On 24th June 2019 Lord Black of Brentwood asked the Government “what steps they are taking to address the decline in the number of students taking music A-level”. The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner, asked a follow-up question:
Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the decline in music A-level is part of a broader problem of social inequality in access to music itself and music education? Is it not time for the Government to reassess the persistent and growing evidence of the damaging effect of EBacc and the contribution of music through other routes such as BTEC in broadening access to our leading conservatoires, and to adjust the disproportionate bursary funding that allows £9,000 to music graduates but up to £32,000 to graduates in other subjects, in spite of recognition that music is vital to sustaining the creative industries in our country?
Lord Agnew of Oulton: The right reverend Prelate shares the concern of many Peers in this Chamber today. As I have said in Answers to earlier Questions, music has been extremely important in my own life; as I mentioned a year ago when this was raised by my noble friend Lord Black, my own father was cured of a debilitating stammer through the discovery of singing when he was a teenager. However, as I said earlier, children can discover music not only through the specific routes of GCSE and A-level. We have set up the music education hubs, which have been an outstanding success. In 2013-14, some 600,000 children had access to them, and last year, according to Birmingham City University, 89% of schools and some 700,000 pupils benefited from them.