Campaigning updates

In 1882 the ISM was set up to promote the art of music and protect the honour and interests of the music profession. The ISM has a long history of standing up for the rights of performers, composers, educators and the whole music profession and this work is as vital today as it was then.

We actively lobby Government on behalf of our members to create a united voice for music. We listen to our members, to the music industry, and to the arts and education sectors in order to develop fully informed and effective campaigns.

Campaigns update

Read about what our campaigns team have been up to each week. If you have any questions, please email our Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager Robin McGhee at [email protected]

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 2019

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 2019

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 2019

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.

Our current campaigns include:

BACC for the Future
Save Music
Dignity at work