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ABRSM welcomes Warwick Commission report on future of cultural value in the UK
ABRSM, the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music, has welcomed the report by the Warwick Commission, published on Tuesday, and its recommendations for ensuring arts education entitlement for all children. The report reaffirms recommendations made by ABRSM and its partners in the Making Music report (September 2014) that there is a need for a united and coherent approach to guarantee that everyone has equal access to music.
The Warwick Commission suggests that children born into low-income families with few qualifications are the least likely to engage with and appreciate the arts, culture and heritage in the curriculum. A sphere of influence is paramount to musical engagement – as highlighted in the Making Music report, there is significant disparity between children from different social grades. Children from DE households are less likely to play an instrument and take lessons than those from AB backgrounds, less likely to have friends or family that play instruments and less likely to be involved in group singing and playing activities in school. Furthermore, 1 in 2 children taking private lessons said their parents were involved in the decision to play an instrument – for children from DE households, this falls to 1 in 5. As the Warwick Commission report suggests, there is an appetite among children to engage with the arts but the challenge lies in access. Our research found that the main reason children stop playing an instrument is due to loss of interest (46%), yet for children from DE households, this falls to 28% (the same percentage who cited the reason as being because they left or moved school). Overall, 29% of children cite the expense of learning as the main reason for never playing an instrument, while 40% of children from DE households cite lack of opportunity in school as the most significant barrier. Michael Elliott, Chief Executive of ABRSM, said ‘The findings of the Warwick Commission highlight the importance of access and engagement with music in school. We welcome the recommendation that Government should provide an Arts and Culture Pupil Premium to match the current PE/Sport Premium, thereby increasing the choices for the UK’s most disadvantaged and culturally disenfranchised children.’
To read the Making Music report, please visit www.abrsm.org/makingmusic.