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Understanding the 2023 National Plan For Music Education (NPME)

Understanding the 2023 National Plan For Music Education (NPME)

As of September 2023, the National Plan for Music Education (NPME), The Power of Music to Change Lives, comes into play.  The DFE’s refreshed plan commissioned in 2020, reflects a national survey and calls from many music educators and youth charities for a more contemporary and reflective curriculum which will serve young people’s diverse interests and needs. 

  “Engaging young people with music that speaks to them opens doors to broader, more diverse musical learning that can have benefits for attendance, attainment and wellbeing.” – Youth Music CEO Nick Grffiths

The government’s new plan calls for music education to have the same robust planning as core subjects, highlighting how music enriches our national identity, community and economy. 

With music being “one of the country’s most important and globally recognised industries”.  

Why the new NPME and what does it mean for schools? 

Levelling Up

Levelling up’ is one of the NPME’s core focuses, the DfE wants children across the country to have equal access to high quality music education, removing barriers to access due to ‘circumstance, needs or geography.’  The plan aims to create a more diverse music curriculum representative of young people’s interests with routes for progression. 

The DfE states that with this plan they are aiming to enable all children to: 

  1. All children and young people receive a high-quality music education in the early years and in schools  (1 hour per week for early years and KS1-3)
  2. All music educators work in partnership, with children and young people’s needs and interests at their heart
  3. All children and young people with musical interests and talents have the opportunity to progress, including professionally

Music Plans

Schools are required to have a Music Development Plan and designated Music Lead in place for the academic year 2023-2024. Development plans should outline the schools vision for music, support for staff, work with music hubs and monitor success. 

Over the next academic year we will see the appointment of 4 natHub centres of excellence leading in :

  • Inclusion
  • CPD
  • Music Technology
  • Pathways to Industry

So, how does the government’s new plan see contemporary music and music technology levelling up music education? And what role do digital skills have to play in music and wider education? 

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Contemporary music in a digital landscape. 

97% of young people surveyed report listening to music each week and two thirds are making it at home, yet the vast majority feel disconnected from the music curriculum and see it as ‘irrelevant and unavailable’(Exchanging Notes).  

We know that young people are consuming music via online platforms such as Youtube, Spotify and many more are recording lyrics or tracks on their phones and other home devices. Contemporary styles such as trap and pop are easily replicable via music software, so we need to bring this digital language of music making into our classrooms to connect with students’ interests and teach relevant music industry skills. 

These skills not only support music but wider ITC skills. Creative content production is a growing transferable skill required across the employment landscape. 

Sounds great but are music teachers ready for this? 

 

There will be some teachers, who are already implementing much of this plan and confident with tech but for others who are more traditionally trained, with little funding and even less time, the expectations of the NPME can feel overwhelming. 

The good news is that teachers shouldn’t have to do this alone!

A big part of this new initiative is that music hubs should be working side by side with both schools and community partners such as Digit Learning to provide training, support and experience. Every hub will publish an inclusion plan and provide CPD to guide schools to find the information or training they need. 

To further enrich music education, the plan emphasises partnerships with local artists, music venues, and cultural institutions. This not only provides students with real-world exposure but also fosters a sense of community and cultural connection. Community musicians have a wealth of experiences and new ideas to bring to teacher practice as well as igniting passions in students

Part of the DfE’s mission is for schools senior leadership teams to support training for their department staff, raising aspirations for their students. DfE advocates that the music development plan should be linked to the schools improvement plan. 

What are Digit Music doing? 

We are committed to improving outcomes for young people through Digital Music making. As Music Mark and ArtsMark Partners we provide industry-connected digital music skills through learning resources, workshops and teacher training.  Bringing the experience of our musicians to the classroom. We provide:

↗︎ Training and CPD for teachers in digital music skills

↗︎ Workshops bringing live composition, performance and music production skills to students led by professional musicians with industry experience

↗︎ Digital music learning resources. Our learning packs have been designed to bring a diverse range of contemporary music styles to the classroom, build musical and digital skills and support teachers with delivery. Sign up to our free series of packs here. 

↗︎ Inclusive MIDI instruments that enable instant play and composition benefits for students and teachers, boosting inclusion for those who may not have traditional instrument training or students who have physical or learning differences. (These instruments are included in the government’s spending plan)

Conclusion

The benefits of a more musically diverse and digitally aligned musical curriculum stretch beyond delivering your NPME music delivery plan.

Delivering transferable digital skills and supporting students to feel connected to a relevant, contemporary curriculum.  Studies have evidenced  improvements in attainment and inclusion boosting wellbeing for students and staff.

We hope that the impact of the new NPME will raise the profile of music as a core subject in education,  bringing vital skills to our future workforce. 

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