DfE to ‘test appetite’ for music as facilitating subject

The Department for Education will write to universities to ‘test their appetite’ for adding music A-level to their list of facilitating subjects.

It comes after peer and former chief executive of the Royal Opera House Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall last month raised concerns about music A level not being on the list used by Russell Group universities.

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

‘We are delighted that the Department of Education has responded to the concerns raised by Baroness McIntosh in the recent House of Lords debate on music education (initiated by Lord Black) and will write to universities in relation to adding music to the list of facilitating subjects.

Baroness McIntosh is correct in saying that music is not a ‘soft option’ or a ‘nice to have’ – it is a rigorous subject in its own right and as difficult as maths or any other facilitating subject. We look forward to what will hopefully be a positive outcome from these discussions.’

In a House of Lords debate about music education in schools, the Labour peer said: ‘This is profoundly unhelpful and gives a difficult message to schools and students about what it is possible for them to study and still expect to get into a good university.

‘Music is difficult to study, particularly when you get to A-level. It is just as difficult as maths and it needs quite a lot of the same skills.

‘It is not a soft option or a ‘nice to have’ and it would be a good thing if the universities and the education department recognised that a student who comes out of schools with A levels in, say, music, chemistry and maths is well-equipped for the life that they are likely to lead.’

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