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MP presses education secretary for pianos in schools

An MP has questioned the education secretary Michael Gove over the government’s plans to improve music education in schools.
Valerie Vaz, the Labour MP for Walsall South, asked Mr Gove at Commons education questions for the government to boost music by at least providing a piano in every school.
Citing Plato’s theory of education that musical training is one of the most important instruments in education, she highlighted the recent research from the Institute of Education which found that one in nine primary schools in the UK does not have a piano.
“So could he ensure that he takes steps to ensure that all the primary schools have a musical co-ordinator and, more importantly, a piano?,” she asked of Mr Gove.
He replied that a national plan for the future of music education in schools will be published by the government “shortly”, promising that it will “reform the delivery and funding of music education” and will give more children in the UK the opportunity to learn to play an instrument, to sing and to take part in an ensemble.
Earlier this month, the Institute of Education report revealed a wide gap in music education in schools, with some delivering a good programme and others very little.
Its survey showed that more than a quarter of schools had no access to tuned percussion instruments and 45 per cent of primary staff could not read music.
Many of the teachers questioned said the main reason for poor music education was down to the need to prepare children for national tests in literacy and numeracy.
Mr Gove heeded the call in the Commons, saying that Ms Vaz is “absolutely right that the wider provision not just of trained music teachers, but also of musical instruments, will ensure not just that more children have access to the greatest of all art forms, but also that more children as a result do better in every other subject as well”.

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