BBE Guidance: Department of Education Consultation on the National Plan for Education

The Department of Education is seeking views on Music Education to inform proposals for a refreshed plan for music education. The comments you provide will be used to help inform the Department for Education as it develops proposals for the refresh of the national plan for music education.


This consultation is meant for:


  • Parents and carers

  • Young people

  • Primary schools

  • Secondary schools

  • Further Education (FE) and sixth-form colleges

  • School and college staff, including governors

  • National and local voluntary and community organisations providing musical activities for children and young people

  • Music education hubs and other music services

  • Musicians

  • Employers in the music industry

  • Other educational professionals including academics and researchers

Brass Bands England encourages its members, representatives from bands, parents, young people and corporate partners to respond individually and to give relevant examples of how the brass band sector contributes to music education in England. You can fill out this consultation as an organisation, and as an Individual.

Brass Bands England is also a member of Music Mark, which has provided a similar guidance document for its membership. We fully support Music Mark’s guidance, and encourage our members to read through the document it has provided on the consultation, but in addition to it we have provided comments we feel are specific to the brass band sector.

To contribute to the consultation, go to this link. The consultation closes at 11:59pm on 13 March 2020.


Q11-14 Music Education for all


This section provides an opportunity for bands to put forward specific examples of their experiences of how the music curriculum is taught in schools impacts on them. This section is where you can comment specifically on the availability and quality of music education in schools in your experience, and comment on the value of music as part of the curriculum. (Q14) This is also a great opportunity to talk about the impact and outcomes of music education programmes and projects you have run or witnessed. 


Q15-17 The National Plan for Music Education


There is a need to recognise that the framework within which a child accesses music education is broad and varied, it includes schools, but also many other settings and organisations.This is an ideal opportunity for bands to comment on the value of local voluntary and community organisations as part of a child’s music education. We feel that this contribution to wider music education is greatly undervalued, and by not having requirements for a specific brass provision, the National Plan is therefore not ‘effective’. 


Q18-23 Music Education Hubs


Music Education Hubs are made up of groups of organisations working in partnership and were introduced in the current National Plan for Music Education. One of their core roles are to:

  • ensure that every child aged 5 to 18 has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument (other than voice) through whole-class ensemble teaching, and provide opportunities to play in ensembles and to perform from an early stage;


Brass Bands England feel that brass bands should be an integral and valued Hub Partner in their area. This section gives you the opportunity to share your experience with your local Music Education Hub, and to comment on how effective they are in achieving the above goals. This is also the opportunity to comment on the brass provision (the opportunity to learn a brass instrument, and take part in brass ensembles) in your area. The current National Plan does not specify what musical instruments are to be taught, and many children do not have a choice in the instrument they can learn. 


Within this section there is also the opportunity to share examples of positive partnership work within your local hub. This is an ideal opportunity to showcase the value that brass bands can provide in a Music Education Hub partnership.


Q25-33 Questions for Young People ages 13-25


Brass Bands England encourages its members to ask the children and young people they work with to complete this section of the call for evidence. No questions are compulsory, so they can just answer this section.


Q34-40 Questions for Parents and Carers


Brass Bands England encourages its members to ask the parents they work with to complete this section of the call for evidence. No questions are compulsory, so they can just answer this section. This is an opportunity to highlight that their child accesses music education through participation in a brass band, and for them to promote the value this participation provides for their child.


Q41-45 Questions for all Teachers and Schools, Colleges, Music Education Hubs and other Music Services


Brass Bands England encourages teaching or leading a brass band with young people involved to answer this question. This section gives you the opportunity to detail the impact your activities on the children you work with. 


Q46-50 Questions for Classroom Teachers only


Although we know that this question will not apply to everyone, we are also aware that many people operating in brass bands also work as classroom teachers, and so would encourage them to consider the needs of the sector when answering this question.


(Q50) Note - the range of funded music programmes also includes the DfE investment in National Youth Music Organisations, as well as work funded via the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport such as Arts Council and Youth Music funded programmes and projects. This is therefore an ideal opportunity to provide examples you have experienced within brass bands (i.e. National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, National Youth Championships of Great Britain, ongoing projects with BBE and NYMAZ in North Yorkshire, and other projects benefiting from the Arts Council Projects Grant).


Q51-55 Questions for Headteachers are other Leaders in Education


(Q55) See Q50.


Q56-62 Questions for Employers in the Music Industry


We would encourage businesses engaging in a corporate capacity in the brass banding community, and corporate partners of Brass Bands England to provide answers to this section. However, if your band is an ‘Employer in the Music Industry’ (e.g. has a paid conductor) then we would also encourage you to answer.