Campaigning updates

Read about what our campaigns team have been up to each week.

If you have any questions, please email our Senior Communications Manager Francesca Treadaway [email protected]

Monday 1 April

We are calling for our members and Bacc for the Future supporters to write a letter to their local MP outlining both their concerns about the disappearance of a creative education within schools and evidence of the EBacc's impact on uptake of creative subjects. Read the campaign's template letter for you to copy, paste and send, and also details on how to find your local MP on the Bacc for the Future website.

We are also calling for our members and Bacc for the Future supporters to respond to the Ofsted consultation on proposals for changes to the education inspection framework. The campaign has produced a template response that you can use, available on the Bacc for the Future website. The deadline to respond to the consultation is Friday 5 April.

We were also delighted to attend the latest Council for Subject Associations meeting last Friday, where the Ofsted consultation, curriculum fund and Early Careers Framework were discussed. The ISM is one of two subject associations for music, alongside Music Mark.

Monday 25 March

We were delighted to read the report by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee into live music, which was published last Tuesday. The cross-party report supported our Bacc for the Future campaign’s call for the Government to reform the EBacc to incorporate creative subjects, following evidence we provided to the committee last year.

We were delighted that the report also supports our call, made via our Save Music campaign, for an EU-wide touring visa to allow UK musicians to work easily in the EU after Brexit. This is especially important at such a tumultuous time in the Brexit negotiations.

We welcome the report and look forward to continuing to work with MPs on the committee in the coming months to ensure its recommendations are taken up by the Government.

Monday 18 March

Our survey on the impact of Brexit on musicians closed on 15 March, and we are now analysing the responses with a view to publish the result. With an extremely volatile political situation around Brexit, we are concerned that the needs of musicians are being ignored. Our Save Music campaign has a template letter which you can use to write to your MP asking them to protect musicians’ ability to travel easily to the EU for work after the UK leaves.

We were pleased to work with peers participating in the House of Lords debate last week on the impact of creative education on diversity in the creative industries. Concern about the decline of music education was a key part of the debate, with Lord Black of Brentwood raising the impact of the EBacc on music in schools. You can sign up as a supporter of our Bacc for the Future campaign, which campaigns for the reform or abolition of the EBacc to protect creative education.

We also welcomed the Royal Northern College of Music’s launch of RNCM Zero as a positive development and a step in the right direction in eradicating sexual harassment, harassment and bullying from the music profession. Our Dignity in Study report, published last year, revealed one in two students are at risk from bullying and discrimination including sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour. We encourage everyone to sign up to the RNCM’s campaign as well as the joint ISM/MU Code of Practice to commit to a safer and more positive working environment.

Monday 11 March

Our annual teachers’ fees survey results, released last week, showed a music teacher workforce under increasing pressure. One of the key findings was that for the third year in a row, rates have not increased in line with the cost of living, rising by just 12p an hour in some cases. Only 42% of self-employed, part time music teachers in schools reported an increase in their rate since September 2017, with an average increase of only £1. Respondents who were self-employed teachers reported reduced hourly rates paid to visiting music staff, with reduced hours in state schools in order to accommodate additional maths and English teaching. Our findings back up recent research detailing problems facing the music education workforce, such as the Music Education APPG’s State of the Nation report, and our report from December on the future of music education.

We were delighted when Dr Ally Daubney was awarded the Excellence in Primary/Early years award at the Music Teacher Awards 2019, for her work on the Primary Music Toolkit published by the ISM Trust and supported by the Schools Music Association. Download the toolkit here.

We continue to monitor Brexit closely as the situation develops, and speak up for musicians in a rapidly changing political environment. Make sure you have your say by taking our survey on the impact of Brexit on musicians, which closes on Friday 15 March.

Monday 4 March

There were yet more major developments in Brexit last week, with the Prime Minister promising to give MPs a vote on extending the date of the UK’s departure as well as her withdrawal agreement and preventing no deal. Until 15 March we are running our survey on the impact of Brexit on musicians, giving working musicians in the UK have the opportunity to make their views heard and inform our response to Brexit- whatever the outcome.

We were also pleased to attend the Classical Music APPG’s meeting last week, where violinist Nicola Benedetti spoke about her new music education charity the Benedetti Foundation. We look forward to working with Nicola as part of our music education campaigning.

Monday 25 February

We were pleased to confirm that our Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, will be giving a keynote speech at the Second International Conference on Women’s Work in Music in September. Our Dignity at Work campaign works for a music sector free of discrimination and harassment, and we continue to lobby the Government to improve conditions for musicians both at work and in education. Recent organisations signing up to the campaign include Latitude, Liverpool Sound City, and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Working musicians still lack any clarity over how Brexit will affect their ability to work and travel in the EU. We were very concerned that last week the European Parliament rejected a proposal for UK citizens to enjoy visa-free travel in the Schengen Area after a no deal Brexit. Unless the situation is resolved, this means that even travelling to the Schengen Area in the event of no deal will require a £52 visa, while working there will require musicians potentially jumping through even more costly bureaucratic hoops. With the Government announcing a second ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal will take place by 12 March, we encourage all UK-based musicians to take our survey on the impact of Brexit on musicians. The survey is open until Friday 15 March, and with or without a deal will be vital in informing our response to the UK’s exit from the EU.

Monday 18 February

Last week we launched our new Brexit survey. Although Brexit is scheduled for 29 March, it has already had a major impact on the sector, and we want to hear from musicians about how they have been affected. We strongly encourage any musician to take part, especially if they regularly tour in the rest of the EU. The survey follows from three previous surveys which culminated in our July 2018 report Musicians and Brexit, showing the devastating potential consequences Brexit will have on musicians and the music industry. Our Save Music campaign calls for freedom of movement to be protected for musicians after Brexit, or for the establishment of a two-year multi-entry touring visa for musicians. We also lead the FreeMoveCreate campaign seeking to protect freedom of movement for the whole of the creative industries or for a similar touring visa for creative professionals.

Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, made a significant intervention last week in which he called for GCSEs to be scrapped and replaced with a broader set of exams taken at 18, with heavier focus on skills and vocational subjects. We agreed with Halfon that there is an urgent need for an exam system which moves away from drilling children in knowledge of core subjects and instead properly equips them for the challenges of the 21st century and the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. A crucial part of this is greater emphasis on creative subjects and creative skills in our schools.

Monday 11 February

Last week we were delighted to launch our report Music Education: State of the Nation, in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Music Education and the University of Sussex. At an APPG meeting held to launch the report in the House of Commons, APPG co-chair Diana Johnson MP introduced and was followed by our Chief Executive Deborah Annetts, alongside Duncan Mackrill (Senior Teaching Fellow in Education, University of Sussex), Carl Ward (Immediate Past President of the Association of School and College Leaders), and Xhosa Cole (BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2018). The report launch was heavily attended by parliamentarians and representatives from across the music and education sectors. There was unanimous cross-party agreement that the issues set out by the report show Government policy around music education has failed.

The report drills down into Government figures to show how music education is in crisis in England. It shows how Government policy around the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) and other accountability measures are driving music and other creative subjects out of schools, even as the EBacc is failing on its own terms. The report also looks at the role of Music Education Hubs, primary schools, and the role of Ofsted, and proposes a series of recommendations to the Government and Ofsted to support music education in the future. Please download the report and share it with anyone you know who is worried about the decline of music education in our schools.

Monday 4 February

In yet another momentous week for Brexit, we were relieved that MPs narrowly voted to rule out no deal in principle. However, the vote to effectively renegotiate the withdrawal agreement makes no deal all the more likely. With Brexit just a few weeks away, the sector is on the edge of major disruption which could have a severe impact on many touring musicians’ ability to make a living. There was more bad news in the key vote by MPs to pass the Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. We have criticised this Bill, which ends freedom of movement after Brexit without putting in place a clear alternative which would protect mobility rights for UK musicians working in EU countries after Brexit. We have been engaged in talks with parliamentarians and civil servants from DCMS, BEIS and DExEU in order to educate policy-makers on musicians’ work and the need for a two-year multi-entry touring visa post-Brexit.

Monday 28 January

At the Association of British Orchestras conference in Belfast our chief executive, Deborah Annetts, chaired a panel discussion on the impact of Brexit on orchestras and spoke at a conference reception on the damage a disorderly Brexit could cause to musicians in the UK. At the panel discussion, panellists from across the sector, including Ulster Orchestra chair and former senior civil servant Stephen Peover, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Director of Finance and Operations Ivan Rockey, and International Artist Managers’ Association deputy chair Helen Sykes agreed that Brexit could seriously damage the musical profession in the UK by restricting musicians’ ability to travel to the EU to work. The ISM’s Save Music campaign calls for freedom of movement to be preserved for musicians after Brexit, or alternatively for the introduction of a two-year multi-entry touring visa for musicians.

We also commented on the announcement of a new Centre for Music in London. The new concert hall will be an excellent addition to the cultural life of London. However, we are concerned that while the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) continues to exclude creative subjects, music education will continue to decline and with it the opportunities for future musicians to make use of new developments like these.

Monday 21 January

Last week we launched the new website of our Bacc for the Future campaign. Bacc for the Future, with over 200 organisational supporters and over 30,000 individual supporters, campaigns for arts and creative subjects in schools by campaigning for the reform or abolition of the English Baccalaureate, a headline accountability measure for schools which excludes creative subjects. Take a look at the new website here.

Our Chief Executive Deborah Annetts appeared on BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters programme over the weekend, talking about the vital role played by amateur orchestras in our local communities. Listen back here.

We were very sorry to see that Newham Council are considering ending their prominent Every Child a Musician programme, which provides free music tuition and instruments to children in Newham. We responded to the consultation which unfortunately has now closed. We encourage ISM members and supporters to contact Newham cabinet to express their views before it makes its final decision on 5 February.

Monday 14 January 2019

We welcomed the Government’s announcement of £1.33m of additional funding for Music Education Hubs. Even small amounts of additional funding are important in ensuring hubs are able to provide the services young people deserve. Our December 2018 report on the future of music education recommended funding increases for hubs.

Just before Christmas we commented on the Government’s immigration white paper, where the Government laid out its plans for a post-Brexit immigration system. Although some aspects of the white paper were not as damaging as we expected, we believe the overall impact of the end of freedom of movement will be to significantly damage the sector. Find out more about our Save Music campaign to protect freedom of movement for musicians here.

We also commented before Christmas on the Government’s response to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee report on sexual harassment in the workplace. In particular, we were encouraged by the Government’s proposal to consult on laws in relation to third party discrimination, but we are calling for it to ensure depping musicians as well as volunteers and interns are covered by the Equality Act 2010. Read our comment here.

Monday 17 December 2018

We commented on the EU27’s confirmation that UK citizens will need to pay a 7 Euro fee and fill out a form if the UK leaves the EU under the Government’s proposed deal. Although this is a minor impediment to travel, we are concerned that the end of freedom of movement will lead to far larger barriers to musicians’ mobility being imposed in future. See our full statement here.

Our report on music education, published on Tuesday 4 December, has continued to gain positive coverage. The Times’ Richard Morrison called it “brilliant”, adding: “Every politician, and everyone responsible for devising, implementing and inspecting the curriculum delivered in schools, should read it.” Read the full report here.

Monday 10 December 2018

Last week we launched our report on the future of music education, drawing on evidence provided by members in our surveys over the summer. The report makes a series of recommendations for both music education in the classroom and any revised National Plan for Music Education. You can read the full report here.

The ISM’s concerns around the impact of the Brexit deal on musicians were raised in the House of Lords during the marathon parliamentary debates on the deal. You can read our Save Music campaign’s position statement here.

Monday 3 December 2018

Last week our Chief Executive Deborah Annetts spoke at a Westminster Forum event on the curriculum in English schools. Deborah talked about the need for the Government to review the English Baccalaureate as part of our Bacc for the Future campaign. You can find out more about Bacc for the Future here.

As Parliament debates the Brexit deal this week, you can read our Save Music campaign’s position statement on the deal here.