Skip to content

Our response to DfE’s Call for Evidence on the National Plan for Music Education

13th February 2020

4 children sat on steps holding red pBuzz instruments.


The first National Plan for Music Education (NPME) published in 2011 set out a ‘flexible template for high quality music provision throughout a pupil’s education’ in England and ran until this year. On Sunday 9th February the call for evidence, which will be used to inform the next iteration of the National Plan for Music Education, was announced. Everyone has until the 13th March to respond.

We welcome the wide consultation – including the fact that the DfE are keen to receive comments from young people and parents, schools and the industry.  This is a positive step forward in the ‘refresh process’. We continue to believe that a ‘refresh’ rather than a ‘rewrite’ is what is needed as there is much that continues to be relevant within the existing plan 9 years on. Senior Policy Advisor David Warden confirmed at our Spring Summit in March 2019, fundamental changes are not anticipated and we would hope that this is still the case.  However, we would stress that the success of the plan going forward will rely on effective accountability of all stakeholders. A strong, ambitious document will not be implemented unless everyone understands their role in its aspirations.  As I said to TES in October crucially, schools did not seem to be aware of how the plan impacted them

We are in the process of working with key individuals and organisations from across the sector to agree a set of unified messages to include in our responses to the DfE.  Following this we’ll share guidance notes with our Membership to support their responses. Of course, there will be nuance depending on a specific individual’s experience or organisation’s aims but, as many from across the sector have already noted on blogs and social media, aligning messaging is key.

With all of this in mind we are keen to invite our membership to share the outcomes and impacts they’ve observed as a result of the first National Plan for Music Education.  Outputs have been recorded in data returns; we are interested in hearing about and helping to celebrate the difference the plan has made to the musical learning of children and young people. We are interested in behavioural changes and the knowledge transferred.

At the North West conference in September 2018 we heard from James, a violin student at the Royal Northern College of Music who’d first experienced the instrument in the context of Whole Class Ensemble teaching before progressing to small ensemble tutoring, 1:1 lessons and the Hallé Youth Orchestra. A trajectory undoubtedly influenced by the first National Plan.  Perhaps you have other impactful stories you can share with us? We’d love to hear them. You can share your outcomes and impacts with us via email using and the subject header “NPME1 outcomes and impacts” or on twitter using #NMPE1Outcome.

Purdah and the election hit pause on the refreshed National Plan so it’s wonderful to finally see things moving forward. At Music Mark, we are optimistic about the positive impact a meaningful period of consultation could have on the development of the next National Plan for Music Education.

If you would like to contribute to the DfE’s consultation, a link to the call for evidence can be found here.