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Ed Sheeran warns of damaging effects of music education cuts in UK schools

By | Published on Monday 17 September 2018

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran has spoken out against cuts to music education in British secondary schools. He warned that government policy is “damaging one of Britain’s best and most lucrative exports”.

He used his Instagram profile to comment on a new statement put out by UK Music, which said that ongoing cuts risked the future Sheerans and Adeles never being found.

The music industry lobbying group said that while the UK music industry is currently growing, contributing £4.4 billion to the British economy last year, cuts in both funding and prestige for music education in schools is undermining this.

These remarks come as UK Music plans to take a new report called ‘Securing Our Talent Pipeline’ to the upcoming annual conferences of the main UK political parties. The report looks at various challenges that could impact on the continued success of the British music industry, and how they might be overcome.

Sheeran writes: “I feel very strongly about this. I benefited hugely from state school music, as I’m sure many other UK musicians have. If you keep cutting the funding for arts you’re going to be damaging one of Britain’s best and most lucrative exports”.

This has been a big topic of discussion over the course of this year. In January, the Musicians’ Union called on the government to review its policies, after a BBC survey found that the vast majority of schools in England are cutting back lesson time, staff and/or facilities in at least one creative arts subject. A large part of the issue being how English schools are now assessed, and the fact successes in creative arts teaching are not considered.

The crisis facing music education was also put in focus at the CMU Insights Education Conference at the Great Escape earlier this year. CMU Insights used the conference to launch its ‘Redefining Music Education’ research project, in partnership with Urban Development and BIMM, which is currently mapping music education provision, to help educators, industry and young people navigate what’s on offer, and also to identify where the gaps lie.