Recognising success: March 2021 Editorial

Thomas Lydon
Monday, March 1, 2021

From teacher assessed grades to ‘what comes next’, how do we judge achievement when the rules have changed?

One of my favourite parts of the MT editor's role is co-chairing the judges for the Music & Drama Education Awards. It is a privilege to witness so much great work being done in our sector, including an unstoppable tide of inventive, tenacious and collaborative responses to the global pandemic. The shortlists are up now, at, and the winners will be announced in a virtual awards ceremony at 6pm on 24 March. This can be watched at the same url and on our Facebook page. Do join us as we reflect on the past year and recognise your hard work.

It was a total joy to be reminded by one of the contributors for this issue, Richard Michael, that he is a past MT award winner. In 1984, he was our Music Teacher of the Year, due in no small part to his ability to get his classes feeling the groove from lesson one (see page 17). He used the prize of a £500 Boosey & Hawkes voucher to buy a cello for his eight-year-old son, Robin. The apple did not fall far from the tree, and Robin Michael is now principal cellist in John Eliot Gardiner's Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.

It is not news to us as teachers that the seeds we sow can flourish if we are able to nurture them. What has become clear is that the last twelve months have been more about building a shelter to protect them from the storm. The rules have changed, and one of the huge issues arising from the pandemic is the approaching task of teacher assessed grades at GCSE and A Level. We invited James Manwaring to write about his process last year, and to build on that to give some thoughts on how he will be approaching this issue for 2021 (see page 37).

Like all storms, this too will pass, and when it does, there will be the inevitable talk of ‘catching up’. As we engage in that particular conversation, we must put the needs of our students first, and it might be worth bearing in mind a question on this subject put to me recently by a headteacher: ‘Catching up with whom, exactly?’