ISM | ISM Trust conference: Where to next for music education? Jump to main content
The Empowered Musician

ISM Trust conference: Where to next for music education?

On Saturday 27 November 2021, we held a free online music education conference, which brought together experts from across the sector to examine the opportunities and challenges that music educators are facing.

We looked at music in schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the priorities for early years music, and legal rights for music teachers.

Introduction and opening words

Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive

Keynote and Q&A with Mark Phillips, Ofsted’s National Lead for Music

What’s next for early years music?

Chair: Vanessa Stansall
Panellists: Nate Holder, Katie Neilson, Dr Jessica Pitt, Aimee Toshney, Dr Susan Young

Early years music education has historically been undervalued, however campaigns to recognise its importance are gaining momentum. It is vital that music making starts with the early years, as quality musical experiences from birth have multiple benefits for learning. In this panel session, we discuss the value and potential of early years music, and look at how we can support music teachers and leaders to offer excellent and accessible provision for all.

Does music education have a future in England?

Chair: Deborah Annetts
Panellists: Phil Castang, Jenetta Hurst, Dr Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, Kevin Rogers, Carl Ward

There has been a deeply concerning trend of declining music entries at both GCSE and A-level over the last ten years, since the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) was introduced. In this session, we examine the impact of this damaging policy, and how it could be reversed. We also discuss how a second National Plan for Music Education and a new team in the Department for Education will affect the music education landscape in England. Most importantly, how can we ensure that all children and young people have access to a high-quality music education?

Music education success in the devolved nations: What can we learn?

Chair: Pauline Black
Panellists: Fiona Gormley, Rhian Hutchings, Rhianon Passmore MS, Kate Picken MBE, John Wallace CBE

We’ve seen some recent successes for music education in the devolved nations, such as free instrumental tuition in Scotland, and a new arts curriculum in Wales. What can England and Northern Ireland learn from these achievements, and where do challenges remain? In this panel session, we examine the impact of the pandemic on musical learning across the UK, and discuss the priorities for the future.

Legal essentials: Know your rights

Stuart Darke, ISM Head of Legal Services and Nerys Owen, ISM Senior Legal Adviser

In this session, ISM legal experts examine the concerning casualisation of the music workforce, and outline ways in which music teachers can protect themselves. As working conditions become increasingly precarious within music education, we help you to understand your rights, covering employment status, contracts, fees and redundancy. We also discuss the landmark Supreme Court holiday pay case, involving ISM member Lesley Brazel, which could have far-reaching implications for thousands of music teachers.

Closing words

Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive

Access conference resources and reports

Delivered by

ISM Trust logo