Cutting music GCSE hits a bum note with parent

PUBLISHED: 17:14 08 March 2019

Tom Ryder is among the students who will not be able to take music GCSE at Sidmouth College. Picture: Paul Ryder

Tom Ryder is among the students who will not be able to take music GCSE at Sidmouth College. Picture: Paul Ryder

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Music GCSE will not be available to study at Sidmouth College next year.

Tom Ryder is among the students who will not be able to take music GCSE at Sidmouth College. Picture: Paul RyderTom Ryder is among the students who will not be able to take music GCSE at Sidmouth College. Picture: Paul Ryder

Principal Sarah Parsons said due to financial constraints the school would be dropping the subject at GCSE level, prompting one parent to urge the college to reconsider in future.

Paul Ryder said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ to find the course would not be available as his son Tom has hopes of pursuing a career in the subject after being inspired to take up guitar. The Sidmouth resident expressed concern that the only way students could continue studying at a higher level was to pay for music tuition and has written to the college’s senior team and MP to voice the importance of keeping the subject available.

He said: “I feel it cruel to run a course at key stage three, enthusing students toward both a love of the subject and high attainment, only for it to be guillotined at key stage four.”

He said Tom will now have two years gap before he can take the subject up again at A-level.

Mr Ryder said: “Looking forward to the future, put music back on the map for students coming through Sidmouth College, as particularly within the community it relies on the music festival.”

Mrs Parsons said: “This situation is not unique to Sidmouth College, it is a reflection on the financial constraints that all schools are currently working within. Every year all schools will have to make decisions about courses and curriculum offers.

“Unfortunately this year we have had to make the difficult decision that we are unable to offer GCSE music.

“We review our curriculum model and the courses within it every year and respond to the changes within each year group.”

She added that the school would provide music through extra-curricular activities, music tuition and new facilities following the completion of the new classroom block.

Mrs Parsons said: “Ongoing curriculum reforms in which music is included may give us the option to look at new courses that are more suited to the music industry in the future.”

This week the Music Commission released a report about its 10 year vision to ensure music is accessible to students. The commission concluded it has economic value, and that music ‘improves confidence, academic attainment and social skills’.

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