Tory legislation brings rich pickings for the researcher. This is the fifth major report on music services to be published in as many years.
The five case studies included present interesting accounts of how various providers are responding to change. But they are no more than pictures of a situation in transition and even these are incomplete. To put the music provision in any local education authority in context there is a need to know what its local priorities are, the percentage of the education budget allocated to each of them, the situation prior to local management of schools, present and future LMS formula arrangements, and what its headteachers and governors see as important. There are surprisingly few references to such factors here.
By its very nature, the study can identify only limited trends, although some, such as the increased demand for classroom support and the central funding of local orchestras, provide interesting confirmation of earlier predictions. There is a clear outline of the present legal situation and the self-review materials could be useful.
Any publication on this subject which aims to present a positive picture must be a welcome antidote to the usual doomsday scenarios. But there is a good book still waiting to be written on instrumental music provision in this country.