Toned down to a minor role;Music for the Millennium

24th April 1998 at 01:00
ENGLAND

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

Music plays a lesser role in the everyday life of schools in England than in other parts of the United Kingdom, with just over six out of ten teachers believing it is crucial or very important.

However, singing is a more regular part of assemblies in England than elsewhere, in almost 95 per cent of primary schools.

English pupils get the worst deal in terms of teacher expertise with fewer than half of music classes being taught jointly by teachers and co-ordinators, and just 8 per cent being taught by a specialist.

But English schools fared better than those in Scotland and Northern Ireland in terms of the amount of curriculum time spent on music, with more than half of schools delivering an hour or more of tuition a week.

Fewer than one in five youngsters has access to free instrumental tuition - the worst provision in Britain - although hard-up families are more likely to be subsidised than elsewhere.

Schools in England are also better equipped, with 68 per cent claiming they had enough instruments for every child in a class.

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