Key investment for better learning

13th July 2007 at 01:00
a music charity has pledged pound;200,000 to improve teacher training and music resources in primary schools in England and is calling for more money from the Government because of the huge variations in investment in music across the country.

Of 64 primary schools that applied to the EMI Music School Foundation for funding this year, 12 had a budget of pound;200 or less for music. The schools' average budget for music was just 22p per pupil.

The 150 schools receiving the extra investment will be linked to specialist performing arts and music colleges. They will receive music teacher training, sheet music, instruments and computer programmes to help with composition.

The move comes after research by London university's Institute of Education found that primary pupils are missing out on the benefits of music due to poor teacher training and a chronic lack of resources.

Janie Orr, the foundation's chief executive, said: "Under current guidelines, many primary teachers have access to only a few hours of music training during their year-long course. We welcome the increased public investment in music education, but are concerned because this isn't ring-fenced."

The research, funded by the charity, examined teachers' ability before and after a one-day music training course and the effect it had on key stage 1 pupils. It found that music lessons taught by properly trained teachers developed children's ability to listen more carefully, persevere through complex topics and be more confident in all classes.

Susan Hallam, a professor at the Institute of Education, said: "If more proof was needed about why music education should be taken more seriously, this is it. If each primary school had access to just one day of specialised music training, every pupil could see a real benefit.

"Teaching music is about so much more than learning to play an instrument. There is a direct link between better music teaching and a step-change in how our children could and should be developing."

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