Primary teachers lack skills to teach music

Primary school teachers are failing to meet a requirement of the national curriculum because they lack the skills to teach music, new research has indicated.

A survey conducted by the Institute of Education found that a third of respondents had spent no time being trained to teach music, while less than half (47%) said they were confident about teaching the subject.

The institute questioned 350 trainee teachers, of which 80% said any training they had received was not sufficient.

Lead researcher Susan Hallam said: “We’ve known since the early 1990s that many primary teachers feel ill-equipped and insecure at the prospect of having to teach music. Although the situation has improved slightly, many teachers still have the same reservations.”

Graham Holley, CEO of the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), responsible for workforce development and national training standards, said the TDA’s annual survey of 7,000 newly qualified teachers had asked them about the quality of their training after they had been teaching for six months. He said: “Eighty per cent rated their initial teacher training as good or very good.

“Any further training and development needs identified by teachers should be addressed with their line manager in school as part of their induction or continuing professional development,” he concluded.

Hallam called for more teacher training and professional development opportunities. She also recommended specialist teachers to teach music in primary schools.

Hallam said: “Music is vital to a child’s education. It helps concentration, aids relaxation and can influence moods and emotions. Singing helps young children with language development and, where coupled with movement, enhances physical co-ordination.”

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