Sheffield school will not offer music GCSE next year due to low number of students opting to study subject

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A secondary school in Sheffield has scrapped its GCSE course in music for the next academic year as too few pupils want to study the subject.

Tapton School in Crosspool has decided not to offer music from September 2019 because the low number of Year 9 students who opted to pick the topic – combined with funding cuts – made it unviable as an exam option.

Tapton School, Crosspool.

Tapton School, Crosspool.

However, the school said creative subjects will still be an important part of its Key Stage 3 curriculum.

Music will also be offered at A-level for older students, and it is hoped that it will return in KS3 from September 2020.

Adrian May and Kat Rhodes, Tapton’s co-headteachers, said in a joint statement: “Music and the arts continues to be a core part of our KS3 curriculum. In 2019/20, too few students have chosen to take music at GCSE, in the current climate of educational cuts. Drama has received sufficient applications.

“A-level music will run in 2019/20 and we will offer music again at both KS4 and KS5, as well as a universal entitlement in KS3, in coming years. We continue to have pride in the breadth of our curriculum offer.”

The move was met with an outcry by the Sheffield music community. 

Posting on Twitter, the Sheffield Brass Network said the decision will be a ‘major blow’.

Gillian Hulme, a music leader for the Sheffield Music Hub, posted: “I’m in total shock to learn Tapton, a school that has always prided itself on its excellent music provision, are no longer offering GCSE music. This cannot be happening to our schools.

“I would recommend that parents of all children who are passionate about music education and are planning to send their children to Tapton write to the school to express their dismay at this decision.”

Last month, members of the Music Mark organisation attended its Secondary Symposium at Sheffield Hallam University to discuss the crisis in music education provision and examine how Music Education Hubs can help to address the crisis.

Attendees heard from a Sheffield parent who spoke of her experience looking for an adequate secondary for her daughter. She described a ‘postcode lottery’, and told how too many tests and a dull curriculum had put her daughter off music in school.