Business News Education & Events

A-Level stats show “deepening crisis” in music education, says UK Music

By | Published on Friday 16 August 2019

UK Music

The boss of cross-sector music industry trade group UK Music, Michael Dugher, has warned of a “deepening crisis” in formal music education in British schools, after new stats showed that the number of students taking music A-Level was down 5.8% this year.

The stats came out as students in England, Northern Ireland and Wales got their A-Level results yesterday. 5125 of those students took music A-level this year, compared to 5440 in 2018. And although there was a general decrease in the number of people taking A-Levels this time, the overall slip was just 1%.

There has been much talk in recent years about there being a “crisis” in music education across the UK, and especially in England. This is, in part, down to funding cuts, and also as a result of the government prioritising certain subjects, to the detriment of the creative arts.

UK Music says that the latest decline in the numbers of students taking music at A-Level is a “significant blow to efforts to continue to generate our world-leading array of professional musicians and teachers, and seriously threatens the music industry’s talent pipeline”.

That, in turn, the trade group adds, “jeopardises the economic success story of the UK music industry which contributes £4.5 billion a year to the UK economy”.

Dugher himself says: “This year’s A-level entry numbers reveal a deepening crisis facing music in education that needs urgent action from the government. There is yet again a worrying drop in the number of people studying music to A-level, which seriously jeopardises the talent pipeline on which our industry relies”.

“It is particularly bad news for our efforts to continue to produce highly skilled and talented professionals who often go on to teach music or play in one of the UK’s world-leading orchestras”, he goes on. “There is also strong evidence to suggest that young people who are engaged in their education through music fare better at maths and English”.

Concluding, Dugher adds: “There is [also] a vital economic reason to ensure music is available in all schools, especially as the creative industries contribute more than £100 billion to our economy”.