Plan into action: August 2022 Editorial

Harriet Richards
Monday, August 1, 2022

One sensible plan has emerged from amid the chaos

In the January 2012 MT editorial, the then editor Chris Walters wrote of the newly published National Plan for Music Education in England: ‘in the current climate, any kind of funding commitment is a positive outcome’. A decade and a new National Plan later, this sentence still applies; although with the cost of living soaring and a gaggle of Tory leaders seemingly determined to back-stab, blunder, and contradict their way to the top, we arguably find ourselves in more of a ‘crisis’ than a ‘climate’.

The ring-fenced £25m for musical instruments and equipment set out in the new NPME is, then, something to be celebrated. Besides, as Phil Castang points out, it's not about ‘us and them’ – them being the government (or, at least, civil servants at the DfE and DCMS) – it's about ensuring that the plan grows legs so that every child has access to ambitious, progressive music education (see here for guidance for primary schools).

As we report in the News, the refreshed plan has been largely welcomed – it's a good plan with a strong core of inclusion, partnerships, and progression, and its successful delivery across England would lead to countless opportunities offered and potentials fulfilled. Generally, the sticking points preside in what the plan does not include. Whether or not in the plan's remit, question marks still hang over issues like teacher training, school accountability measures, enforcing the plan, teachers’ pay and conditions, and the wider funding landscape for arts education. As developments unfold over the coming months and years, we'll be keeping you updated and supported via our print issues and dedicated website tab.

The focus of this issue is Accessibility & Inclusivity (renamed from ‘SEND’), and you'll meet musician Kris Halpin who recounts the challenges of his musical journey and calls for more to be done to support young disabled musicians; I speak to ABRSM's first artistic director Alexis Ffrench, who hopes to widen the appeal of the exam board's offering and tap into ‘less formal’ progression routes; and we attend one of National Open Youth Orchestra's first ever performances.

Elsewhere, meet the team behind London Rhymes, find out how to build an invested team, consider common design flaws in music teaching materials, and read the latest news, reviews, and columns.

Finally, in some good news, while the aforementioned Jan 2012 issue featured an interview on the NPME with culture minister Ed Vaizey, regrettably Nadine Dorries was unavailable for comment.

Wishing you a very restful summer.