I haven’t read the new white paper on education yet as it is hot off the press but the gist of what is happening in UK schools is that every school will become an academy by 2020. Petitions have been started, information (and misinformation) being passed around on Facebook and Twitter and it is all going a bit crazy. Perhaps I am being completely naive but I am really not that bothered about school structures; it always seems to be about teachers discussing who is in charge and who gets to boss who around. In my experience working in all sorts of different schools, there is always someone who wants to boss you around and as I actually know what I am doing, I just wish they would leave me to it and enjoy the results of happy well-educated children and contented parents.
The biggest change that will affect teachers that has hardly been reported on, is that by turning every school into an academy the government has basically got rid of the National Curriculum. Well everything that isn’t examined to be more precise. This is because academies are not obligated to teach the N.C. and if every school becomes an academy, there would be no compulsion to have to follow it. This seems a bit odd as they only made a new curriculum two years ago.
In music education, teachers are continuously trying to justify why the subject should exist in the first place and how it should be taught (there are so many different music schemes and they are hugely different) but actually there is very little attention to what is getting taught. If you go by the National Curriculum for Music, very little – it fits onto two sides of A4. So that’s why I am in two minds about the academies plan, as although the Curriculum was incredibly basic, at least there actually was one. I guess the ghost of the N.C. will linger on as it will still be there lurking in the netosphere but we can choose to ignore it or give it the finger. If that’s the case it hardly makes for something truly national but as long as we can just get on with teaching music properly I’ll be happy.