Music Education

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 6:15 pm ar 19 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Ceidwadwyr, Northampton North 6:15, 19 Mawrth 2024

I will be coming on to the funding aspect, but the hon. Lady speaks of the value of music and that is the point I am making.

Many schools serving my constituency and others in Northamptonshire offer tremendous music education. Northampton School for Boys, which borders my constituency and has a catchment area for Northampton North and Northampton South, regularly stages productions and concerts of the highest standard. Northampton School for Girls was the first specialist music college in the country. Malcom Arnold Academy has a strong music basis, as one can see from its name, with Ofsted having described the quality of music provision at that school as “exceptional”. Children at Headlands Primary School are exposed to music education from a very young age, with weekly singing classes from reception. So this is characteristic of not only my constituency, but all the constituencies in Northamptonshire and, doubtless, elsewhere.

That strong sense of the importance of introducing children to music in Northampton North is rooted in the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts TrustNMPAT. It was established as an independent charitable company in 2012, after functioning for 40 years as the local authority music service. In May 2012 it was designated as the Government’s music and education hub lead for Northamptonshire, and later it became the hub lead for the county of Rutland as well.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has described the importance of music education in the following instructive terms:

“engagement in the arts and heritage enriches lives, unlocks creative potential, improves skills, changes behaviour, increases confidence, and should be available to all. In order to maintain vibrancy in the arts, it is critical that the next generation of diverse artists is nurtured and encouraged.”

We have already heard from a representative of the Province of Northern Ireland, and I am so pleased that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is on the Front Bench. He is unable to speak from the Front Bench this evening, as is the Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, who is also present. I am sure that, as fellow Northamptonshire MPs, they will agree on the importance of music education.

NMPAT embodies that ethos wholly and fully, and, as a former Culture Minister, I strongly agree with it and understand it. The range of opportunities provided by that organisation is enriching and they are plentiful around Northamptonshire and Rutland: