#CanDoMusic welcomes the Model Music Curriculum

January 29, 2024 by Can Do Music

7 minute listen


Can Do Music were particularly pleased in March 2021 when this blog was first published with the expectation, in the Model Music Curriculum (MMC), of a minimum of one hour’s music per week from Year 1 to Year 9.

The publication of the MMC by the Department for Education (DfE) contains important non-statutory guidance to support teachers in delivering high quality classroom music lessons from Year 1 to Year 9 and follows a two-year development process.

Crucially, the MMC values music as a subject in its own right by demonstrating the Government’s support for its teaching in schools. Some of the most important elements include expectations that Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils should receive a minimum of one hour of teaching a week and KS3 music should have a minimum of one weekly period. In addition, it suggests that placing music with other subjects on rotas (or “carousels”) is not a substitute for teaching one lesson per week per subject across an academic year.

#CanDoMusic started initially as a campaign, launched by the ISM, MTA and Music Mark to protect music in schools. We have been highly influential in the creation of the MMC through participation in the consultation process and supplying research, with both MTA and Music Mark represented on the Expert Panel. Collectively, we look forward to working with the membership of each organisation to interpret and implement this guidance.

Commenting on the publication:

The Incorporated Society of Musicians’ (ISM) Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, said:

‘The publication of the Model Music Curriculum is important for helping to ensure that all schools offer meaningful classroom music. In particular, I am delighted with the expectation of a minimum of one hour’s music per week from Year 1 to Year 9 because sustained learning is crucial for helping young people grow in skill and confidence.

‘Every child deserves access to a quality music education but research has shown that opportunities for pupils to make and create music are becoming more limited. The Government should now be actively encouraging teaching music as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, […] ensuring that it is properly financed.’

Music Mark Chief Executive, Bridget Whyte, said:

The mention of the role that wider partners within local Music Education Hubs can play in the delivery of music in schools, confirms the importance of partnership working in providing a quality music education in and out of the classroom. The introduction within this Model Music Curriculum provides a strong message from the DfE of the importance of musical learning for every child, and we now look forward to the next steps they will need to take in completing their work on a ‘refreshed’ National Plan for Music Education to sit alongside this new guide.’

Music Teachers Association (MTA) President, Simon Toyne, said:

‘Our partnership with the ISM and Music Mark has made a substantial impact over the last year with our #CanDoMusic campaign. This continues with our response to the Model Music Curriculum. This is a significant moment when we can come together in partnership, sharing our expertise, experience, drive and passion (and, of course, those legendary problem-solving skills of music teachers), to make a difference to the lives of so many children. We want the Summer Term to be busy, with music teachers, headteachers, hub leaders, and all passionate about music education, coming together to bring the MMC to life, enabling all children in all schools to access a quality music curriculum.’

Notes to editors

The #CanDoMusic campaign was launched in 2020 by the ISM, MTA and Music Mark to protect music in schools by celebrating the innovation of teachers and sharing practical resources to deliver the subject in engaging new ways.

  • 85% of teachers surveyed by Music Mark stated they saw value in a Model Music Curriculum.
  • The ISM found that a quarter of English secondary school teachers said pupils are not receiving classroom music throughout Key Stage 3 as a continuing result of the EBacc accountability measure.

The MMC offers significant insight into what children can actually achieve when guided by a purposeful curriculum taught by committed, imaginative teachers. It aims to support pupils in the musical progression throughout the Key Stages, offers practical solutions for improving diversity and inclusion while being ‘founded on the belief that music enriches individual lives as well as a school’s wider community’.

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

We support nearly 11,000 music professionals across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.

For more information, please contact bruce.rothberg@ism.org

About Music Mark

The UK Association for Music Education – Music Mark is a membership organisation and Subject Association advocating for excellent musical learning in and out of school. We support our members through training and resources, connect them with the wider Music Education network across the UK, and influence on their behalf at a national level. In doing so, we champion a diverse, accessible, and government-supported music education provision to inspire and enrich the lives of all children and young people in the UK.

About the MTA

The Music Teachers’ Association is the largest and longest established association of music teachers in the UK, supporting all who are connected with a school music department.

Our year-round CPD programme of webinars, podcasts, e-bulletins and Ensemble magazine, supported by our Facebook Staffroom and Annual Conference, enables music teachers to connect with each other, share ideas, develop good practice and work together in partnership.

The MTA works with our partner organisations, HMC, ISM and Music Mark, to support and advocate for music in schools, inspiring a membership which passionately believes that every child should benefit from outstanding music education.