Newport school reassures parents it will keep music on its curriculum but that it will be taught differently

PUBLISHED: 10:42 05 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:42 05 July 2017

Joyce Frankland Academy, Newport. Picture: Saffron Photo

Joyce Frankland Academy, Newport. Picture: Saffron Photo

SaffronPhoto 2016

A Newport school has allayed fears that music is being axed from its curriculum due to budget cuts – but has admitted the subject will be taught differently.

Parents had raised concerns that the Joyce Frankland Academy, formerly Newport Free Grammar School, was scrapping music after a decision not to replace a music teacher who was leaving.

One mother told the Reporter: “I find it heartbreaking that parts of the curriculum are under attack. I think it’s a terrible thing because music informs so many things, like mathematics and science.

“It’s getting more academic and our children are becoming machines and it’s really sad.”

A statement from the school, however, said that music is not being cut from the curriculum for Years 7 and 8.

It added that, in light of one of the music teachers leaving, the subject will be taught in a series of ‘drop down days’ from September, where a specialist teacher visits to teach curriculum requirements.

“The intention is that we will set these sessions based on musical experience and aptitude to ensure that the curriculum meets their needs and provides the appropriate amount of challenge for all students,” the statement said.

“Our intention is that we will deliver these sessions in an innovative way and we have already lined up some guest musicians to deliver some of the sessions. We will also be able to do some off site teaching in specialist facilities like music studios, theatres and concert halls.”

For some though, the move is still too drastic, like Nigel Partridge who was head of music at the school for 25 years.

Addressing headteacher Gordon Farquhar, he said: “I think you vastly underestimate the value of music and the affect it can have on pupils’ lives. To name but a few, it provides self-confidence, encourages teamwork and promotes leadership qualities.”

He also said that while he worked there, 24 ensembles rehearsed each week including a band of more than 50 students.

He added: “The decisions you have made will mean that in due course music will cease to exist at the Joyce Frankland Academy.”

Older students who are studying music for GCSE or A-Level are not affected.

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