ISM writes to Chair of Ofqual about subject suspension proposal Jump to main content

ISM writes to Chair of Ofqual about subject suspension proposal

UPDATE: Ian Bauckham responds to ISM

Ian Bauckham has now responded to the ISM's letter, which we share in full with Ian's permission.

Mr Bauckham makes it clear that he was not writing in his capacity as Chair of Ofqual.

Responding, ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said, ‘Ian Bauckham’s response dated 10 January to the ISM’s letter makes it clear that he was speaking in a personal capacity and not as Chair of Ofqual. The ISM notes that Mr Bauckham is concerned about the pandemic’s impact on music education and supports music education more generally.

Comments from those who hold senior positions in public bodies will always find their words associated with that position – we hope that instances like this, which caused concern across the music education sector, can be avoided in the future. The ISM would like to thank those who worked alongside us to establish the basis on which these comments were made. And the ISM will continue to stand up for music education.

ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts has written to the Chair of Ofqual, Ian Bauckham, following his recent proposal to suspend the teaching of some specialist subjects, including music, in response to current staff shortages in schools. The letter expresses concern that this proposal would be extremely damaging to music education, which has already been disproportionately affected by previous COVID-19 measures.

In the letter, Deborah points out that suspending music lessons goes against the government’s commitment to delivering a broad and balanced curriculum as well as recent government advice to schools that music should be a key part of the recovery curriculum. The ISM also raises the issue of statutory guidelines on teachers’ pay and conditions, which state that teachers should be required to provide cover only rarely and in circumstances that are not foreseeable.

The letter also emphasises the importance of music in the National Curriculum and its wider benefits to students and asks that our highly qualified music teachers be given the respect they deserve, rather than being redeployed to teach other subjects.

The letter calls for Mr Bauckham to retract his proposal. ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts had a letter to The Timespublished, which further highlights the issues with the suggestion.

We encourage those who are disappointed with Mr Bauckham's proposal to write their own letter to Ofqual. The email address is: [email protected]. We have produced a template letter for those who want to write to Ofqual.