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Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Griffiths of Burry Port, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Henig, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jones, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
Judd, L.
Laird, L.
McDonagh, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mitchell, L.
Montrose, D.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Newton of Braintree, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Patten, L.
Pendry, L.
Peterborough, Bp.
Quin, B.
Radice, L.
Richard, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rogan, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Selborne, E.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soley, L.
Sutherland of Houndwood, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Teverson, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnberg, L.
Verma, B.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Walmsley, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Winston, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

30 Oct 2006 : Column 130

10.32 pm

Lord Moser moved Amendment No. 13:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, it has been suggested to me that, as we have had a long day, it would be better if I sang this amendment. Unfortunately, I do not have a singing voice. I can play the piano, but there is not one in the Chamber. I am stuck with words.

Amendment No. 13, with the subsequent conditions and consequences in Amendments Nos. 21 and 22, is very simple, with a crucial aim of giving more of our children opportunities for music education in schools. To achieve this, the amendment will simply remove some anomalies in present legislation which hamper progress in that direction. I have listened to a lot of the debate on other matters, with particular interest in subject matters like languages and science, so I am pleased that, late in the day, the arts join the club of contents discussed.

Your Lordships do not need reminding of the special importance of the arts, not least for children. Some of your Lordships may be old enough, as I am, to remember Jennie Lee, the first Wilson Government Arts Minister. She put all this so well when she said:

That is what I am talking about.

My own luck was that, in my early days in Berlin, music was totally central both at home and at school. When I came to school in England, within two days I was in the school choir singing in “Dido and Aeneas”. Since then, I can honestly say that no day in my life has been without the enrichment of music, whether listening, playing or learning and/or working in music organisations and on projects which might widen musical experience for the young. Such a one—and I declare an interest as chairman of the project—is the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Musical Futures. The project focuses on secondary education and on innovating approaches to the teaching and learning of all kinds of music. I believe it will have an exciting and imaginative influence on engaging more 11 to 19 year-olds in music activities.

The music manifestodocument, which has just been published—hence this amendment—shows a wide range of activities up and down the country, demonstrating how much is going on in music education. The champion of the music manifesto is Marc Jaffrey. He pays tribute to all the progress in the country’s music activities, but he also does not shirk, nor does the department, the major challenges that remain or, above all, the fact that many children do not have the access they deserve to pursue their music,

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whether on instruments or in singing. That is where this amendment can help positively. Current legislation is actually in the way.

I must make clear that I am not talking about music in the national curriculum, which covers children from five to 14—at which point, sad to relate, all but 7 per cent of children drop music altogether. The amendment refers to the many children who, early on, notably in primary school, develop enthusiasm for any kind of music and want to go on with tuition with a specialist teacher provided through the music services. That has to be paid for so that the providers, the specialist teachers, can be properly financed.

That is where present legislation gets in the way. Amazingly enough, instrumental tuition in groups of over four pupils, or any vocal tuition, cannot be charged for. That is a strict anomaly. As regards instruments, it often makes more sense to teach in larger groups than four. As for singing, it is necessary to teach in whatever groups make most sense for the children and for the music. The amendment would remove that confusing anomaly.

I should make it clear that charges would apply only where pupils themselves, after an initial introduction to music making or singing, choose to take their learning further, beyond the statutory provision. If their family or school is prepared to pay, all is well. The regulations will stipulate that, as now, remission policies will be in place to help pupils from lower-income families with these charges.

To summarise: this amendment would achieve freedom to charge for teaching in large instrumental groups, not just up to four, and for any vocal tuition. This would actually widen access, because the cost per pupil would go down significantly. Moreover, the other important consequence is that it would help to deal with the shortfall in specialist music teaching, which is a real threat to progress.

To put that in a single sentence: this amendment would get rid of present anomalies and ensure that music tuition for those who wanted to go on beyond the statutory condition would be made available and charged for, whatever the size of the group, for vocal as well as for instrumental lessons. I know that many of your Lordships share my passion for the importance of music, and for making it as widely available as possible. I hope this amendment will commend itself to your Lordships, and to the Government. I beg to move.

Lord Armstrong of Ilminster: My Lords, I need to add little to what my noble friend Lord Moser said in commending the amendment and the two consequential amendments for your Lordships’ approval.

I have not been able to discover why the Education Act 1996 restricted to groups of not more than four those who could receive instrumental tuition subject to charges and why vocal tuition was completely excluded. The amendment would allow the department to make regulations that removed those restrictions, subject to any necessary safeguards. As

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my noble friend said, that would enable more children to enjoy the opportunity of individual instrumental or vocal tuition from individual teachers if they had the aptitude and ambition to do so. The more children that there were in a group, the less would be the charge for each of them. The remission scheme would help too.

It would be splendid if schools were able to provide that tuition without charges, but I recognise that the time for that is not yet. I hope that the House will welcome the amendment, which will enable more children to elect to have special tuition from individual and well qualified teachers.

To my great regret, I have never learnt to play an instrument, other than the piano—I cannot match my noble friend Lord Moser in that—but I have never ceased to sing and have received intense pleasure from doing so. So I particularly welcome the fact that the amendment will enable pupils who seek vocal tuition to enjoy the same opportunities as those who seek instrumental tuition.

The great composer William Byrd, who wrote such marvellous music for voices, said:

He would have welcomed the amendment, as I hope your Lordships will. Its passing would bring his wish nearer to fulfilment.

Lord Harrison: My Lords, I support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Moser, for three reasons. I discovered this evening that he and I share a love of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”, which was influential in my musical instruction. Whatever the form of music, we know that it offers a different route for many young people to acquire education, culture and an inquiring mind much beyond other parts of the curriculum. I would support the amendment for that reason alone.

I also support it because, as the noble Lords, Lord Moser and Lord Armstrong, have identified, there is the anomaly that singing was excluded from the Act passed 20 or 30 years ago and that instruction to more than four pupils is likewise forbidden under the current system. Goodness knows what Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” would have done in terms of musical innovation if that principle had been a precedent by which the law and the issue of support for music was established.

My third reason for supporting the amendment is that, although I was anxious, as others in the House may be, that we might undermine the principle of providing free musical education for our schoolchildren, I am convinced that, if we accept the amendment, that would not be the case, because it refers to specialist education and removes the current anomaly borne of 30 year-old legislation. I am convinced also by those who are interested, particularly as regards the Music Manifesto, that the amendment would broaden the opportunity for young people to have musical experience in schools and, I hope, move on to other educational experiences, because they would be able to enjoy, understand and reach out to their fellow human beings through the instrument of music.

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Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, I strongly support the amendment and will add only one other argument to the many that have been deployed. I regard the narrowing down of the opportunity for musical education as a real disaster. Music is an essential part of education.

My additional point is that music is an astonishing instrument of cohesion. We have been talking a great deal about social and community cohesion. Whether it is the steel band in areas with large Caribbean populations or the brass band in many cities in the north of England, music has found its way into all kinds of societies and, in doing so, has enriched people’s relationships and their capacity to communicate with others.

I am speaking not only about fine classical music, although that is terribly important, but about the more indigenous forms of culture, which can provide society with extreme riches. I advocate the amendment and hope that one day we can get back to the peripatetic music teacher and free music tuition, because music is one of the great instruments in bringing cultures, peoples and races together.

10.45 pm

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: My Lords, we, too, support the amendments. As the noble Lord, Lord Armstrong, said, the 1996 Act is slightly counter-intuitive, particularly in relation to singing, in that it restricts charging for groups of more than four students. That is somewhat odd, and I do not understand the logic behind it.

We have three slight provisos, which perhaps the Minister will address. First, the noble Lord, Lord Moser, stated that there would be provision for those who were not able to afford the tuition. There will be talented youngsters whose parents will find it difficult to pay for extra tuition. Although the larger the group, the smaller the charge for each individual, nevertheless, those charges can be sufficiently large. If you have two or three children, even a charge of £3 or £4 amounts to quite a lot, and many families would find it difficult to pay such sums. Perhaps the Minister can tell us what provisions will be in force in that regard.

Secondly, we accept that the amendment relates to what one might call intermediate tuition for those who show some talent and need to go a bit further. If they are really talented, they need to progress further, and, with some instruments, there is a limit to the value of group tuition. The piano is one such example. Can the Minister also tell us a little about provision for individual tuition for the really talented students who might progress through the scheme?

Lastly, as well as access to tuition, it is important to have access to instruments. Parents sometimes have difficulty affording the hire of instruments. Therefore, can the Minister also tell us what provision will be made to help the children of such parents get access to instruments?

Lord Dearing: My Lords, I support the amendment. I find that, wherever there is good music in a school, it is invariably a good school.

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Baroness Buscombe: My Lords, I have pleasure in supporting the amendment and have added my name to those of the noble Lords, Lord Moser, Lord Armstrong and Lord Harrison. Music is for making together. I remember that many years ago I enjoyed singing in school in wonderful things called “Singing Together” sessions. I also enjoyed recorder and clarinet lessons. Many people have very good memories of the pleasure gained from learning to play instruments and from singing together in schools, as extracurricular opportunities provided in those days.

The amendment would afford pupils wider access in learning instruments and singing. I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp of Guildford, that I happen to know that there are cupboards in schools all over the country full of musical instruments that are not being played at the moment. There would be plenty of opportunities for pupils to use those instruments if only teachers could be provided for on the basis set out by the amendment. As we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Moser, the cost per pupil would diminish.

It is also important to remember that the amendment deals with the shortfall in specialist music teaching. There are some amazing people out there who are passionate about this subject, but they have to live. We have to support them, and we have to support the opportunities that exist for our children, who have been short-changed by this crazy anomaly. The amendment is to be welcomed, and I thoroughly support it.

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn: My Lords, while I had the privilege of being the master of a Cambridge college, one of the greatest pleasures in any year was the freshers’ concert, which would take place during the first couple of weeks in October. New students at Cambridge, who had come from their schools—be they state schools or whatever—often amazed me and my colleagues with their skill and dedication. They were not students of music, but they played music with amazing effectiveness. There is a remarkable vitality in the musical life of this country, as manifested in those young people, and it must be encouraged in every way. I know that constraints exist, as we have heard, so I warmly support the amendment. It is very important for the musical life of the country, and I hope that it will be well received.

Lord Adonis: My Lords, the Government welcome the amendments for all the reasons that the noble Lord, Lord Moser, and others set out, and we are glad that such a broad consensus of support for them has been expressed this evening.

The current legislation, contained in the Education Act 1996, allows charges to be made for instrumental tuition during the school day only for groups of up to four children. No charges can be made for any vocal tuition during the school day. We regard those as unjustified restrictions that are holding back music education in our schools. It is the Government’s aim that, in time, all primary school children should, if they choose to, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. We also believe in the importance

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of singing, including the teaching of singing by specialist teachers in small groups or one-to-one. The Government have substantially increased resources for music education in schools in recent years, particularly in primary schools, including a new £2 million national scheme to provide musical instruments to music education services—the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, asked me about that.

We have been told time and again, most recently in the music manifesto report, that one of the barriers to making the instrumental tuition pledge a reality and to increasing the opportunities for every child to sing is the current charging legislation. Restricting instrumental group sizes to four means that, with the specialist teaching staff who are available or who are likely to be available in the foreseeable future, there is simply not enough capacity to provide specialist tuition for all the children who might want to learn. Also, with groups restricted to just four, the price per head for lessons is sometimes prohibitive for parents with limited means. The demand for specialist singing has increased, but those who want to provide that tuition are hampered by the fact that lessons during school hours cannot be charged for, as they can for musical instruments.

The regulation-making power proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Moser, would allow us to consult thoroughly on the best solutions for instrumental and vocal tuition. It is vital that no child who is currently receiving specialist tuition is disadvantaged by the introduction of new charging structures. In our consultation on the regulations, we will propose also that schools and music services be required to retain or establish remission policies so that disadvantaged families will be able to access instrumental or vocal tuition. That meets the concern of the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp. We will also ensure that there is no question of charges being made for tuition that is part of music teaching in the national curriculum.

On that basis, I commend the amendments to the House. I am glad to accept them on behalf of the Government.

Lord Moser: I simply express my thanks to noble Lords who have spoken, all of them in support of the amendment—I am very pleased about that. I thank also the Minister for his response. He is enthusiastically involved in the music manifesto, which is good news for all of us. I am sure that we look forward to seeing the revised regulations when they appear in due course. This is extremely good news for young people who are enthusiastic about music.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Buscombe moved Amendment No. 14:

(a) necessary to prevent a person committing an offence or fleeing after having done so, or (b) necessary to ensure the effective conduct of a criminal investigation.
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