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The Policy and Practice of Music Education in England, 2010-2020

Savage, Jonathan (2020) The Policy and Practice of Music Education in England, 2010-2020. British Educational Research Journal. ISSN 0141-1926


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Since the introduction of the National Plan for Music Education there have been significant changes in music education within England. Whilst some celebrate figures that report increased access and engagement, many teachers and others continue to have legitimate concerns regarding the quality of the music education on offer in schools and Music Education Hubs. There are concerns that the provision of music education is incoherent and patchy across the country. Many would argue that the opportunity to access high‐quality music education has become a ‘postcode lottery’. There is a sense that the fragmentation of music education as a result of curriculum reforms and the diversity of approaches taken by Music Education Hubs and other bodies has significantly enhanced this incoherence. This article seeks to review the policy and practice of music education in England over the last 10 years. It draws on recent research from various sources and maintains a particular focus on government policy and the consequences of this for the field as a whole. It reflects on how things could be improved in the future. It argues for a clearer focus on a practitioner‐led approach to research and advocacy, in particular one led by the notion of ‘policy as practice’ rather than continuing with the current approach and its intrinsic failings.

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