24/07/2017 12:33 BST | Updated 24/07/2017 12:33 BST

Is This About To Happen In Your Child's School?

Alice Wilde

Look at all those instruments. What a fantastic lot of resources. Steelpans, trombones, keyboards, clarinets, cymbals -  Imagine the amazing experiences that the kids will create with all that available to them.

It's almost the end of term. Teachers across the land are moving things around, changing rooms, cramming stuff into boxes if they're lucky enough to be getting a re-paint on the budget this summer. Maybe that's why all these instruments are in an Art and Design area in a senior school in Kent?

But it's not the reason why.

The actual reason is that there will be no more music at this school next year. It's gone. Music has left the building.

So has Design and Technology.

It's not some distant threat that the left wing liberals are banding about to scare you. Subjects are being axed now. Cuts are deep. We are obsessed with academic performance that you can measure with a number. An IQ, an NVR (non-verbal reasoning), a VR (verbal reasoning), a SS (standardised score), a RA (reading age) - all to be plotted against a CA (chronological age) - this way we can predict what grades your child will get. It's a science. There is a line on a graph. Your child will fit this line and we can measure how effective we are by that line. No surprises.  A lot of targets though. 

Hell, there's a lot of targets.

And we can't really measure the value of singing, or composing a piece about a rainstorm, or playing the Kettle Drum in assembly. It's not going to help us to prove effective teaching and learning and Value Added so easily. It's actually a bit like time wasting when we could be cracking on with the proper, measurable stuff.

Just like Design Tech.  Another waste.  Doesn't matter that there are some kids who absolutely thrive in the music room, or behind a band saw - kids who realise their worth, who finally feel capable and skilled. Kids who stand taller, who get an hour to be the one with the praise. But it's hard to measure the 'Value Added' score of creating the perfect salad tongs at 14 - even if they are better than the beautiful pen holder they made in Year 7.

So when cuts are made, we can't cut the super important stuff. The quantifiable, measurable, stat-creating-easily-testable stuff. Then the government would not be able to say how effective its policies had been.

"Record amounts of funding are going into education" says Prime Minister Theresa May to an audience of believers  who presumably are so wealthy that they do not have a single relative or acquaintance connected to UK State Education.

So we had better have some darn good stats to show how those lucky kids are benefiting from all this investment in their futures.

The kids are not going to mind trimming off all the joys. Losing Music and DT, and whatever brilliant subjects are next for the axe.

No, not at all.


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