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New music subject report published

Updated: 2 days ago

A new music subject report (from Early Years to 6th Form) was published by Ofsted on the 21st September 2023. It comprises research and analysis based on research visits that took place between June 2022 and June 2023 and also Ofsted findings during this period. It is called Striking the Right Note and can be found at:

It makes for an interesting and useful read that highlights several issues for music education in Primary schools including:

  • most schools timetable sufficient time for effective learning to take place. Examples of when time is not sufficient is usually when learning takes place on isolated days or is “blocked” – in these situations pupils find it difficult to recall and retain their learning

  • Leaders often associate curriculum ambition with the number of activities offered rather than in terms of the incremental development of pupils knowledge and skills. There is a danger that schools focus on the number of activities covered rather than the learning that underpins these

  • Composition is often the weakest part of the curriculum, pupils do not fully understand how to construct and de-construct music

  • The musical expertise of teaching staff remains an issue. It is essential that teachers understand what they are teaching and what good outcomes sound like. Although many schools recognise that staff might lack the skills and confidence required to teach music effectively, few schools have a clear plan for staff development and addressing staff weaknesses when teaching music

  • Following COVID many schools are still struggling to re-establish their extra curricula opportunities

  • Pupils' economic backgrounds remain a barrier to continuation and extension opportunities in many settings

  • Assessment usually assesses the progress pupils make in relation to tasks but should also be used to assess the effectiveness of the curriculum for music

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