Impact of austerity leaves schoolchildren at risk of missing out on music

From SWLondoner: Following the austerity measures implemented by the coalition government, funding for the arts was curtailed, and access to music education has become increasingly difficult.

The 2010 comprehensive spending review announced a 30% cut the Arts Council England budget. These cuts placed significant strain on our cultural organisations, including theatres, orchestras, music venues and art galleries.

Our most prestigious institutions, including the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Royal opera House, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, are set to lose £2.5million of Arts Council funding per year between them.

Yet the impacts are more widespread; with cuts to local council budgets, less money is being spent on grassroots music education.

While 85% of parents state that music education is beneficial for their children, 70% say that the cost is prohibitive.

The National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain stated that 70% of its members were privately educated, which underlines that access remains an ongoing challenge.

[Read full article on SWLondoner…]

‘People give up’: the crisis in school support for children with special needs

From The Guardian: Two years ago, Ben Johnson, then aged nine, suffered a mental breakdown after years of difficulties at home and at school. His mother, Sonia Johnson, says he had deep anxiety and refused to go to school. From the first year of his schooling, she says, she had requested extra support, but the school did not offer the assistance she believed he needed. “I was made to feel I was hysterical and attention-seeking just for asking for support for my son’s needs,” she says.

The crisis brought things to a head. Ben’s GP signed him off. He has not been to school since.

His doctors – a psychiatrist, a paediatrician, a neurologist and his GP – had said he needed extra assistance at school. Ben was on medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and had a diagnosis of autism, as well as paralysis to one side of his body because of a congenital brain problem. The headteacher, though, said Ben did not display enough difficulties to warrant the extra help his mother was calling for. Johnson felt the school’s response was “brutal”. But Ben did not have the vital document from his local authority that would help.

The Johnson family’s experience seems all too common. As council budgets and school funding have been cut, families of children with special needs increasingly find they have to battle for help – a fight some do not win.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

More than 600,000 pupils in England taught by unqualified teachers, says Labour

From The Guardian: Labour has accused Theresa May’s government of allowing more than 600,000 pupils to be taught by unqualified teachers.

After a pledge by Jeremy Corbyn to stamp out the practice, the party has analysed official figures to calculate that 613,000 pupils in state-funded schools in England have been taught by adults with no formal teaching qualifications.

Michael Gove, the former education secretary, introduced the right for free schools and academies to use unqualified teachers in 2012, a move which has been expanded under the current education secretary, Justine Greening.

Labour claims the use of teachers who are not qualified leads to children in state schools being taught by people who have had no guaranteed training in safeguarding children, controlling a class or adapting teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils.

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Tory Government cost-cutting plans would have removed requirement for sprinklers in new schools

From The Independent:  The Tory Government has reportedly dropped plans to ease fire safety standards in new schools after the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed at least 79 people.

[Read full article on the Independent website…]

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