In November, we wrote to the Department for Education asking for further clarification surrounding music tuition outside of school hours, following the publication of the (since updated) National Restrictions guidance issued on 5th November. The guidance document states, ‘you can leave home for education (formal provision, rather than extracurricular classes such as music or drama tuition)’, raising questions around extracurricular activities for music practitioners and providers across the country.
The letter, sent in partnership with the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), Music Teachers’ Association (MTA), and Musicians’ Union (MU), urges the Secretary of State and Minster for Schools to clarify that instrumental music teaching should be understood as a core part of formal education, promoting a broad and balanced curriculum. The letter ends asking for clarification that Music Education Hubs, Local Authorities and private instrumental teachers are permitted to continue to provide teaching before or after standard school hours within reason and that the guidance mentioned above regarding national restrictions does not apply for instrumental music lessons which take place on school premises.
On 20th January, we received a letter in return from the Minister for Schools, Nick Gibb. In his response, he refers to the restrictions and regulations which changed on the 2nd December and again on the 4th January. The letter confirms that “peripatetic teachers and music hubs can continue to work in schools with the children able to attend in person, according to the restrictions.” However, with the exception of allowing vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend schools, he stresses “music teaching should be undertaken remotely.”
He ends his letter saying he hopes “music hubs will be working closely with schools during the national lockdown to support them with remote music education, including online music tutoring.”