Keep Every Child a Musician (ECaM) for Newham Children

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Newham Council plans to cut the Every Child a Musician programme from its primary schools starting in September this year. Annually around 12,500 children in key stage 2 receive instrumental tuition and music lessons from ECaM. Teachers and parents know the value of music in schools, not just as a subject in its own right but in how it enhances achievement across the curriculum and supports the development of personal skills such as self-confidence, good listening and ability to concentrate.
ECaM costs about £2 million pounds a year and Newham proposes to cut this and retain 50% of current funding to develop a new programme. This is a 50% or a £1 million cut in music provision for our children. ECaM has developed a national reputation and has been cited as a beacon of good practice by the Institute for Education and by the Incorporated Society of Musicians. Our borough is one of the most deprived in the country and surely our children deserve to have the enjoyment of music!
Newham Council has conducted a consultation on ECam and found that 58% of respondents disagreed with cutting ECaM. Most felt that with no ECaM the opportunities for primary pupils would significantly reduce. The consultation document also juxtaposes ECaM with the Eat For Free programme which gives all primary pupils a free meal in Newham. This is a false choice or a Hobson's Choice and we ask the Council to look again at funding this service.
ECaM state they can make savings and can re-organise their service to reflect the changing needs of schools. BUT once this service is lost it won't come back and Newham children in years 3 to 6 will be the losers. We ask Newham Council to:
1. Halt the cuts to ECaM.
2. Consider proposals by the ECaM Team around efficiency savings.
3. Set out a more considered and coherent strategy that brings together the key providers of music provision in Newham in the light of the ECaM efficiency proposals.