Early Years Should Be Included in the Refreshed NPME


You may have seen that the Department for Education (DfE) has released a call for evidence consultation on Music Education to inform their planned refresh of the National Plan for Music Education (NPME).

What you may not know, is that the current NPME only includes children aged 5-18.

Several of our esteemed Early Years Music Education colleagues (many of whom are CREC Alumni/Tutors/Mentors) have been lobbying in recent years for Early Years (EY) to be included in the NPME; as such, this consultation provides a timely opportunity for the whole EY sector, even if you do not work solely in EY music education, to have a voice and call for Early Years to be included in the new National Plan.

One of the people at the forefront of the fight for Early Year Music Education to be recognised and included in the NPME is CREC Alumni and creator of Musical Development Matters, Nicola Burke, who offers the following advice and guidance on responding to the consultation:

"Most EY educators that I meet are not aware of the NPME, most likely because it doesn’t include EY and it, therefore, doesn't appear to impact them.

I have had a look at the consultation and there is one glaring place where we can comment; Question 13 asks whether you think there is any group, sharing one or more of the characteristics listed, that is under-represented —  it's here that we can say that the EY age group is excluded and the NPME is therefore discriminative based upon age.

There are other parts of the consultation that you may feel happy to answer and comment on with regards to the general lack of music education in our schools today — it is incredibly patchy, to say the least —  but  I think the first thing is to raise awareness in the sector of the fact that EY is currently excluded from the NPME.

There's also a huge concern that if EY is included in the NPME that Music Education Hubs across the country (there are 123 of them) may farm out this requirement to franchises in their areas without a great deal of discussion about the pedagogical underpinning of the activity offered. We, therefore, need to emphasise that EY has its own bespoke pedagogy, and models of music practice need to be based on an understanding of child development and pedagogy, one of the many reasons that I wrote Musical Development Matters, a free downloadable guidance badged by Early Education.

I have been working closely with the Tri-borough Music Hub since 2016 and we are currently writing a toolkit for the other Music Education Hubs in the country (freely available from the summer term) which will offer information and guidance so that if EY is included in the revised NPME, there will be a resource ready to support the Music Education Hub leaders — to provide EY well."



We urge all of our colleagues, students and anyone else working in the early years to complete the consultation and please help spread the word! The more that early years educators flag up the importance of EY music, the better!

The consultation is open until Friday 13th March:



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