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St Mary’s academic delivers paper on music education provision at US event

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St Mary’s academic delivers paper on music education provision at US event

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Academic at St Mary’s University, Twickenham Dr Victoria Armstrong discussed music education provision in the UK at the May Day Group Colloquium at the Suderman Conservatory of Music, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in June.

A Senior Lecturer and Programme Director of the BA Education and Social Sciences and MA Education, Culture and Society, at Mary’s, Dr Armstrong presented her paper, entitled ‘Neoliberalism and social justice in tension: third sector involvement in music education provision in the UK’. The paper was based on a funded research project examining the work of a music charity providing instrumental tuition in two multi-ethnic, inner-city London schools, completed in December 2016.

Dr Armstrong said, “I was delighted to be able to contribute to this important annual colloquium. 

“It was an exciting and stimulating few days which posed difficult and challenging questions about the future of music education.”

The 2011 National Plan for Music Education made a commitment to give all primary-aged children the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and has been criticised for falling to meet Government-set targets. To help address this, third sector organisations have taken on a greater role in providing music programmes in UK state education with the stated aim of promoting social justice and addressing issues of inclusion.

In her paper, Dr Armstrong argued there are often unacknowledged tensions between these wider aims and the actual policies and practices in operation in the programme’s delivery, which reproduce common-sense orthodoxies about education and neoliberalism.

Her paper challenged educators and policy makers to ask if we should we be outsourcing music education in this way and, if we do, are there ways of working that produce relationships between schools and third sector providers that promote genuinely equitable and socially just music education practices.

"The May Day Group functions as an international think tank of music educators that brings together scholars interested in identifying, critiquing and challenging taken-for-granted assumptions about philosophy, policy and practice." Dr Victoria Armstrong

The 2011 National Plan for Music Education made a commitment to give all primary-aged children the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and has been criticised for falling to meet Government-set targets. To help address this, third sector organisations have taken on a greater role in providing music programmes in UK state education with the stated aim of promoting social justice and addressing issues of inclusion.

In her paper, Dr Armstrong argued there are often unacknowledged tensions between these wider aims and the actual policies and practices in operation in the programme’s delivery, which reproduce common-sense orthodoxies about education and neoliberalism.

Her paper challenged educators and policy makers to ask if we should we be outsourcing music education in this way and, if we do, are there ways of working that produce relationships between schools and third sector providers that promote genuinely equitable and socially just music education practices

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