No need for arts melodrama

20th June 2003 at 01:00
YOUR article "Elegy for the lost arts" (TES, June 6) is a travesty of what is going on in state schools. To talk of music and drama "disappearing" in them is profoundly demoralising and a terrible slur on the increasing amount of work being done around the country.

No one in this Government denies that there was painful and damaging retrenchment in the 1980s and 1990s, but look at the facts today:

* 129 specialist performing arts colleges around the country, providing centres of excellence in their communities;

* 201 advanced skills teachers in music, and 175 in art and design to lead classroom practice;

* more pupils taking music GCSE, and AS-level;

* inspectors say music has improved significantly in one third of primaries since the last inspection.

It does no one any good continually to run down what is happening in education. Of course there is a lot more to do, but we will not do it by pretending that everything is awful.

David Miliband MP

Minister for school standards Department for Education and Skills Great Smith Street, London SW1

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