a major TES survey reveals. Dorothy Lepkowska reports

Key stage 2 pupils in Northern Ireland spend the least curriculum time on music learning in the United Kingdom, with only about 45 per cent of schools devoting at least a hour a week to the subject.

Northern Ireland also has the highest proportion of youngsters who receive no instrument tuition at all, with almost 18 per cent of schools offering no lessons.

This compares poorly with Wales (3.7 per cent), England (5.8 per cent) and Scotland (9.6 per cent).They have some of the best-qualified tutors, however, with more than six out of ten schools using a combination of teachers and music co-ordinators, and a further tenth of schools employing subject specialists.

More than half of Northern Ireland's schools have enough instruments to ensure everyone in a class has one.

Just over one in five schools charge for instrument tuition, but 37 per cent of those schools offer exemptions or reductions for those who cannot afford the fees.

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