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What the teachers say;Opinion;Music for the Millennium

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

Anthea Kenna, headteacher of Thriplow CofE primary in Thriplow, Cambridgeshire.

"Music has a high priority in our school, and is a valued part of our worship as a Church school. Music is a great leveller of ability. Many of our less-able pupils have beautiful voices or the ability to manage complex rhythms. It builds self-esteem."

Winston Pollock, head of Ballyclare primary in County Antrim.

"This Government has shown no more insight than the Tories, showing a corruption of ideology and priorities into the real needs of our education system."

Norma Wright, head of Chapelside primary in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

"Raising achievement in English and maths can be achieved without having to remove or diminish other subjects. More does not necessarily result in better. It is the quality of teaching and learning in numeracy and literacy which needs to be addressed.

"Understanding, appreciating and enjoying the expressive arts is an integral part of the educational process."

Kathy Barkway, head of Hurst Park county primary in West Molesey, Surrey.

"We are lucky to have an excellent music teacher who teaches throughout the school. We perform concerts throughout the year and as music is a strength of the school we will not be changing the amount of curriculum time devoted to it. It also has immense benefit across all curriculum areas and raises self-esteem.

"We will slim down other areas at key stage 1 such as history or geography but never music or PE."

Carol Etherington, head of St Andrew's Benn CofE primary in Rugby, Warwickshire.

"Our school greatly values the arts. Music is an essential part of the holistic development of each child. We shall do all we can to nurture this richness and entitlement for our children, regardless of political intervention.

"We have a mix of culture and creeds in our families, We have a steel band, harmonium classes and orchestra, so music brings us together."

Huw Humphreys, music co-ordinator at Penrhos county primary in Powys.

"It is very hard to get opportunities to give in-service training to other staff, as music is not perceived as important enough to take up INSET time.

"Conversely, music is regarded as being too specialist for class teachers to teach successfully, a view which is undiluted codswallop."

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