A-level results day: further decline in music uptake

Figures published today – A-level results day – by the Joint Council for Qualifications show music has not recovered from its significant decline in uptake from over the past five years.

Since 2014, there has been a 25.4% decline in music entries compared to a 2.6% decline in A-level entries overall.

In addition, a smaller proportion of students achieved the top grades in music in 2018 compared to all A-level subjects. A total of 20% of pupils achieved A*-A grades in music compared to 26.4% for all subjects.

A-level results were awarded today to students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said:

‘Many congratulations to students on their hard work and achievements in AS and A-level music this year. We are however deeply concerned by the significant decline in uptake in music at A level over the past five years: a 25.4% decline in music entries compared to a 2.6% decline in A-level entries overall.

With the Department for Education determined to pursue the EBacc despite evidence clearly demonstrating how damaging it has been to creative subjects including music, this trend is only likely to get worse. We urge the Government to urgently rethink their EBacc policy, which must be abolished to preserve access to music and wider creative education in schools.’

About the ISM

The ISM is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. We were set up in 1882 to promote the art of music and to protect the interests and honour of all musicians. Today we support almost 9,000 members with unrivalled services and expert advice, from study up until retirement and beyond.

We have always been a wholly independent, not-for-profit organisation, allowing us to lobby Government as a united voice for music. We welcome musicians from all areas of the profession including thousands of performers, composers, educators, sound engineers, producers, industry professionals, academics, music therapists and administrators from all genres and musical backgrounds.

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